Central Okanagan Society helps new Canadians through Literacy Project – Okanagan


A central Okanagan company is having one of its busiest years yet. The group has helped many refugees who recently moved to the Okanagan learn a new language.

Project Literacy has been a central Okanagan staple for over 35 years. On Wednesday afternoon, the group held a fundraiser as Literacy Month draws to a close across British Columbia.

“We have three main program areas, the most important being helping adult learners become proficient in English,” said Charlene Covington, President of the Literacy Project.

« We really strive to understand what the learner needs and match them with a tutor who can help meet their needs to the best of our ability. »

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Project Literacy in the Central Okanagan Hosts Annual Raise-a-Reader Fundraiser

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The company also works in area schools, helping students maintain their literacy skills in the classroom and at home.

« It’s part of our Raise-a-Reader, it’s supported by the provincial government. Whatever funds we raise in September, the government actually helps top it up to support literacy,” said Literacy Project Executive Director Paul Zuurbier.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Project Literacy has seen a huge increase in the number of learners as the central Okanagan has become a new home for many refugees.

“We support approximately between 100 and 120 learners on a monthly basis,” Zuurbier said.

“We have about 140 volunteers. Immigrants from Ukraine are currently our largest ethnic group, so they have gone from zero to 38 in four or five months.

Read more:

Central Okanagan schools welcome an influx of Ukrainian students

The society says it is struggling to find enough volunteers for all the lessons it provides, with around 30 people on its waiting list at the moment.

“We all learn individually, so for each new learner…we need a new volunteer to work with them. We plan to hire more volunteers, put them through the orientation process and match them with learners,” Covington said.

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If you are interested in volunteering for the society, more details are available on their website.

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