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Two Generations Support Family Literacy

It was a special night for those gathered at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for the Richardson GMP Evening of Wine & Words. It was special because of the wonderful and personal performance of Jim Cuddy and his son Devin. The Centre’s Executive Director, Jonna Grad said, “this is a real life example of the impact of the parent on the child.”

For the eighth year in a row Mark Scholz entertained the audience with his wit as the Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer. Mary Pinkoski, Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, performed “We are Stories,” a poem she created especially for the evening. Mayor Iveson and his wife Sarah Chan were the first on their feet after her incredible performance.



Keeping with the wine and words theme, the live auction items included a trip to Napa Valley and tour on the Wine Train, a 2016 JUNO Awards package, and a private concert with Cord Lund. The evening was definitely a memory to be cherished and it raised over $114,000 for the Books for Babies program and our Edmonton Literacy C.O.W. bus program.

Thank you to the volunteer committee who put endless hours into making the evening a success. Thanks also to Richardson GMP for their ongoing support and to Sobeys Liquor for providing the wine.

From top:
Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy, Jim and Devin Cuddy, Mayor Iveson with wife Sarah Chan and Jim Cuddy, Mary Pinkoski, and Jim Cuddy with Mark Scholz.


Summer Programming: It's a Good MOOOve!

Many of us have heard of it – the “summer slide”, where kids are out of school and may end up returning the next academic year less prepared for what’s ahead. At the Centre, staff have decided to curb this slide by offering new summer programming.

Inspired by the best elements of several of the Centre’s family literacy programs including the C.O.W. Bus, 3,2,1 Fun!, Rhymes that Bind, and Learn Together–Grow Together, the C.O.W Summer Program will give families an opportunity to improve their literacy skills while enjoying the summer.

The C.O.W. Summer Program will be hitting three popular spots on a weekly basis – in the west, south, and east sides of the city – starting July 7 and running to August 13. On Tuesdays they will be at La Perle Community, Wednesdays they will meander on to Brander Gardens, and Thursdays they will head on down to Primrose Place. The program will use the C.O.W. Bus but families can expect to spend a fair amount of time outside enjoying a variety of activities. The program will be running from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at all locations.

The C.O.W. Summer Program is not the only one running this summer; Rhymes that Bind will also be continuing. Parents with babies can also join in on the fun with continued Books for Babies programming. As a whole, the Centre’s summer programming will allow children from 0 to 6 years old to develop their literacy skills, and parents will receive ideas on how to keep children learning while having fun.

The summer Rhymes that Bind program will take place at Primrose Place Family Centre on Monday mornings (10:00 to 11:00 a.m.) from July 6 to August 17. This is an intergenerational program and registration is required.

Our Books for Babies coordinator had some interesting things to say about the summer programming being planned this year. This is not a new initiative as Books for Babies has been running summer programming for three years. The program staff feel that offering the program throughout the year will

"create [more] opportunities for families to participate and connect [with their community] and will allow for a larger variety of families with babies, including working parents, to use the Centre’s services."

Last year, there was a great turnout for the program at Strathcona Library, and we are hoping that it will be as popular – if not more so, this summer. It will be offered at the Strathcona Library on July 6, 13, 20, and 27, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Parents who are only available during the evening can enjoy programming at Woodcroft Library on Tuesday evenings June 30, July 7, 14, and 21 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

So what are you waiting for? Come join us this summer for these fun and beneficial programs!


Poverty and Literacy

What is the poverty rate in Edmonton? According to Anne Smith, CEO and President of United Way Alberta Capital Region, “more than 123,000 people in our region live at or below the poverty line – 41,000 of them are children.”

Smith said, “More than a third of our children are arriving on their first day of school without the skills they need to be successful. . . I don’t need to tell you how this will impact their long term prospects.”

Smith went on to say, “Children in families experiencing poverty are four times more likely to drop out of school than their middle class peers. Language and math literacy levels are lower by as much as 30%. We (United Way Alberta Capital Region) see literacy and family literacy as foundational to a healthy community.”

Research done in the UK and the United States has shown the negative effect of poverty on children’s cognitive skills and their school readiness and success. In the American study, less than half the children from low-income families were ready to start school at age 5 compared to 75% of children from middle and high-income families.

“There are many factors that influence who lives in poverty – literacy is one of them,” said Jonna Grad, Executive Director of the Centre for Family Literacy. “At the Centre we see, on a daily basis, the influence that low literacy levels have on a person’s likelihood of being in the labour force, the length of time they keep a job, their likelihood of promotion and their rate of pay. In addition to their ability to earn a living wage, low literacy levels impair their ability to access adult education and training,” stated Grad.

A longitudinal American study of preschool education for children from low-income backgrounds showed that children attending programs with their parents that focused on literacy skills had a greater rate of high school graduation, higher college attendance and increased earning power.

Family literacy is a proactive approach to addressing a key factor that influences poverty – low literacy levels. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy states that literacy is one of the most important springboards out of poverty. It is important that all Edmontonians be able to achieve the levels of literacy they need to participate and thrive in their school, workplace, or community.


Golf Tournament in Support of Literacy

Join the Centre for Family Literacy for our fifth annual golf event, Links fore Literacy, on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at the Links Golf Course in Spruce Grove.

Are you a seasoned golfer, just getting started, or somewhere in between? Links fore Literacy is a Texas Scramble format so it doesn’t matter your level of golf, there are activities and challenges to make it fun for everyone.

And on top of all that, you are raising money for the Centre’s Classroom on Wheels (C.O.W. Bus) program. This unique program for parents and their preschool children visits 10 high needs neighbourhoods in the city of Edmonton on a weekly basis. Parents borrow books for free and participate in literacy activities with their children that help support early learning and language development.

Participate in a putting contest that involves children’s board books and toy putters, try and beat a committee member on one of the par 3 holes, or bring out that big driver and see if you can hit the longest drive. There are prizes for all of these activities plus the ongoing tradition of presenting four green jackets to the winning team.

You can REGISTER here and we will see you in August.