Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s (CBAL) office is now located in downtown Fernie. The non-profit literacy organization has moved from the Max Turyk Community Centre to the Fernie Family Centre on 4th Ave, behind City Hall. This move increases the organization’s outreach ability significantly. Programs have higher attendance, walk-ins are a new possibility, and community members are stepping forward to volunteer. English language class attendance increased from two participants to seven participants immediately after the opening of the new office downtown, and inquiries to join are continuing to come in.
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy offers support to create healthy learning communities. Literacy is a much broader area than many people realize. It includes the obvious skills such as reading and writing; however, it also includes numeracy, technology, workplace skills, and more.
The Fernie office offers support in many ways. CBAL runs free group programs such as adult computer classes, English language classes, writing groups and after-school programs. Additionally, volunteer tutors help clients with numerous goals such as completing a high school equivalency, improving reading, filling in documents/forms, improving computer skills.
CBAL also offers settlement services for newcomers to Canada. This can mean help in understanding the complicated process of residency, citizenship or becoming a part of the community. Many of these settlement clients took advantage of a free financial literacy workshop “Tips and Secrets Smart Canadians Know.” This workshop helped participants understand the Canadian banking system and financial considerations such as credit cards, debit, payroll deductions and more.
All CBAL services and programs are absolutely free. With the increased outreach available due to the new office location, Fernie Cardlock is donating a portion of all debit card purchases for the entire month of April to CBAL.