In October, Black Press and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) joined forces to raise funds and awareness about the importance of literacy with the 4th annual Reach-a-Reader campaign.

On Wednesday, October 8th, Valley Echo staff together with members of the Columbia Valley Rockies and other community volunteers hit the streets in Invermere to distribute The Echo and collect donations in support of community-based literary programs. Similar initiatives took place across the Columbia Basin and Boundary around the same time.

This year’s grand total raised by the Reach-a-Reader street campaign from October 8th to 20th came to $11,467.95. Further online donations resulting from CBAL’s newspaper campaign (consecutive weeks of submitted articles) raised an additional $9,000, bringing the total to just over $20,000.

“This is an impressive amount and we look forward to the participation of Kootenay Savings Credit Union next year to help maximize our efforts,” said Desneiges Profili, the CBAL regional program manager for West Kootenay/Boundary.

After speaking with co-ordinators across the region, the common factor in all of their stories was the support of Black Press staff, she added.

“A campaign of this magnitude is not easy to orchestrate, but with strong partnerships and effective planning, success is attainable,” said Profili.

“Community literacy programs are stronger than ever thanks to Black Press!”

The Reach-a-Reader campaign coincided with Decoda Literacy Solutions’ inaugural Literacy is Life campaign — a province-wide fundraising and awareness campaign designed to create a new, modern understanding of literacy and raise funds to ensure that community-based literacy programs across British Columbia can support the people who depend on them.

For more information, visit or contact Ali Wassing at 250-342-3210 ext. 7 or