Many adult Canadians take the ability to read for granted. It’s automatic. Especially since we’re bombarded by more messages than ever before. Now just imagine that you couldn’t read. That you didn’t have the ability to search the job board, let alone find stable employment. But it’s the reality for many of Victoria’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.
That’s where Literacy Victoria comes in.
The non-profit pairs tutors and adult learners seeking reading, writing, math, computer, and other essential skills — all free of charge to its clients. It’s the only organization on the South Island doing this virtuous task, and it needs your help.
Sadly, in August last year Literacy Victoria had to shut its doors. A once healthy non-profit with expanding programs ran into trouble after federal grant funding “disappeared completely,” according to Susan Reece, chair of Literacy Victoria. The board decided to close the doors and cover debts. “We decided to pay the money we owed rather than falling into bankruptcy. We hoped that one day we would be able to reopen.”
After downsizing and paying down debt, Literacy Victoria was able to reopen in March at 817 Fort in the Disability Resources Centre offices. It now has one part-time paid coordinator, Sharon Welsh, who works tirelessly to make the perfect match between the volunteer tutors and learners.
While the programs Literacy Victoria offers in its new iteration are “much more modest,” they were still able to pair more than 30 clients in just a few months of operations. Reece says Literacy Victoria hopes to be able to help 50 clients concurrently, but without a fundraiser on staff, they are relying on fundraisers in the community to raise half of their $80,000 operating budget. Other funding comes from the provincial government and the Victoria Foundation.
Literacy Victoria has partnerships with the Mustard Seed, Our Place, The Native Friendship Centre, and the Garth Homer Society to identify potential clients and provide meeting space for tutoring sessions. The Greater Victoria Public Library also helps with space requirements.
The organization is also in need of many more tutors. “Many of our tutors are retired educators, but we’re open to people from any background,” says Reece, who started with the organization as a tutor herself.
Please visit literacyvictoria.org. if you are interested in becoming a tutor or a client, or would like to donate to the cause.
Beer and Bloomsday — June 16
analogue is teaming up with Hoyne Brewing Company to present the inaugural Beer and Bloomsday Short Fiction Contest, in honour of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Writers have 200 words to capture the essence of Joyce’s work and impress the jury. The top three submissions will be printed in the next issue of analogue magazine.
The Bloomsday event is a tradition at the James Joyce Bistro, at the corner of View and Douglas. The restaurant inside Peacock’s Billiards has five rectangular wall panels and a 14-foot-long bar top featuring extensive quotes from Joyce’s Ulysses by local artist Robert Amos and his wife Sarah. Amos is a regular at the yearly event where Joyce enthusiasts congregate to read their favourite passages. Those with entries on the contest’s shortlist will also be invited to read.
The first place winner receives a pass to the Sunshine Coast Writers Festival and overnight accommodation. The contest closes June 8, and all proceeds from the contest and the subsequent Bloomsday event, which will also feature a silent auction, will be donated to Literacy Victoria.
go to www.hoynebrewing.ca/blog for all the details