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Our Vision:
A healthy, literate society where all are able to contribute and succeed.

The Alberta Prairie C.O.W. Pilot Builds Community Capacity

Annually the Prairie C.O.W. Bus travels to over 60 communities across Alberta. Visits are short-term, averaging eight hours per community and are great at raising awareness and promoting local programs. They however are not long enough to offer workshops for parents and literacy practitioners or to do presentations to local business and community leaders.

The Centre decided to pilot a new model to address these challenges. Partnering with D.V. Read and Learn in Drayton Valley, a ten-month program was devised that involved the C.O. W. Bus making six visits to their community. D.V. Read and Learn selected specific communities they wished to target for the visits including three mobile home parks.

The Poplar Ridge Mobile Home Park was one of the communities. Their event included a free barbeque, a bouncy castle, a fire truck and the C.O.W. Bus. Families were given a free book and parents discussed literacy ideas and issues with the staff from the Centre. D.V. Read and Learn were able to identify some parents who seemed particularly connected to their community who could play a key role in recruiting for future family literacy programs and events.

One parent commented that their mobile home park has a “bad reputation” and that many organizations stay away from hosting events there. She really appreciated having a family event in the evening so she could attend with her husband and children.

As part of the pilot, D.V. Read and Learn hosted a reception for the business community, town council members and other potential literacy supporters. The Centre delivered a 30-minute presentation on the benefits to society and the economy of increasing literacy levels. According to D.V. Read and Learn, “The feedback has been amazing even from people not at the event”.

Outcomes from the initial pilot were very positive and plans are already underway to take the program in its second year to Edson, with Edson and District Community Learning Society as our partner.


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