For youngsters in Grande Prairie and area, Grande Prairie Public Library’s Reading Buddies program offers a great opportunity to read more and build on their literacy skills over the long summer break from school.
Focused on kids in Grades 1-3, the program provides a structured environment for one-on-on reading practice with volunteer teen mentors, thanks in part to the Grande Prairie Public Library Fund held at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.
Established a number of years ago, GPPL’s charitable organization fund is a permanent endowment which provides annual source of revenue to be used to support programs and operations of GPPL.
That annual grant has provided annual opportunities for the kids involved to limit their summer learning loss, develop their reading skills and socialize with kids a bit older than themselves, says Jacob Fehr, head of Children’s & Teen Services at GPPL.
“For the teens it offers volunteer hours that some use toward their graduation credits, experience working with children as well as the opportunity to be a mentor and someone the kids look up too.”
Many kids who have participated in the program at a young age have also returned to the library as volunteer teen mentors for the program, he adds. The Reading Buddies program also requires a coordinator each summer with college or university students filling the role.
“It gives them valuable experience working in the education field and helps them to develop skills in the process of planning, organizing and leading a summer-long program,” says Fehr, noting they have had a coordinator who pursued a career as a librarian after being part of the program.
“This is a perfect area for the use of grants from the Community Foundation,” says library director Deborah Cryderman. “Programs such as Reading Buddies develop intergenerational relationships, particularly important in a community that welcomes so many newcomers. We appreciate that the Community Foundation supports lifelong literacy by providing this grant to GPPL.”
The Community Foundation is proud to be able to partner with the Grande Prairie Public Library. Reading Buddies provides an opportunity for our young people with a place that is always welcoming and inclusive to all. These young people not only develop their reading skills, they are interacting and developing friendships with others which overall strengthens our community.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Grande Prairie Public Library Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift are to provide public library services to the region. Donations can be made online here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/40957 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.