2002 Canada Post Literacy Awards winners announced

How valuable is the ability to transform signs and characters into words and sentences? While many Canadians take these skills for granted, the winners of this yearÔÇÖs Canada Post Literacy Awards know first-hand the personal and economic value of literacy.

To Earl Atwater (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.), Brigitte B├®land of Grand-M├¿re, Qu├®., and Normand Richard, of Mont Carmel Wellington, P.E.I., the value of literacy is reflected in their improved career prospects and ability to communicate with their family. For educator Janet Skinner, from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Nfld. and Lab., literacy holds its value as the key to the life-long journey of learning. And for the dedicated people of Kingston (Ont.) Literacy and the Richmond (B.C.) Public Library, the belief that every residentÔÇÖs literacy is of direct benefit to their community is a driving force behind their work. These literacy champions are among those being honoured with this yearÔÇÖs Canada Post Literacy Awards.

Thirty-four winners of the 2002 Canada Post Literacy Awards, from every region in the country, were announced on August 27, 2002. The awards are given in four categories ÔÇô Individual Achievement, Educator, Community Leadership and Business Leadership. They showcase the efforts of hundreds of Canadians who have personal knowledge of, or recognize and support, the extraordinary value of literacy.

The Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA) supports the Literacy Awards. CCNA encourages its members to run a Public Service Announcement attached to this story in support of the awards. There is space in the ad mat for membersÔÇÖ names or logos.

ÔÇ£We are celebrating the 10th year of Canada PostÔÇÖs Literacy Awards. And, even after this time, the incredible effort and dedication of each nominee inspires us,ÔÇØ said Alain Guilbert, vice-president of Communications. ÔÇ£Positive public awareness plays an important part in addressing the problem of illiteracy, a role that Canada Post is proud to undertake, and this yearÔÇÖs winners will inspire everyone who becomes aware of their successes,ÔÇØ he added.

The Winners

Individual Achievement:

Due to family demands, Earl AtwaterÔÇÖs (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) early education stopped at grade one. It wasnÔÇÖt until he was 70 years old that he was able to enrol in adult literacy classes. Six years later, Earl is writing stories for a weekly newspaper and his children say the letters their dad writes to them are priceless.

A severe hearing disability hampered Brigitte B├®landÔÇÖs efforts at school. As an adult she felt isolated and suffered from a lack of confidence. Full of determination, she has now earned a diploma in accounting. Today, Brigitte works in electronics and views her future with great optimism.

Suffering from a visual impairment detected late in life, Normand Richard had to manage by memorizing everything. After working 30 years in a gas station, he is now learning office work and is very proud of the new direction his career has taken.

Other winners of this yearÔÇÖs Individual Literacy Achievement Awards [English] are Angie Oman (Kamloops, BC), Clayton O. Nepinak (Swan River, MB), Christine Galbraith (Saint John, NB), Kelly Lambert (Shoal Harbour, NF), Patricia A. Connors (Truro, NS), Ernestine Lafferty (Yellowknife, NT), Morgan Canning (Peterborough, ON), Rosemarie Wood (Borden, PE), Fred A. Lyons (Melocheville, QC), Lynda Richards (Swift Current , SK) and Gerd Sutter (Mayo, YK).

Other winners of this yearÔÇÖs Individual Literacy Achievement Awards[French] are Lucille Ducharme (Saint-Laurent, MB), Philippe Morin (Saint-L├®onard, NB) and Th├®r├¿se Berthier-Faucher (Shumacher, ON).

Community Leadership:

Approaching its 25th anniversary, the non-profit Kingston Literacy organization operates an urban learning centre, a Family Literacy Centre, and two rural li