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Literacy program faced with funding cuts

A literacy program running in Hazelton is being faced with provincial funding cuts.

Literacy Outreach Coordination’s Sarah Panofsky says the program runs monthly literacy workshops at various institutions between Hazelton and Kitwanga.

“Community Literacy Coordinators work with a task force, people who are interested in literacy. They set goals and identify needs and challenges around literacy in the community and then they act together to work towards those goals and make change.”

She says the program has lost half its provincial funding this year and will likely receive no government money in the future.

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“Certainly we are going to look for ways to continue this work because we just see it as so vital and important. But this is putting an additional strain on community organizations that were already working as hard as they can with low funding to begin with.”

She says in a places like Hazelton, where 42 per cent of Aboriginal students don’t graduate and the local secondary school was just ranked at the bottom of B.C. schools, the funding cuts damage programs like her’s, which works with adults who have fallen out of the mainstream system.

She says organizers are trying to push the government to realize the importance of continuing to fund literacy programs.

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