Karen Kawawada wins the 2008 Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit

    TORONTO, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation is pleased to
announce the winner of the 2008 Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit (PGLAM),
Karen Kawawada of the Waterloo Region Record. ABC CANADA will also present the
first ever award for a distinguished body of work to Shelagh Rogers of the
CBC. This will be in recognition of her outstanding contribution to educating
Canadians about the literacy issue.
    Karen Kawawada was selected as the 2008 recipient of the PGLAM because of
her feature story Books and Beyond, which details the challenges faced by
adult learners. The article was particularly compelling because it showed the
intergenerational impact of low literacy on families. In addition to naming
Kawawada the 2008 PGLAM recipient, ABC CANADA will make donations in her name
to The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region.
    "Before I wrote this piece I thought I knew a lot of about literacy but I
was startled to learn just how many Canadians have low literacy," said
Kawawada. "I was also honoured that people were willing to speak openly to me
about the difficulties they faced due to their literacy challenges and the
steps they have taken to overcome those challenges."
    The PGLAM was founded in 1993 in honour of the late veteran broadcaster
and journalist Peter Gzowski - a passionate champion for literacy. For the
last 15 years ABC CANADA and leaders in the media industry have selected the
recipients from entries by reporters across Canada. The PGLAM is awarded to a
journalist whose work has enhanced public understanding, support for, and
awareness of the literacy cause. The award is presented on merit and is not
necessarily presented every year. To view a list of past recipients, visit,
    "Many Canadians believe low literacy is not an issue that affects us so
it is really important that the news media challenge that perception and tell
the stories of the millions of Canadians who struggle silently," said Margaret
Eaton, President of ABC CANADA. "So it is important that journalists like
Karen Kawawada raise the issue in Canadian media so all Canadians can better
understand the issue and the stigma can be broken down."
    This year ABC CANADA will also celebrate the outstanding work of Shelagh
Rogers, who has promoted stories about literacy for more than 20 years. Rogers
picked up where Peter Gzowski left off and has helped ensure the awareness of
literacy programs across the country.
    "Shelagh has really embraced this issue by attending the PGI Golf
Tournaments for Literacy and telling the stories of adult learners on CBC
Radio One's Sounds Like Canada," said Eaton. "Thanks to one of Shelagh's
23-minute segments, Canadians across the country learnt about the importance
of literacy organizations. And because of her talent, the message was not only
clear; it made it easy for listeners to connect to the adult learner.
    Rogers will receive a special PGLAM, the Distinguished Body of Work
Award, at the ceremony for her outstanding contributions to literacy
awareness. This is the first time ABC CANADA has given this award, which
represents and acknowledges her work: past, present and future.

    About the recipients:

    Karen Kawawada has been a reporter with the Waterloo Region Record since
2004. Prior to starting at The Record, she worked for two years as a video
journalist for CBC Newsworld/Réseau d'Information's bilingual program Culture
Shock/Culture-choc. Kawawada also held summer internships at the Hamilton
Spectator and CBC Television (Toronto).

    Shelagh Rogers began her career in Kingston, Ontario and quickly joined
CBC Radio in the early 1980s. This move led to interviewing Peter Gzowski
about his fundraising for literacy. Eventually she became deputy host of
Morningside. Most recently she been the voice of the CBC's flagship show
Sounds Like Canada.

    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, atilley@abc-canada.org

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