Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) held their event Diversity at your Doorstep event on June 16. The event celebrated diversity in the Elk Valley with attending community members. The event had three goals, according to Chrisy Hill, Community Literacy Coordinator, the first to celebrate multiculturalism day, which is June 27. Second, to introduce the community to our programs and services and lastly to introduce the community to their new office space downtown.
“The Elk Valley is home to many cultures and this is something to be proud of. CBAL wants to ensure everyone, regardless of education levels, birth place, first language, financial status, and such, has access to the information they need to be successful and engaged with society,” she said to The Free Press. “It is crucial for people to realize there is an organization that can help. CBAL is a place to find confidential help with any literacy needs. This includes help with documents, and for immigrants there is mountains of paperwork and red tape to navigate.”
The event featured many multi-cultural games for children along with a variety of ethnic foods from local restaurants. The Chopstick Truck, Yama Goya, Loaf, Mountain Tandoor, Elk Valley Pizza Shoppe, and Tim Hortons all donated food representing various cultures and countries.
The event also awarded four community members with certificates of nomination to recognize the importance of their literacy work, titled Champions of Literacy. Honourable mentions were awarded Leanne Caillier-Smith, Andrew Picton, and the Fernie Yarn Bomber, who remained anonymous. The official award was given to Isabel Craig for her work with L’Association francophone des Rocheuses du sud or AFROS and supporting French literacy in the Elk Valley.
The event far exceeded Hill’s expectations.
“We asked restaurants to provide samples for 20-25 people. The turnout was over 40 adults and over 15 children. Feedback was fantastic. We were excited by the amount of attendees wanting to join programs,” she said. “However, our programming takes a bit of a break for the summer – with some minor exceptions. We will be contacting those who showed interest in programming in the fall when we start back up again.”
Hill is already planning next year’s event.
“We will strive to make this an annual event and have already started brainstorming new activities for next year. Some attendees asked to bring food from their countries next year and display their flag,” she said.