ABC CANADA celebrates International Literacy Day

    September is a great time to start fresh and renew your literacy skills

    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - September 8 is International Literacy Day, a day
dedicated to promoting lifelong learning to the nearly 774 million adults,
around the world, who struggle with literacy. In Canada there are more than
nine million individuals who face various degrees of literacy challenges and
today we encourage them and all Canadians to upgrade their skills.
    In today's work force, the required skills and education levels are
increasing, yet millions of people lack essential skills. International
Literacy Day is a day for potential learners to take the next step to seek
help and upgrade their skills.
    "There are many ways to increase your literacy skills just by doing
everyday activities. This is especially important for adults because we lose
skills as we age," says Margaret Eaton, President, ABC CANADA Literacy
Foundation. Canada has hundreds of literacy organizations that provide free
tutoring services to help people upgrade their skills. People looking to seek
help in upgrading their literacy and educational skills can look under LEARN
in the Yellow Pages to find various literacy organizations in their area
dedicated to educating people of all backgrounds.
    Several adult learners across the country have already taken the first
step and have been recognized for their courageous steps to improve their
skills. Each year learners are celebrated at the Peter Gzowski Invitational
(PGI) Golf Tournaments for Literacy. Founded by the late journalist Peter
Gzowski, each province hosts a tournament in partnership with a local literacy
organization and rewards an adult learner with The Co-operator's Learner
Achievement award. Winners receive $200, an engraved pen and a certificate for
their hard work, dedication and success.
    "Overcoming the inability to read or write is a daunting task. And yet,
The Co-operators has had the distinct pleasure of recognizing many individuals
who have done just that," says Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO, The
Co-operators. "Through The Co-operators PGI Learner Achievement Award we have
shone the light on dozens of dedicated and deserving adults from every
province who have achieved their dream of literacy despite insurmountable
    These are a few of the winners of The Co-operator's Learner Achievement

    Kevin Mardell, Literacy BC
    Nicole LaChapelle, Calgary Learning Centre
    Shawneen Short, Frontier College
    Jordan Clouthier, Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy
    Anne Marie Casey, Literacy Nova Scotia
    Simone Arsenault, PEI Literacy Alliance
    Linda Sampson, Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador
    Victoria Drybones, NWT Literacy Council
    Emil Beaudoin, Yukon Learn Society

    "More and more adult learners like the recipients of The Co-operator's
Learner Achievement Award are realizing the importance of skills training and
are getting the education they need to succeed," says Eaton. "It is a big step
to address a learning concern and seek help, but once you do the possibilities
are endless."
    International Literacy Day was created by UNESCO (United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in the early 1960s to raise
awareness about adult literacy worldwide. This year's theme focuses on the
important relationship between literacy and health.
    To find more information on International Literacy Day, or where you can
celebrate in your area, please visit or

    ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation is Canada's private-sector voice
championing adult literacy. The national charity envisions a Canada where
individuals, regardless of their circumstances, are provided the opportunities
to increase the skills that prepare people for realizing their full potential
at work, at home and in the community. To learn more about literacy, visit

For further information:

For further information: Ashley Tilley, Communications Co-ordinator, ABC
CANADA Literacy Foundation, (416) 218-0010 ext. 127,

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