The Literacy Quesnel Society is hosting its Fourth Annual Christmas Event next Thursday, Dec. 6.
The Christmas Event, which aims to make books more accessible in the community and celebrate the holidays, will take place at the West Park Mall from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Rebecca Beuschel, the literacy outreach co-ordinator for Literacy Quesnel Society, says there will be books given away at the event. The books are intended to be used as gifts to leave under the tree for someone else.
They are all brand new, and have no identifying marks from the literacy society, unlike the books they typically give out. “We just want people to be able to give a book to someone else, especially if they can’t afford it,” says Beuschel.
The books range from baby board books to books for older teens, and everyone who comes gets to choose a book.
The literacy society applies for several grants throughout the year to fund these books, though Beuschel says their primary source is the Vancouver Sun Raise a Reader program.
Service providers who work with the literacy society, like the Child Development Centre, the Child Care Resource and Referral, the Quesnel Museum, and the School District’s Strong Start program, will also have booths set up where kids will be able to participate in Christmas-themed crafts. Last year, for example, one booth did a Christmas card craft, while another made wreaths out of paper plates. Christmas ornaments are another popular craft.
There will also be the option for kids to participate in an edible craft. Last year, that meant decorating a reindeer cookie — and then eating it.
Beuschel says some people only come to the event for 10 minutes, while others stay for the entire two and a half hours. “It’s just nice to see families, really parents, engaging with their kids and doing something creative,” she adds.
Some Christmas events have been busier than others for the literacy society, but Beuschel says they had about 160 people come through it last year.
But the literacy society does not only work with kids.
Currently, they are running a program to help adults with low-literacy. They run tutoring sessions and group sessions, and are constantly reaching out to organizations where low-literacy adults are more likely to gather to make them aware of the program.
The literacy society also runs the nine red bookshelves in public spaces around town, like the soccer fields or the arena, or anywhere else families are likely to gather. Beuschel says they try to make sure those stay stocked with donated (but good condition) family and children’s books.
They also run two after-school programs “to help address elementary kids who just need a bit of an extra push with their reading level,” says Beuschel.
One takes place twice a week at Red Bluff Elementary School, while the other busses students from Voyageur Elementary School to Correlieu Secondary School twice a week. Once there, the high school students help them to improve their reading skills.
The literacy society also hosts things like math workshops for parents, or an introduction to family literacy training for outreach service providers in the community, so they learn what low literacy looks like.
Recently, Beuschel even spent a few days working with WorkSafeBC, helping them to identify the language they use and how they can adapt it to, for example, make the products they print for their clients easier to read.
Their exact programs vary from year to year, but there’s always something to do.