Telling Tales presents $12,000 to local literacy organizations

The Telling Tales Festival is a one-day event, combined with a yearlong commitment to promoting literacy and inspiring a love of reading. One way we do this is by donating back to local literacy organizations. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to give $12,000 back to literacy projects within our community,” says Susan Jasper, Telling Tales Festival Chair & Founder. “These organizations are important literacy resources in the Hamilton community and each have played an active role in building and supporting our festival.”

Since 2009 Telling Tales has raised just over $99,000 for literacy projects in our community! The Telling Tales Festival relies on the generosity of sponsors and donors. After all the operating costs are covered, a portion of the remaining funds are donated back into community literacy initiatives.

Each year a committee of Rotarians review funding proposals. The Committee is comprised of representatives from Rotary Clubs that support at the Silver and Gold sponsorship level. This year they included Rotary Club of Burlington Central, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore, Rotary Club of Dundas, Rotary Club of Dundas Valley Sunrise, Rotary Club of Hamilton, Rotary Club of Hamilton A.M., and Rotary Club of Waterdown.

We’re pleased to announce that the recipients of this year’s literacy funding are:

Early Literacy Hamilton’s “Read to your Baby” program: $5,200

With the Read to Your Baby initiative a book is given to new parents at their child’s 18-month enhanced well-baby visit, by a doctor or health practitioner, along with a “prescription” to read with their child daily and an invitation to get their child a library card. These funds will help provide infrastructure support so the program can move into the next phase and expand from 150 physician offices to over 400.

“We know that a passion for learning begins at birth and is driven by the interest and attention of parents, but we also know that parents need to be encouraged to take an active role in literacy development,” explains Kim Burns, Chair of Early Literacy Hamilton. “The Read to Your Baby project is working to prepare Hamilton’s youngest children to succeed in life by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.”

From left to right: Jacqui Murray, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Evette Sauriol, Chair of the Read to Your Baby Program; Kim Burns, Chair of Early Literacy Hamilton; and Janet Lucas, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore.

From left to right: Jacqui Murray, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Evette Sauriol, Chair of the Read to Your Baby Program; Kim Burns, Chair of Early Literacy Hamilton; and Janet Lucas, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore.

Rotary Summer Literacy Program: $5,000

The Rotary Summer Literacy Program focuses on literacy development of at-risk youth in Hamilton. Based out of the Wever Hub, it acts as a bridge over the summer months to provide these children an opportunity to develop literacy skills. The funding will be used to continue to offer 200 additional sessions of camp for program participants.

“This year we hope to provide over 2,000 primary/junior students in high needs communities and around the city with a dynamic full day, five week summer program operated in the inner city,” says Robert Blunsdon, Program Director of the Rotary Summer Literacy Program. “Our program is designed to engage, enrich, educate and excite, creating a truly special summer learning experience for one and all.”

From left to right: Rosemary Knechtel, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Marvin Caplan, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Robert Blunsdon, Program Director of the Rotary Summer Literacy Program and his children Lucas and Allison; and Joan Bell, Rotary Club of Dundas.

From left to right: Rosemary Knechtel, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Marvin Caplan, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Robert Blunsdon, Program Director of the Rotary Summer Literacy Program and his children Lucas and Allison; and Joan Bell, Rotary Club of Dundas.

Hamilton Literacy Council: $1,800

The Hamilton Literacy Council has been helping adults with low literacy to improve their skills for over 40 years. Funds will be used to offer special parent outreach workshops.

“We have a program delivery site in the Code Red area of Hamilton, where literacy rates are lowest, high school dropout rates are highest and poverty is no stranger,” explains Helen McLeod, Executive Director of the Hamilton Literacy Council. “Plans are well underway to offer “Home to School” parent literacy workshops and basic computer workshops designed to give parents the literacy and digital technology skills they need to become more involved in their child’s learning.”

From left to right: Peter Thoem, Rotary Club of Burlington Central; Helen McLeod, Executive Director of the Hamilton Literacy Council; and Marie Robbins, Rotary Club of Hamilton.

From left to right: Peter Thoem, Rotary Club of Burlington Central; Helen McLeod, Executive Director of the Hamilton Literacy Council; and Marie Robbins, Rotary Club of Hamilton.

From left to right: Mark Tharme, Muse Marketing Group; Judy Boswell, Muse Marketing Group; Paul Takala, Hamilton Public Library; Melanie Southern, Hamilton Public Library; Karen Anderson, Hamilton Public Library; Robert Blunsdon, Rotary Summer Literacy Program; Naomi Brun, Hamilton Public Library; Rosemary Knechtel, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Susan Jasper, Telling Tales Founder; Marvin Caplan, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Peter Thoem, Rotary Club of Burlington Central; Jacqui Murray, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Laura Lukasik, Hamilton Public Library; Evette Sauriol, Read to Your Baby Chair; Lita Barrie, Hamilton Public Library; Kim Burns, Early Literacy Hamilton; Joan Bell, Rotary Club of Dundas; Janet Lucas, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Donna Millard, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board; Marie Robbins, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Anne Bermingham, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Kelly Russell, Telling Tales Festival Coordinator; Joanna Williams, Telling Tales Festival PR Manager; and Helen McLeod, Hamilton Literacy Council.

From left to right: Mark Tharme, Muse Marketing Group; Judy Boswell, Muse Marketing Group; Paul Takala, Hamilton Public Library; Melanie Southern, Hamilton Public Library; Karen Anderson, Hamilton Public Library; Robert Blunsdon, Rotary Summer Literacy Program; Naomi Brun, Hamilton Public Library; Rosemary Knechtel, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Susan Jasper, Telling Tales Founder; Marvin Caplan, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Peter Thoem, Rotary Club of Burlington Central; Jacqui Murray, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Laura Lukasik, Hamilton Public Library; Evette Sauriol, Read to Your Baby Chair; Lita Barrie, Hamilton Public Library; Kim Burns, Early Literacy Hamilton; Joan Bell, Rotary Club of Dundas; Janet Lucas, Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore; Donna Millard, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board; Marie Robbins, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Anne Bermingham, Rotary Club of Hamilton; Kelly Russell, Telling Tales Festival Coordinator; Joanna Williams, Telling Tales Festival PR Manager; and Helen McLeod, Hamilton Literacy Council.