Highlight of the Year for Literacy Matters in Abbotsford
When asked for a highlight of the year, Sharon Crowley, the Literacy Outreach Coordinator for Literacy Matters, wrote this:
“I think for Abbotsford it was the opening of the library room at the Community Aboriginal Centre. This project came out of the joining of community members to sit on the Aboriginal table (Hand in Hand Child Care Society, Abbotsford School District, Fraser Valley Metis Association, United Way/Success by Six, Literacy Matters Abbotsford). Contact has been ongoing with Matsqui First Nation and Sumas First Nation with both expressing their support for this project.”
The vision of a library came from discussion around getting Aboriginal children involved in the community’s Reading Buddy program, working with students from grades 1 – 4 that require assistance with reading. They are matched with an adult volunteer and spend one hour per week together. As we discussed a way to remove barriers it was determined that a space at the Community Aboriginal Centre would be the answer. From there discussion grew to Aboriginal content of the materials – which is currently sitting at 100%.
“So, partners: University of the Fraser Valley practicum students were instrumental in setting up the cataloguing system. This was to be the parameters of their practicum however they were so committed to this project that they stayed the course – labelling, shelving, organizing, educating about the Brian Deer catalogue system. Smitty, from the Fraser Valley Regional Library was key in connecting us to the practicum students. She also introduced us to United Library Services where we were able to access many titles at a significant reduction.”
The Fraser Valley Metis Association donated books to the library as their site was closed down. The Abbotsford School District owns the Community Aboriginal site and they have endorsed the creation of this space.
Another part of having the library at the Community Aboriginal Centre is the start of an Aboriginal Early Learning program that runs from 4 – 7 pm. The participants of this program will be able to access the library. Another partner in the early learning program is Hand in Hand Child Care Society. An Aboriginal PALS program, run with an Aboriginal support teacher from the school district will also start running in the early learning program, and they will have use of the library.
Future plans for the library include more partnering with the Fraser Valley Regional Library to bring programs to the Community Aboriginal Centre at the request of families.
“As the Literacy Outreach Coordinator I was able to keep this project moving forward through coordinating meetings, minutes, roles, and in general, following up on everyone’s activities.”
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