Minister Cullen presents Literacy Award

On Thursday, October 27, Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen presented the Council of the Federation Literacy Award (COFLA) to Margaret Sutherland, retired executive director of Decoda Literacy Solutions, during a Zoom meeting with Decoda staff and literacy outreach coordinators from across the province.

“For 20 years in her career, Margaret has championed community literacy at the local, regional, provincial and national levels in a variety of roles,” said Minister Cullen. “Throughout her career, she’s affected and changed so many people’s lives helping them to gain access to the incredible world of words and more.”

“The importance of literacy has only grown in the internet age,” he added. “It is more important than ever that our fellow citizens and neighbours have the ability to discern fact from fiction, understand their world in more complete ways and engage the world through literature.”

In accepting the award, Sutherland shared her gratitude for ongoing government support, “You have to know how deeply we’ve appreciated our partnership over the years with your ministry and prior to that, with the Ministry of Education.”

“I was a young mom with three kids and a grade 10 education, so I have a really deep appreciation for the power of education and learning,” she said. “I know the profound difference this has made in my life. I didn’t go find literacy, literacy found me. It was just serendipity. I never thought I’d have a career and it ended up being such a wonderful experience.”

Sutherland was a founding staff member of Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) in 2001 and held several roles at Decoda Literacy Solutions until her retirement as executive director in September 2022.

“I’m so grateful for all the people I got to work with, learners and colleagues and partners,” she said. “Literacy work attracts really good people. People who care, they care about their people and their programs, they care about their communities. It’s important work that I think doesn’t always get recognized. I’d like to take a minute to recognize all of you and the good work that you do. Know that there is no way I’d be sitting here today without all that. So, thank you to all of you.”

Learn more about Margaret’s career in literacy in Executive director retires, wins literacy award.

About Decoda Literacy Solutions

Decoda Literacy Solutions is British Columbia’s literacy organization. Our vision is a BC where everyone has the literacy skills they need to improve their quality of life at home, at work and in the community.

Visit anytime to find online literacy resources, access the Decoda Literacy Library to borrow books by mail, read the Read All About Lit blog to stay current on literacy resources and research, find training webinars and workshops, make a donation to the Decoda Literacy Foundation or find a literacy outreach coordinator in your community on the program map.

For more information contact:

Trish Weatherall, Communications Coordinator

604-681-4199 Ext. 401

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