Celebrated NHL coach, Jacques Demers, champions literacy in B.C.

    Demers to spell out his personal story of living with low literacy during
    speaking engagements in Vancouver, Prince George and Nanaimo

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 13 /CNW/ - From September 27 to 30, former Montreal
Canadians head coach and Stanley Cup winner Jacques Demers will visit
communities in British Columbia to speak about his challenges with literacy.
Organized by the Literacy Now division of 2010 Legacies Now in partnership
with the BC Ministry of Education, the speaking tour includes stops in
Vancouver (September 27), Prince George (September 29) and Nanaimo
(September 30).
    A distinguished figure in the National Hockey League, Jacques Demers
achieved a successful career as one of the most influential hockey coaches,
general managers and TV commentators - all despite being functionally
illiterate. During the tour, Demers will share his inspirational story,
highlighting his challenges and fears during his career.
    "Jacques Demers' courage to tell his own personal story is an inspiration
to others to come forward and seek help. Literacy provides the essential
foundation for every child, family and community in B.C. to have a successful
and happy life," says Premier Gordon Campbell. "The Province is proud of this
partnership with Literacy Now and local communities to help British Columbians
reach their goals and increase their quality of life."
    Low literacy is a reality that affects 40 percent of adults in British
Columbia. Recent studies show that more than one million adult British
Columbians do not have the skills necessary to read a newspaper or to fill out
a job application, resulting in low-wage jobs with poor prospects for
advancement and decreased quality of life.
    As a well known sports personality, Demers' testimony is an important
step in bringing issues of low literacy to the forefront. Admitting to his
illiteracy in his 2005 biography, En toutes lettres (All Spelled Out), Demers'
life story will provide a message of hope and courage to British Columbians,
motivating them to seek help and upgrade their skills.
    "I have travelled to school districts around the province and heard from
adults how improved literacy levels have changed their lives," says Shirley
Bond, Minister of Education and minister responsible for early learning and
literacy. "We hope that by bringing Jacques Demers to B.C., British Columbians
will have a chance to hear his story and this will inspire them to raise
awareness about this important issue and reach out to adult learners who have
low levels of literacy."
    The tour will also support the existing work and programs of local
communities that address low literacy rates.
    "We are committed to working closely with community-based organizations
and helping expand the resources and services offered for literacy issues,"
says Brenda LeClair, Managing Director of 2010 Legacies Now. "Our goal is to
continue guiding British Columbia to being one of the best educated and most
literate provinces in Canada."
    Admission to the events is by donation and proceeds will go to the
CanWest Raise-a-Reader campaign, a national literacy initiative that supports
programs at a local level. One hundred percent of all funds raised go directly
towards local family literacy and educational programs within the community.

    Event details are as follows:

      Thursday, September 27
      7:00 pm
      St. Andrew's-Wesley Church
      1012 Nelson St. (at Burrard)

    Prince George
      Saturday, September 29
      2:00 pm
      Kin Arenas Atrium at CN Centre
      Exhibition Park, 2187 Ospika Blvd.

      Sunday, September 30
      2:00 pm
      Coast Bastion Inn
      11 Bastion Street

    Event information is available from 2010 Legacies Now at 778-327-5194 or
    Information on ReadNow BC, the province's literacy action plan aiming to
improve reading skills among British Columbians, is available at


    A toll-free literacy hotline providing British Columbians with details on
literacy programs and services.

    2010 Legacies Now

    2010 Legacies Now is a not-for-profit society that works in partnership
with community organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector
and all levels of government to develop sustainable legacies in sport and
recreation, arts, literacy and volunteerism. 2010 Legacies Now actively
assists communities to discover and create unique and inclusive social and
economic opportunities leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games.

    Literacy Now

    A division of 2010 Legacies Now, Literacy Now helps build pillars of hope
across the province by working with community leaders to create sustainable
pathways of learning for all walks of life. From oral tradition to the digital
age, Literacy Now serves to bridge the gap that separates many British
Columbians, young and old, from fully participating in their communities: at
home, at work, at school and at play.

    Jacques Demers biography attached.

For further information:

For further information: Joanne Unsworth, Director, Public Relations,
Traction Creative Communications, T: (604) 408-7040, E:
junsworth@tractioncreative.com; Karen McDonald, Director, Communications, 2010
Legacies Now, T: (778) 327-5180, E: kmcdonald@2010LegaciesNow.com

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