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Literacy Network surpasses goal

Literacy Network surpasses goal
All the Literacy Network trees were fully lit the Saturday before Christmas.

Thanks to a wave of community support, the Prince Albert Literacy Network (PALN) successfully hit its Shine a Light for Literacy goal.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, PALN had a booth set up at the Gateway Mall. For a $2 donation, residents could contribute to lighting a light on a tree. The trees had a total of 1,000 lights. A late surge of donations led to a total of $2,440 raised to buy new materials for the various literacy network programs.

“We’re just so pumped that the donations came in and we are over the top with lighting the literacy trees in Gateway Mall,” said volunteer Kim Orynik.

“Just the last few days, the donations started to roll in a little more quickly. $2,440 will buy a whole lot of resources for us.”

The funds will go to help repair and build story sacks for the family literacy programs. The story sacks go out to many groups and agencies in Prince Albert. They play a huge role in the volunteer component of the program.

Story sacks are resources that encourage parents and children to read together in an interactive way. They contain high-quality picture books, props and costumes for acting out the story, an audio recording, a non-fiction book and an idea card with activities to do together.

Story sacks are free for people to borrow.

The funds will also help purchase materials for the adult literacy programs.

“We have more than 30 volunteers working with adult learners to improve their English,” Orynik said.

“Every learner has a different need. We’re often needing to replenish our resources to work with those learners.”

The booth was run by volunteers, including Nikki Hemsworth, the vice chair of the literacy board. Hemsworth and her daughter were able to hold storytime and contests to not only raise money but also awareness for PALN.

That included giving out free books to children who would stop by the booth.

“It’s amazing,” Hemsworth said.

“For me, it wasn’t as much about the fundraising as it was about the awareness of what Prince Albert Literacy Network does for the community. It’s nice to be able to tell people what we do, what we are and what we offer.”

Orynik thanked everyone who supported the project, including Canadian Tire which provided the lights and Christmas Wonderland which provided the trees.

“A big thank you to the citizens of Prince Albert,” Orynik said.

“You always come through. There’s so much going on in the community and we appreciate your support.”