Raise-a-Reader: Burnaby Neighborhood House distributes books

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Burnaby Neighborhood House distributed over 3,000 books this year.

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With the help of Raise-a-Reader funds, Burnaby Neighborhood House hosted virtual readings by Harman Pandher of his book Gurpreet Goes to Gurdwara. Here he is seen reading at Beaver Creek Elementary School, where he teaches. Photo by Gurpreet Andrews /.jpg

People looking for books have a friend at Burnaby Neighborhood House. Twice a year, the community center puts together what it calls “literacy baskets,” with books, coloring pages, activity sheets, and information in different languages ​​about community resources.

“We buy books from First Book Canada and we get donations from libraries, although that ended with COVID,” said Lukas Park, literacy outreach coordinator for Literacy Now Burnaby, a BNH program. “My team of volunteers and I sort them and divide them into fiction and non-fiction. Once we have a good amount of books, we start distributing them.

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The baskets include three new books, but people can take home as many donated books as they want.

“We’ve had people going home with boxes,” Park said. “A lady had left her library in her home country, and she spent an hour going through all of our books to restock her library in her new home. If people want books, we let them take as many as they want.

The Sun’s Raise-a-Reader campaign, which has raised more than $21 million since 1997, helps fund the purchase of the new books.

Other literacy initiatives at Burnaby Neighborhood House include readings. Last year, Harman Pandher contacted students at Burnaby Elementary School to read an excerpt from his book Gurpreet Goes to Gurdwara: Understanding the Sikh Place of Worship. All three virtual live readings were made possible through Raise-a-Reader funds.

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“It shares my beliefs and culture as a Sikh,” Pandher said of the book.

The students came from a variety of backgrounds, he says.

“Some groups didn’t have any Sikh kids, but they loved the story. I find that this book opens up so many discussions around common experiences and customs that we have in common. And we hear about each other’s traditions and the uniqueness of different religions and cultures.

He was impressed by the children’s commitment.

“Each time there were questions I was hearing for the first time,” he said. “The book is about what happens in a Gurdwara but seen through the eyes of a six-year-old boy. So he’s at that age when he asks why his family is doing what they’re doing.

The readings encouraged the children to think about their own family.

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“The book offers a window into this place where many of them have never been. But there were South Asian children in those visits, and for those Sikh students, it’s a mirror of their identity. They feel a sense of pride and see themselves and their experiences reflected in the story.

Pandhar has released a new children’s book, Welcome to Paldi: A Place for Everyone, about the history of what was once one of the largest Sikh communities in the country, on Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, Park prepares to give out more literacy baskets. He estimates that Burnaby Neighborhood House donated over 3,000 books this year.

“We get a lot of cookbooks,” he said. “Children’s books go particularly fast.”

Most of the donated books are in English.

“We sometimes get some in Mandarin, and we’ve had some in Korean and Spanish. That’s something we need to work on. The demand for children’s books in Arabic and Farsi, that’s what people are asking for. And people ask for dictionaries.

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How to make a donation

Since its launch in 1997, Raise-a-Reader has provided more than $21 million to promote literacy in British Columbia. The literacy campaign supports programs across the province, such as Partners in Education Plus, which is offered by the Canucks Family Education Centre. The Canucks Center provides literacy programs for families through intergenerational and lifelong learning support which is supported in part by Raise-a-Reader.

You can donate at any time. Here’s how:

• Online at raiseareader.com

• By phone at 604.681.4199

• By check, payable to Vancouver Sun Raise-a-Reader:

1125 Howe Street, #980

Vancouver, BC V6Z 2K8

Facebook: facebook.com/raisereadervan/

Twitter: @RARvancouver


Literacy is a tool everyone needs

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The literacy skills of nearly half of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 can prevent them from understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals, reading health information, filing taxes, read a rental agreement or use a library catalog, according to Decoda Literacy Solutions, BC’s provincial literacy organization.

And about half of the province’s population of the same age may have difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a chart or determining drug dosage, according to Decoda, which provides resources, from training, funds and support for community literacy programs. and initiatives in over 400 BC communities.

According to an international survey (the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) in which 27,000 Canadians participated, approximately 16% of British Columbians (or 700,000) were at Level 1 or below in literacy in 2012.

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Level 1 literacy means having trouble filling out a form at work, navigating a website, finding information on a list sent home from kindergarten, using information on a food label, or to make comparative purchases.

He says better literacy at home can help Canadians enjoy better health, manage their finances, understand their rights and responsibilities and legal procedures, and pass on literacy skills to their children.

At work, it can also improve job prospects, increase earnings, reduce work-related stress by being more efficient and accurate at work, and increasing the likelihood of participating in adult education and job-related training. employment.

And in the community, it can increase civic participation and volunteerism, political engagement, and increase the likelihood of inclusion in society.

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