Seeds of Literacy program garners rave reviews

ST. MARY’S – The early reviews of St. Mary’s Seeds of Literacy program are in and, according to at least one resident, the municipality may have a runaway bestseller on its hands, thanks to coordinator Sonia Morgan.

“She is amazing,” says Goshen resident Laurie Anne Chisholm, who attended a recent event at the local community centre last month. “She just has so many great ideas and she’s so willing to help us do everything we can.”

Morgan got the job running the mobile literacy program, targeted at children and families in small communities across the district, after applying to a posting by St. Mary’s Community Development and Recreation Department last fall.

“To see the kids’ faces is the most valuable thing I get out of this,” Morgan says. “They absolutely love the program. They have fun, laugh, get creative and get active.”

While the kids couldn’t make it to Goshen last month, Chisholm says the seniors who did had a blast. “The last day that Sonia came, it was really windy and rainy. And a lot of people said they couldn’t show up. But, you know, she was really good, getting everything up and going for the seniors — with games and stuff like that.”

Morgan — who is a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo — says she has “a huge passion for reading and an understanding of how the large geographic area of the municipality can impact youth programming,” adding that her physical education background lends “uniqueness to this role as [people] can become active as part of the program.”

She says, “There is a lot of coordination that goes into the program during the work week. This includes scheduling, communicating, marketing and equipment management. Each Saturday, I take the program out to a different community with books, crafts, games and fitness. This includes setting up books, games — including cards, puzzles, math dominos and more — fitness stations and craft stations with colouring, and other craft projects.”

According to Kerri Jack, St. Mary’s Community Development and Recreation Director, mobile programs such as this are common in rural communities determined to remove barriers to participation.

She says, “Our Seeds program has grown throughout it’s time being offered. What started strictly as a way to make literacy support available has spread to include literacy in different areas, including physical literacy and nature literacy. When children attend, they get an opportunity to learn, explore and have fun.”

As for the future, Jack says, “The municipality conducts occasional internal reviews of all programs to ensure their efficacy. Staff will be looking at this program … for any improvements and its potential extension.”

That’s fine by Morgan, who says: “I would love to see program attendance grow so that more children can enjoy it.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal