A Victoria-based writer society was announced on Tuesday the recipient of B.C.’s 2020 Council of the Federation Literacy Award for innovative leadership in literacy.
The province announced the Story Studio Writing Society would be receiving the award in recognition of the non-profit organization’s work in educating and empowering youth through storytelling.
“Storytelling is a valuable outlet that provides youth with the opportunity of self-reflection, expression and connection,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.
“[Story Studio Writing Society] are having a positive impact by helping British Columbians, especially youth, to build their literacy skills, so they have the tools they need to succeed.”
The Council of the Federation Literacy Award is presented in each province and territory and celebrates outstanding achievement and innovative practice in literacy.
The recipient receives a certificate signed by Premier John Horgan, a Council of the Federation Literacy Award medallion and $500.
Story Studio Writing Society was launched in 2011 and facilitates programming between children of all ages and authors and illustrators.
The Society produces around 1,500 youth-authored books annually and has worked with nearly 10,000 young people over their nine year history.
The province says that the society also recognizes marginalized or lower-income family needs by focusing 80 per cent of its programming on supporting and engaging vulnerable youth.
Story Studio also partners with the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL), Royal BC Museum, and Victoria, Saanich and Sooke school districts.
Some innovative programs the Society has also run include a mentorship program through GVPL, and a series of online workshops for immigrant mothers new to B.C., who will each create a short story they can read to their children.
The timing of the award’s announcement coincides with International Literacy Day on September 8, founded by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1966.
“Stories help us process the present and imagine the future,” said Sarah Tarnopolsky, board chair, Story Studio.
“Given the challenges our communities face, it’s now more important than ever for youth to be given the skills and space to tell their stories. That’s what Story Studio is here to do.”