26Jun 19

The Big Four-oh

0 Comment

READ is turning forty!

In our twenties we kind of found ourselves. Figured out what we were good at and what we wanted to do when we grew up.

In our thirties we settled down. Got some direction and focus. Found a place to call home and some really excellent partners.

And our forties? Unlike in real life, we are embracing the big four-oh.

Our forties are going to be great. We’re smarter and stronger than ever before and making more of a difference, too. With the help of 130 volunteers, we worked with more than 2,000 kids and adults through our programs this past year. We even found the time to launch a new family literacy program—1, 2 Buckle My Shoe—using play-based, interactive math activities for parents and their children.

In our first few months of being 40 we have the largest budget in our history and are supported by a record number of donations, including the single largest donation in READ’s history and in the history of literacy in Saskatchewan: $500,000 from an anonymous donor.

In our forties we have a new ambitious and bold vision for the organization. Entitled Road Map, and looking to 2022, we have set our course for the next four years.

Our goals, and we’re going to achieve them, include:

  • increasing the number of people served by 15,000 by 2022 (totaling 40,000 since 1979);
  • working with 40 communities across the province;
  • providing 400 volunteer opportunities; and
  • raising $4 million for our literacy programs.

What will not change now that we are in our forties are our foundational commitments, the beliefs that: everyone has the right to learn, regardless of age; that strong literacy skills are not attained by chance; that communities have a right to responsive and effective literacy programs; that lifelong habits contribute to strong and resilient communities; and that our own cultural perspectives are limited and therefore we will not make assumptions about the experiences and cultural expressions of others.

What also won’t change is the community of support it will take to continue doing what we do—to our donors, volunteers, and community and government partners, we will need you now more than ever as we begin this trip. After all, it takes an entire village to raise a community organization.

On that note, I want to recognize the immense contributions of our outgoing board members: Jen Bain, Matt Coutts, Lisa Dunville, Myra Potter and Derek Rope. It was a pleasure serving on the board with all of you. Your dedication to the organization and its mission was inspiring.

As inspiring, is the commitment and enthusiasm of Sheryl and her team. Day in and day out they give every bit of themselves to this important cause and without their effort we wouldn’t be on the cusp of changing literacy, not only in Saskatoon, but throughout the province.

Kris Foster

Chair Board of Directors

READ Saskatoon