Central Okanagan society aiding new Canadians through Project Literacy – Okanagan | Canadian

A Central Okanagan society is having one of its busiest years yet. The group has been helping a lot of refugees who’ve recently relocated to the Okanagan, learn a new language.

The Project Literacy society has been a staple in the Central Okanagan for over 35 years. On Wednesday afternoon, the group hosted a fundraiser as literacy month comes to a close across British Columbia.

“We have three main program areas, the biggest is helping adult learners with English language skills,” said Project Literacy chairperson Charlene Covington.

“We really try hard to understand what the learner needs and to match them with a tutor who can help them meet their needs to the best of our ability.”

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Project Literacy in Central Okanagan hosting annual Raise-a-Reader fundraiser

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The society also works in schools across the region, helping students keep up their literacy skills both in the classroom and at home.

“This is part of our Raise-a-Reader, this is supported by the provincial government. Whatever funds we raise in September, the government actually helps top them up in support of literacy,” said Project Literacy executive director Paul Zuurbier.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Project Literacy has seen a huge uptick 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 monthly basis,” said Zuurbier.

“We have about 140 volunteers. Immigrants from Ukraine right now are our largest ethnic group so they’ve gone from zero to 38 in like four or five months.”

Read more:

Central Okanagan schools welcoming influx of Ukrainian students

The society says they are scrambling to find enough volunteers for all of the lessons they provide, with roughly 30 people on their waiting list right now.

“We do all one on one learning, so for every new learner … we require a new volunteer to work with them. We are in the process of looking at bringing on more volunteers, putting them through the orientation process and matching them with the 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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