Kailey Erickson, September, 2014. Photo by Mike Leland.
Kailey Erickson did not set out to be a Literacy Outreach Coordinator (LOC) – in fact, she went to school so she could work in a museum. But Kailey’s passion for her community and for community development led the energetic university grad straight to community-based literacy.
As the LOC for the district of Langley, Kailey’s job requirements vary. Some days she trains tutors for the one-to-one adult learning program; other days she coordinates meetings for the local literacy task group; another day might see her planning an event for her community or working with her local newspaper to bring attention to the importance of community-based literacy programs…whatever the job requires, Kailey is there to see it through.
Kailey’s role is vital to the development and advancement of community-based literacy in her region. And like every LOC, she is passionate about ensuring that people in her community get the help they need and deserve.
“Growing up in British Columbia, I had no idea that so many people struggled with literacy. I also didn’t realize that there were so few organizations that could help. Today I see a growing population, with diverse groups of people settling here…the need for literacy programs without barriers or requirements is a must and I am here to do what I can to make that happen.”
Langley is one of the fastest growing municipalities in British Columbia. Many of Langley’s residents are immigrants who need assistance with language skills, but have trouble qualifying for some of the more traditional literacy or English Language programs. Community-based literacy programs are often their only support.
“The beauty of community-based literacy programs is that there are no barriers. People can walk in, get assessed and get set-up with learning plan that will suit their needs. To me that is practical and that is why I love this job so much…I see people get the support they need to thrive in our community.”
Kailey is an emerging star in Langley – she has already started some new initiatives to advance literacy and learning for children and families, youths and adults. Her passion and commitment to her community is unquestionable, but she has one wish, “I worry every day whether we will have funding to run the next literacy program – I wish that wasn’t the case and I could focus all of my energy on providing people with the support they need.”