Behind the Scenes – Saanich Peninsula Literacy: Providing Tools, Unlocking Doors
by Deborah Rogers | photo by Janis Jean Photography
What we do
We promote literacy and lifelong learning on the Saanich Peninsula by building awareness and by supporting community actions related to literacy. Our work spans the ages and involves working with partners from all sectors of the community to best serve children, families and adults living on the Peninsula.
Summer Literacy on the Peninsula
In the summer of 2021 we offered a series of FOUR free outdoor events sponsored by Saanich Peninsula Literacy in partnership with Vancouver Raise-a-Reader, Decoda, The Municipality of North Saanich, The Municipality of Central Saanich, Peninsula “1000 X 5” Children’s Book Recycling Project, Sidney / North Saanich Library, SD#63, McTavish Arts Centre, Greater Victoria Public Library, and the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association.
Open Air Library
For many years we offered a FREE, outdoor program sponsored by Saanich Peninsula Literacy in partnership with Vancouver Raise-a-Reader, Decoda, The Town of Sidney and many others. Everyone is welcome to select from a wide range of reading materials, relax with a good book on our cozy blankets, enjoy the fresh air and take home a book afterwards. Reading materials are available for all ages; there is no need to register, this is a FREE drop-in program.
Shaw TV South Island Literacy Series
Community StoryWalk Series
A StoryWalk® is a FREE, innovative, way for families to enjoy stories in the outdoors. Pages from a children’s book are hung on a fence or mounted to stakes on the ground. As you stroll along the path, you visit each page and enjoy the story in nature, with your family.
Family Literacy Packs
During the first few months of the Covid Pandemic we provided over 200 families with a packages containing age-appropriate information on community resources and organizations providing support. Bags also included a variety of age-appropriate materials, a gently-loved book, art/craft activity, fruit snack, activity sheets and a recreational item to be enjoyed outdoors.
We provide support in a variety of of ways including coordination, making linkages, building capacity, spreading the word and occasionally providing funds. Some of the local initiatives we support, include:
Peninsula “1000 x 5” Book Recycling Project
Every month we donate over 1500 books for babies and toddlers. We invite families to donate picture books; organize volunteers to sort and gift packages; and ensure our partners meet with parents and young children to distribute books to children.
A local celebration for readers and writers. Offering an in-school collaboration with Saanich Peninsula Literacy and SD#63 to pair classrooms with local writers.
Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood
A network of dedicated people representing services, agencies and volunteers across the Peninsula meet monthly to coordinate efforts to support the healthy growth and development of young children (0-6), and their families and to advocate for their well-being.
Local Groups and Indigenous Communities
Saanich Peninsula Literacy has responded to various requests for support in creative ways, including:
Connecting local library programs to community
Collaborating with Science World to offer science literacy programming
Providing materials and coordination to run programs and events
Coordinating inter-agency meetings and opportunities for networking
Literacy is Life Month
Each September, Eecoda, BC’s literacy non-profit leads a province-wide awareness and fundraising campaign. Literacy Month raises awareness of the importance of literacy, and raises funds to support community-based literacy programs and initiatives across British Columbia.
Sock it to Literacy Campaign
Support Saanich Peninsula Literacy in building literacy awareness by purchasing a pair of merino wool socks. Sock purchases help raise money to support local literacy programs and services.
Family Literacy Week
Every January, Canada celebrates Family Literacy Week and in particular Family Literacy Day, which takes place every January 27th. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities.
Task Group Membership
The Saanich Peninsula Literacy Task Group is comprised of community representatives committed to strengthening life-long literacy. Because literacy is directly linked to the well-being and growth of individuals and communities, task group members recognize the importance of literacy as a community building tool and a strategy for supporting economic, social, health and educational goals. If you would like to become a member of our Task Group, please contact the Literacy Outreach Coordinator.
University of Victoria – Michael Lines
Beacon Community Services – Suzanne Lorimer & Jennifer Van Es
Confederation of University Women’s Club – Sonya Emperingham
Greater Victoria Public Library – Delia Felipescu
Individual Learning Centre (ILC) – Debbie Nikkel
Peninsula 1000 x 5 Children’s Book Recycling Project – Daphne Macnaughton
Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood (PCEC) – Daphne Macnaughton
Saanich School District (#63) – Carly Hunter & Darcy Mcnee
Sidney / North Saanich Library – Virginia Macleod
Sidney LitFest – Janet Daines
Victoria Literacy Connection – Sofia Lopez Fuertes
District of North Saanich – Councillor Patricia Pearson
District of Central Saanich – Councillor Gordon Newton
Greater Victoria Alliance for Literacy – Janine Hannis
Seaside Magazine – Deborah Rogers
Saanich Peninsula Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Shantael Sleight – firstname.lastname@example.org