Project Literacy hosts annual fundraiser barbecue in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Over $3,000 raised at annual Raise-a-Reader fundraiser'
Over $3,000 raised at annual Raise-a-Reader fundraiser
WATCH: Project Literacy hosted its annual Raise-a-Reader barbecue fundraiser in Kelowna on Tuesday. The group says the funds received will go towards providing free literacy programs for children, families and newcomers to Canada. Jayden Wasney reports. – Sep 19, 2023

Project Literacy hosted its annual Raise-a-Reader barbecue fundraiser at Kelowna, B.C.’s, Landmark District on Tuesday.

This year, the event raised over $3,000, which will go towards providing free literacy support programs to children, families, seniors and those new to Canada.

“We do not have any federal or provincial contracts to support literacy, so we rely on a fundraiser like this, and donations and grants to keep us operating every year,” said Project Literacy Central Okanagan executive director, Paul Zuurbier.

“We had a really good turnout so we’re very pleased.”

Click to play video: 'Charitable ‘Firestorm 2023’ T-shirt goes on sale to raise funds for Central Okanagan relief fund'
Charitable ‘Firestorm 2023’ T-shirt goes on sale to raise funds for Central Okanagan relief fund

One person who has directly benefitted from Project Literacy is Jaime Salazar. He moved to Canada from Peru two year ago and struggled to learn English.

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“I wanted to improve, because I didn’t have good communication with the others, and that made me feel a little bit sad,” said Salazar.

Salazar took it upon himself to learn the English language. He signed up with Project Literacy and worked with a tutor one-on-one several times a week. He says the program has completely transformed him.

“I feel more confident to talk with the others, because when I came, I didn’t for example take the bus because I felt afraid to speak with others,” said Salazar.

Click to play video: 'Project Literacy Kelowna honours long serving volunteer'
Project Literacy Kelowna honours long serving volunteer

Salazar is now just two lessons and one exam away from graduating from the program. After graduating, he plans to continue working as a cook, something he never though would be possible when he first arrived in Canada.

“Project Literacy has been a really good place to learn English. The people are very kind and they’re here to help the people,” said Salazar.

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Zuurbier says Project Literacy continues to receive positive feedback about their tutoring programs, because of the wide range of skills the learners take away from them.

“So, we have one tutor that works individually with the learner, and so it’s not just the literacy support, its confidence building, its helping give them a sense of belonging in the community, and that’s really consistently what our learners say they enjoy the most about project literacy,” said Zuurbier.

Project Literacy has been offering a variety of literacy programs since 1986, which can all be found on their website.

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