LOC Spotlight: Barb Mancell

LOC Spotlight: Barb Mancell

LOC Spotlight: Barb Mancell

Date posted: June 3, 2015

We’ve just gotten word through the Tri-Cities Literacy Committee News that Barb Mancell, Literacy Outreach Coordinator, will be retiring from her position as of July 31st to spend more time with her new grandchild. To honour her longtime contributions to community literacy, we’re reprinting a feature story that appeared previously in The Decoder. Thank you for your hard work, Barb! We look forward to working with your successor.  

“We’re here to support people who want to achieve their literacy goals.”  Meet Barb Mancell, a Literacy Outreach Coordinator. As a former school teacher, Barb Mancell understands the importance of literacy gained through formal education.  

As a school teacher for 34 years, Barb Mancell understands the importance of literacy. She also knows a lot about dedication and commitment. She gave her life to the public school system and she was rewarded time and again as she prepared young minds to go into the world and find themselves. But Barb had no idea that others in her community were just as passionate about literacy.

It happened at a chance lunch meeting one afternoon. Barb ran into a friend who works in adult literacy in her community. She told Barb about her work, the need for informal learning in communities, and the people that these programs assist. Barb was still interested in literacy, and given that she had some time and wanted to give back to the community, she was a natural fit for a maternity leave position as a Literacy Outreach Coordinator.

Two years later, Barb is still working as an outreach coordinator and is driven to make a difference in her community. “I love my job and I cannot say enough about the people I am working with. I am inspired every day when I see what is going on in our community and the level of commitment and caring really drives me to do more.”

As an outreach coordinator, Barb wears many hats. She spends her day checking e-mails, responding to dozens of requests, attending meeting after meeting, writing newsletters and family literacy program plans, and even delivering supplies.

Currently, Barb is involved in several projects that speak to her passion for literacy, including preparations for a summer reading program called Stories Galore & Me. The family-and-adult literacy program is run in six parks and in three different communities, but by only two volunteers! Last summer, the program had an average attendance of 270 people per week.

“I really had no idea of the scope of work that was going on in my community until I took this job. There is a need out there and I am working with a group of people who are qualified and committed to filling that need. We’re here to support people in their efforts to achieve their literacy goals and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.” 

But what Barb and other outreach coordinators really do is build relationships; they bring people together and mobilize communities; they identify and address local literacy priorities and develop and implement action plans to address those priorities; and they prepare people for the modern world. This is the true value of this amazing group of committed and caring individuals.

Barb is one of 102 literacy outreach coordinators making a difference in people’s lives. They build strong individuals, strong families and strong communities in British Columbia.

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