#LiteracyIs: Adult Learner Successes from CBAL

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is the Basin and Boundary’s only not-for-profit literacy organization, working in 77 communities across south-eastern British Columbia.

In May 2024, CBAL launched its #LiteracyIs campaign, focusing on adult literacy and the impact of community adult literacy programs.

Desneiges Profili, CBAL Executive Director, said, “I have been with CBAL for 17 years, and it has been inspiring to witness the growth of many adults who have participated in our programs. The stories highlighted in our adult #LiteracyIs campaign are examples of everyday learners who have benefitted from our free literacy programs across the Columbia Basin and Boundary. Adult literacy programs provide people with tangible skills they need to thrive at work and in life. These skills have a profound impact on their lives. This work is significant, and we are grateful to the numerous funders and local supporters who continue to value and support literacy and learning.”



Watch the videos and read the stories that showcase and celebrate the literacy journeys of some of CBAL’s adult learners.

What adult #LiteracyIs

What is adult literacy? It’s much more than just reading and writing.

Find out what it means to CBAL staff.


Ashlyn’s inspiring Young Parents’ Education Program experience

Ashlyn, a young mother from Cranbrook, faced numerous challenges in school. Despite not graduating from high school, she didn’t give up on getting an education.

After the birth of her daughter, she enrolled in CBAL’s Young Parents’ Education Program (YPEP) where she completed an Adult Upgrading program and gained parenting skills.

Today Ashlyn is pursuing her dream of becoming a welder through College of the Rockies’ Women in Trades program!


Paulina overcomes learning barriers

Paulina was adopted from Bulgaria at the age of two, into an incredible family in Nelson. She was born with a cerebral bleed, impacting the literacy part of her brain, making learning and school extremely challenging. Paulina has been a CBAL learner since she was 19. Now, at age 33, Paulina has been taking part in the Adult Learner 1-1 sessions with CBAL for 14 years, and has found her voice, her inner confidence, and the ability to work through tough situations.


Roseleeta’s digital journey

Roseleeta came to CBAL for support in applying for her Canadian Citizenship. With limited computer skills, navigating the complex forms, and understanding what was required of her was challenging. The CBAL team in Fernie helped her gain the computer skills she needed and today Roseleeta is working on getting her Office Administration Certificate!


Gordon and Mary’s ongoing learning boosts skills and confidence

Gordon and Mary Bruce are lifelong learners! Watch the video to hear their story about how participating in CBAL’s adult literacy programs boosted their skills and confidence and provided them with a local learning community right in Balfour.


Thedy improves English skills for more career opportunities

Meet Thedy an adult learner originally from Indonesia who now lives in Kimberley. Once a week, Thedy gets together with a CBAL tutor to improve his English writing and reading skills to help him expand his employment opportunities. Watch the video for Thedy’s story and what adult literacy means to him.


Cheryl’s story from learner to volunteer

When Cheryl started attending tech support sessions, she had no idea that she was also on a path to becoming a CBAL volunteer. Discover what inspired her to contribute her time and energy to CBAL and what the experience has meant to her.


A new home for Oleksander

Oleksander and his family moved to Canada from Ukraine in 2023. Learning a new language, looking for employment and getting a handle on Canadian culture was a challenge. Find out how they navigated settling in the Windermere Valley.

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is one of the BC literacy organizations that Decoda supports with funding, training and resources.


Did you know?

  • In Canada, 5 out of 10 adults do not have the desired levels of literacy to be fully successful in today’s world. – United for Literacy
  • In British Columbia, 45% of adults between 16 and 65 may have difficulty understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals, or reading health information. – Decoda Literacy Solutions.
  • Raising literacy levels could create 800,000 more jobs in Canada. – Economist Craig Alexander
  • “Literacy is more than the ability to read and write. It’s the ability to understand and use a wide range of materials to engage fully in activities and opportunities at home, at work, and in the community. Literacy enables people to meet their goals and succeed in today’s world.” – United for Literacy
  • Decoda publishes The Westcoast Reader newspaper, written at three reading levels, to help learners develop reading and language skills.

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