14Dec 16

Family Literacy is the Cornerstone of Lifelong Learning.

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“Family Literacy is the cornerstone of lifelong learning.”

Julie Mintenko did not know what to expect when she covered a story about READ Saskatoon’s Family Literacy programs almost a decade ago. She certainly did not expect to be so inspired that she would become a devoted READ volunteer and Family Literacy advocate.

“I was immediately fascinated about the power of this grassroots organization,” says Julie. “Their programs were so incredible and I was impressed with how deeply they were helping the families in our community.”

Beyond being impressed with READ’s programming, Julie was also amazed by the demand in the community for these programs. She decided to become a READ volunteer.

“I’ve been a volunteer at many different READ events,” she says. “From Romp’n’Read to Story Sacks to helping at the Children’s Festival. Whatever they needed help with, I wanted to be there to lend a hand!”

A year and a half ago, Julie’s appreciation for Family Literacy became even deeper when she became a mother herself. Her son, Keaton, is 16 months old, and the many lessons she has learned as a READ Saskatoon volunteer have affected her approach to learning at home.

“For a child to have strong literacy skills, you need to start young,” she says. From reading books to singing and allowing her son to play and explore, she knows these early learning experiences help set the stage for a child’s learning once they get to school and beyond.

“Literacy is the foundation of everything we do on a daily basis,” says Julie. “It’s so important for parents to have an active role in their children’s learning, right from the very start.”

Julie is excited to take Keaton to READ programs once he is old enough, too.

“I am looking forward to sharing that experience with him,” she says. “It is such a fun and welcoming environment. READ truly has a love for families in our community.”

Being involved with READ Saskatoon has made Julie grateful for the opportunities she’s had in life. This experience has made her reflect on her own childhood, and all the ways her parents helped support her learning.

“So many things about being a parent really make you appreciate all your own parents did to help you,” says Julie. “Not every child has the support that I did. But as a community, we can come together and support all families and ensure every child has what they need to learn and thrive.”

“Life is hectic, but we can all do our part,” she adds. “I encourage everyone to go to a camp or an event and see with your own eyes just how remarkable READ Saskatoon really is!”