Last year Street School received a $5,000 donation thanks to money raised by the first ever Kamloops Canwest Raise-a-Reader Day.
With a second Raise-a-Reader Day coming up at the end of the month, co-ordinator Peter Grindberg is hopeful his one-room adult education program at St. George's Anglican Church will see more money in the future.
“The grants help to keep the program viable,” Grinberg said Wednesday.
The money helped literacy outreach worker Tonia Gillespie continue her work with students during the summer. She is in constant communication with the adults, meeting them for coffee or taking them their homework.
Grinberg said it’s easy for adults to come back to school, but tough to keep them there. The enthusiasm lasts about a month before he or she hits a wall. That’s where Gillespie comes in.
“A lot of (adult education) programs don’t have an outreach worker like Tonia,” said Grinberg, adding it’s the one-on-one time she has with students that makes a difference.
Gillespie said the Raise-a-Reader money helped many students continue with their studies.
“For a lot of students, having that continuity is vital,” she said, adding a two-month summer break would make it a challenge for some to stay in school.
Money isn’t the only benefit Raise a Reader brought to Street School — there is a heightened awareness that literacy is important, said Grinberg.
“When adults realize there are programs out there that meet their needs, they are more inclined to contact us,” he said.
Street School is designed for learners who are unlikely to attend school in a traditional setting. During its three years, enrolment has climbed from five students to 170.
The program has proven successful, with 19 adults graduating with a Grade 12 diploma in June. Only one received a dogwood the first year.
The school has expanded its hours, with classes running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday instead of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Much of Street School’s strength is derived from the work of retired volunteer teachers. Grindberg said he needs teachers with a background in biology 12 and principles of math 11.
Raise-a-Reader Day takes place Sept. 23, with teams of volunteers handing out special editions of The Daily News for a donation from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at select locations in town.
For more information on Street School phone 250-318-9455 or 250-320-6408.