The local Story time in the Park program has secured funding for another year thanks to a grant from the Canada Post Community Foundation for Children.
Organizations across Canada can apply for funding from the national charity, which last year contributed to 112 different programs for children and youth.
Early childhood development coordinator Serina Badiali knew that her predecessor had applied for the grant, but she was shocked to receive $2,500 towards the program.
“We were hoping for $500 to $1,000 but the program is so good it even translates on paper and they awarded us $2,500,” Badiali said. “It’s an amazing grant…”
Story time in the Park runs in Hope and Boston Bar too, but Agassiz Harrison gets the most outside visitors. This summer it saw over 1,300 participants – 40 per cent of which came from communities outside Agassiz and Harrison.
The program promotes literacy by having a community leaders read books to youth in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island.
Everybody who attends gets something to eat and each family receives a free book.
And the local events often include entertainment or crafts. In the past there’s been guests from Science World or the Chilliwack Museum.Balloon twisters and clowns have made appearances too.
Plus, it’s completely free, so all kids can enjoy the fun.
“It just means that anybody out there who is maybe more vulnerable gets the same as everybody else,” Badiali said.
But the books, food and entertainment aren’t cheap, especially as the programs grows in popularity.
The books for example cost a minimum of $500 to $1,000 per event.
“All of these things cost money,” Badiali said. “So a grant from Canada Post…it’s pretty huge to get that amount of money.”