KidsFirst NORTH is the recipient of the 2022 Council of the Federation Literacy Award (COFLA) in Saskatchewan.
The non-profit, community-based organization provides a variety of family literacy programming to support children in getting a good start in life. The award was announced on Sept. 7.
"It's an honour to receive this year's Council of the Federation Literacy Award. We believe that if literacy opportunities are widely introduced in the first five years of a child's life, it will have a profound impact on their future," KidsFirst NORTH Program Manager Rebecca Clark said.
"We strive to incorporate literacy of all types into our programming for the early years, recognizing the uniqueness of the north and the culturally-based resources available here."
KidsFirst NORTH was nominated for their exceptional work in supporting literacy in Northern Saskatchewan. They were a key player in the establishment of the first Northern Family Literacy Hub. The hub provides families with access to culturally appropriate early literacy activities and programming. KidsFirst NORTH continues to provide oversight to the hub.
"We are happy to recognize KidsFirst NORTH for the meaningful work they do," Education Minister Dustin Duncan said in a release.
"KidsFirst NORTH uses family literacy programming to strengthen families and support children in Saskatchewan's north."
At the height of the pandemic, KidsFirst NORTH provided almost 700 families with story sacks connected to the Indigenous Seven Sacred Teachings of love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth. Literacy carnivals were held in 11 communities and included activities such as rhyming, Elder storytelling, book readings, using technology and puppet theatre performances.
The recipient of this annual award is chosen by an independent three-member panel who reviewed the submitted nominations.
An event will be held later this fall to celebrate this honour and KidsFirst NORTH will be presented with a certificate, medallion and a monetary prize.
The COFLA was created in 2004 by Canada's Premiers to recognize outstanding achievement, innovation and excellence in literacy in each of Canada's provinces and territories.
The award has been presented annually since 2005 in each province and territory.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald