Memorial Park hosts weekly story time

Annual summer program in Hope and Boston Bar returns rain or shine

Janis Booth and her granddaughter Elyza Booth follow along as Mayor Susan Johnston reads Earth Day

Story Time in the Park is once again offering free family literacy events throughout the summer.

Local resident Heather Stewin started the weekly program in 2003 after realizing many kids in the community struggled to read.

“The goal of Story Time is to keep kids reading over the summer and provide tools for parents and guardians to help their kids learn. Literacy is a vital foundation for all life skills and as a community, we want to help lay that foundation,” said Jodi McBride, executive director of Read Right Society. “Since Story Time began, the literacy and cognitive development rates in the Fraser-Cascade region have improved by 13 per cent. We want to keep that momentum going, increasing literacy and helping prepare kids for kindergarten. Ultimately, we hope to lay the foundation for a healthy future in our communities.”

Story Time runs rain or shine weekly in Hope, Boston Bar, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs and hosts over 400 people each week. The goal is to provide a barrier-free literacy program and supports to families to increase literacy rates and reduce vulnerability rates amongst children in the community. This year’s events include a weekly book read by a special guest, fun learning activities and games at each event, one free copy of the week’s book per family, and a free healthy snack.

Story Time in the Park will rotate throughout communities as follows: Mondays, Boston Bar Family Place; Tuesdays, Hope Memorial Park; and Wednesdays, Agassiz Centennial Park (July only) and Harrison Hot Springs Sasquatch Provincial Park (August only).

Story Time in the Park takes countless volunteer hours and about $60,000 per summer to plan and implement. The program has many sponsors including Fraser Valley Regional Library, District of Hope, Hope Community Services, Fraser Cascade Lower Canyon Forestry, Raise a Reader, Telus, Fortis, Canada Summer Jobs, Hope Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Envision Financial, The Cat’s Meow, Baker’s Books, Hope Gardner GMC, Buy and Save Foods and Camp Squeah.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Story Time in the Park can contact McBride at 604-806-0510 or jodi.readright@gmail.com