October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day: Raise A Reader

The theme is poverty for this year's edition of Blog Action Day. Poverty can seem like an overwhelmingly huge issue to tackle, so I will focus on a particular aspect only. The inability to read is often times a significant barrier for low income individuals, severely restricting their career options. Being able to read allows for digestion and understanding of a broad range of subjects. Whether used for education, entertainment, or self-sufficiency, reading is a skill that once learned becomes used in almost every aspect of daily life.

The Raise-a-Reader program was first introduced in Vancouver in 2002, and has since spread to almost 30 communities across Canada. Volunteers sell newspapers on Raise-a-Reader day, with all the proceeds going to local literacy programs. The Vancouver Canucks and its players have always been strong supporters of the program, so I was not surprised to see legendary Canuck Stan Smyl selling papers at a street corner on this year's Raise-a-Reader day. I was impressed though by the the range of people who were engaged in the noble undertaking.

People from all strata of society were involved, from celebrities to firefighters to school children. Block after block, each street corner in the downtown core was occupied by a group of newspaper toting volunteers in an impressive display of people uniting for the common good. I gave a generous contribution to a particularly enthusiastic volunteer, who handed me my special edition copy of the Vancouver Sun and applied a "I helped Raise-a-Reader today!" sticker to my bosom.


"Even heroes have heroes"