The Decoder – January 2015

From the Desk of Brenda Le Clair, CEO


Happy New Year!  I would like to start by saying ‘thank you’ for helping make 2014 a successful year for Decoda and for community-based literacy. Together, we were able to achieve a number of goals that helped advance literacy and learning in British Columbia.

For a closer look at how you helped make a difference, click here to view our Annual Report.

As we move into 2015, we’re excited about launching some new initiatives and events to support community-based literacy across the province.

To begin the year, we’ve added some experience and knowledge to the organization. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to two members of our Board of Directors. Jacquie Taylor is our new Board Chair and Dale Walker has joined us as a Director. Both individuals are accomplished professionals who will bring passion and experience to our team.

Building on the momentum of our Literacy is Life campaign, we’ve decided to launch a similar fundraising, awareness and education campaign to support Family Literacy Week.

Throughout January, we’ve planned several activities that will make it easy for you and your family to participate in and support Family Literacy Week. We’re partnering with Science World to run a weekend event at TELUS World of Science; we’re running an online photo contest; and we’re providing FREE family literacy resources for you.

For more information, CLICK HERE or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

We’re also very excited about work that we’re doing in professional development and adult literacy. We’ve developed a credentialing system that will set consistent standards for literacy practitioners and raise the level of professionalism in the field to the benefit of both practitioners and learners. By doing so, we hope to build an even stronger literacy community.

We’re also working on other key initiatives to support literacy in the workplace, expand our work with children and families, and create new partnerships that will help advance literacy and learning in B.C.

As you can see, our team will be very busy in 2015 and we hope that you will be there every step of the way.

Thank you for supporting literacy and learning – together we are building strong individuals, strong families and stronger communities.

As always, I encourage you to contact me directly with any suggestions, questions or comments.


Brenda Le Clair



Celebrate Family Literacy Week
Sheri and her family play cards. Photo by Mike Leland.

Family Literacy Week 2015 is from January 24th to 31st! Download your activity sheets, join us for new events, and have fun with your family! Start on our special event page for ideas…

Quietly Making a Big Difference


Sharon Crowley’s passion for her community is undeniable. For over 30 years she’s been serving the people of Langley in one way or another. A committed volunteer, she says simply: “it’s in my blood to help others.” What’s also in her blood is a deep-rooted passion for literacy and learning, which makes her a great champion.

A proud mother of three, Sharon raised her children to value learning. “I can’t imagine someone not having the tools they need to succeed in life…that’s why literacy has always been an important part of our family.” In fact, visit the Crowley house during family dinners and you’ll likely find one or several of her six grandchildren sitting on a lap, taking in a story…or three.

Sharon began her career as an early childhood educator – a job that she still does today. For the past several years, she’s taken her passion for literacy into her community, where she’s been a force in driving literacy and learning initiatives. Sharon is currently the Literacy Outreach Coordinator in Abbotsford; previously she served the community of Langley in the same capacity.

Sharon goes about her work with one thing in mind – helping others. “Connecting people with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life drives me to do this job,” she says. And what a job she’s doing!

Over the years, Sharon has helped bridge the gap between those who need support and those who can provide it – she’s been especially influential when it comes to serving the Aboriginal communities. Sharon founded the Langley Literacy Association; brought the Canadian Diabetes Food Skills for Families program to Matsqui First Nation; and started the Langley Community Reading Challenge. These are just a few of the things she’s accomplished to help the people in her community.

Humble and unassuming, Sharon doesn’t like to talk about herself or her accomplishments, but there’s one project that stands above all. She’ll tell you it’s one of her proudest moments as a literacy practitioner. “When we opened the Ray and Millie Silver Library at the Community Aboriginal Centre, I felt an incredible amount of satisfaction and joy, because the library does not just impact one person.”

Sharon’s feelings on the library sum up her philosophy on community literacy, “…it’s not about one person – it’s about a community coming together to make a difference and affect change.”

This January, you can see the impact she has on her community during Family Literacy Week. Sharon has been instrumental in bringing groups and people together to run the Third Annual Community Reading Challenge (Jan 25 – Feb 14), which will kick off with a community pancake breakfast.

Sharon is not alone. There are 102 Literacy Outreach Coordinators in communities across B.C. who bring the same passion, drive and spirit to improving literacy and learning.

No Monkey Business Here

We would like to kick off 2015 by recognizing one of our fantastic new supporters.

A great champion of literacy, The Chimp Foundation helped make our very first fundraising campaign a success. During our Literacy is Life Team Trivia Challenge in September, The Foundation connected us with literacy supporters from B.C. and across Canada to raise over $25,000.

Their support from the beginning was impressive, to say the least. Our client success specialist, Kyla Hackett, and other Chimp staff offered valuable advice, provided onsite fundraising and technical support at our event, and best of all, their online fundraising tool was free, without transaction fees.

We would like to acknowledge the tremendous support we’ve received from Chimp over the past year. Our Team Trivia Challenge exceeded its revenue goal by $10,000 thanks to matching gifts from Bienfaissance Foundation which applied directly to online gifts using Chimp technology.

A blog post and video by Chimp featuring Decoda’s trivia event put us on the map with other Canadian charities using peer-to-peer fundraising, which makes events more cost-effective and successful.

We also benefitted from Chimp social media campaigns on Giving Tuesday and National Philanthropy Day.

On behalf of everyone at Decoda, thank you Chimp! We look forward to working with you in 2015 and the Second Annual Literacy is Life Team Trivia Challenge.

Chimp is a web-based tool that any Canadian can use to make a donation or fundraise for any charity of their choice.  A contraction of “Charitable Impact Foundation,” Chimp, a public foundation, has given more than $53 million to charitable causes since 2008.

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