Literacy is The Guardian’s signature cause.
Each year the newspaper contributes thousands of dollars in donations, staff time and advertising support to assist literacy initiatives in the community and through the newspaper’s own events, which include Raise-a-Reader Day (started in 2006), Stuff for Students (started in 2007), Teen Scene, the summer reading series, Newspapers in Education (NIE) and the Book Drive and Sale for Literacy (started in 2007).
The Guardian partners with its sister newspaper The Journal Pioneer in the literacy programs. Since the start of the initiatives well over $200,000 has been raised for use on Prince Edward Island.
Don Brander, publisher of The Guardian, says the book drive and sale is a particular favourite of the newspaper because of its circular nature.
“Book lovers donate their gently used books, book lovers from the staff and the community turn a donated space into a book store and serve as volunteer sellers, readers from across the Island purchase the books and the money raised is used to support literacy projects.”
Just over $15,000 was raised from the most recent book drive and sale. The Guardian then shares the funds with various Island literacy projects.
Following the book drive, organizations are invited to submit a proposal for funds with a description of how their project relates to education and literacy. The presentations are reviewed by a small group of volunteers from The Guardian book drive committee, the Rotary Club of Hillsborough, and literacy leaders from the community.
The following community and school programs received funding this year:
— Alberton Public Library, for its program called Family Literacy Through Scrapbooking, $200;
— Centre for Preforming Arts, for its Literacy Through the Arts, Phase 2, $1,250;
— Cardigan Consolidated, Young Readers of the Future, $2,975.08;
— Glen Stewart Primary, Back to Basics, $2,000;
— M.E. Callaghan Home and School, M.E. Callaghan Book Room, $1,500;
— Morell Regional High, Including All Readers, $500;
— Prince Street Elementary, Prince Street School Library, $4,400;
— P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, Transition Boot Camp, $1,000;
— The Guardian, Stuff for Students, $1,636.10.
Everyone needs essential literacy skills, such as reading, writing and oral communication, to function effectively at work, at home and in the community. In Canada, 42 per cent of Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills.
The Canadian Literacy and Learning Network says if society could increase the literacy rate by one per cent, it would generate $18 billion in economic growth every year.
Establishing a culture of learning inspires creativity, enriches family relationships, and bolsters confidence and independent thinking.
The Guardian literacy team is already planning for the 2013 Book Drive and Sale. In the coming weeks the public will be encouraged to contribute to literacy on Prince Edward Island by donating used books, buying someone else’s and helping create next year’s literacy grants.