Community literacy at our House

An image of people gathered at a table, connecting on their digital devices, and divided by a rainbow overlay, with a ripple effect in the centre reading "Literacy Roundtable"

The Literacy Roundtable partners have collaborated online since the beginning of COVID-19, to help neighbours in need stay connected with their learning goals and social circles.

Celebrating Literacy Month in BC this September!

The importance of community literacy during COVID-19 is widely recognized by our community members and partners—especially online digital literacy, during a time when it’s been more challenging for us to connect in person.

Literacy Roundtable

We saw a great attendance from a wide range of partners at our initial re-launch of the Literacy Roundtable and sustained participation by partners through the last few months. From conversations in our meetings, and energy around follow-up task groups and activities, we see that partners understand the intersection of literacy with their work and are recognizing that addressing literacy needs in the community has an important ripple effect in each of our organizations’ goals.

What is the Digital Divide? Learn more from the Digital Divide Council.

With the contributions of partners from elementary and high schools, local City of Vancouver community centres, the Vancouver Public Library, the Hastings Park Learning Centre and the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, we were able to identify that at least 177 families in our neighbourhood did not have the digital access needed to connect to online learning and other important online resources.

Elise Barber (Literacy Roundtable Coordinator and Kiwassa Neighbourhood House’s Community Engagement & Learning Coordinator) has been collaborating behind the scenes to connect community partners to provide neighbours with resources to help them stay socially connected, and continue learning while staying at home.

Computers for community members

We gathered information on potential sources for refurbished, donated or purchased computers and were able to gather, purchase and request more than 60 devices to distribute to the community members in need. The gap still exists and will need continued attention moving forward, but through our coordinated efforts we were able to work effectively to research and mobilize community support to help more than 60 families connect digitally during this challenging time.


One of the learners who benefited from the Raise-a-Reader desktops is also involved with our after-school one-to-one tutoring program. She and her mom and sister are newcomers and live in the supportive housing facility that Kiwassa runs next door to the Neighbourhood House. They are supported by our settlement staff and find great support through Kiwassa.

An image of a daughter hugging her mom as she works on the computer

This learner is an active and vibrant young person who always challenges her tutors to keep up with her energy and creativity. Her mom was delighted to hear that we were gifting her the computer. With the computer, this learner and her family will now be able to access a wide range of learning opportunities to engage in reading, storytelling, school assignments, language learning and more. We are very excited to see where this computer takes the family on their learning and settlement journey.

#LiteracyMatters Contest

Our partners at Decoda Literacy know that literacy matters more than ever, and are hosting a #LiteracyMatters contest online.

Literacy matters to me because…
Community members are encouraged to get creative! Write a tweet, a post, a letter, a story, or a poem. Submit a photo, a sketch or a video. Any format is welcome.

Submit entries at, or post on social media with the hashtags #LiteracyMatters and #PutOnYourPurple. Find more contest details on the Decoda website.

Share your neighbourhood stories

Would you like us to consider sharing your good-news stories from the neighbourhood? We’re collecting stories and photos to inspire people in the community to connect in creative ways.