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Reading Together: The Impact of Literacy on Our CEO's Family

Nov. 23 2022

The holiday season is a time for reflection and connection. So, we'd like to share a story with you about the impact of literacy on the family of our president and CEO, Mélanie Valcin 

My grandfather Maurice was a coffee trader in Haiti. He could count well. He worked long hours to send his two daughters and four sons to good schools in Port-au-Prince. Later, all the children came to Canada and got an opportunity to access higher education.

My other granddad, Omer, was a farmer in Northern Quebec. He completed grade six and could read and write at a very basic level. It was a hard life, and he wanted his own six children—four daughters and two sons—to have the chance to fulfill their dreams. It was important to him that they had the option to continue in school, which he felt was the best gift he could give to his children.

Reading together—A gift that lasts a lifetime

My parents, understanding the importance of literacy in their own lives, took my sisters and I on daily adventures through the magic of books and bedtime stories. These precious rituals made a lasting impact on me.

I am now the lucky mom of two teenagers. Being a single parent has not always been easy. In difficult moments, at the end of long days, I always knew where to turn to find inner peace: reading to—and with—my children. Having the privilege of a well-stocked bookshelf and the reading skills to continue the tradition of bedtime stories is the most priceless gift I have shared with them.

When you help a child build strong literacy skills, you are showing them that you believe in their future. Your support of United for Literacy is vital to our success.

Because of you, more children will get homework help; more adults will get the support they need to continue their education; and more families will read together. Keep reading to find out about how one mom shared a love of reading—and volunteering—with her family and community.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I hope you’ll help more children find the simple joy of reading by donating to United for Literacy. You can donate by calling 1-800-555-6523 or by clicking donate.

Together, we can make a real difference and offer the most impactful gift to all children and families in this country: strong literacy skills leading to a bright future, one word at a time.

Donating to United for Literacy Makes an Impact

Let me tell you about Lina’s family. Lina—a newcomer to Canada—joined one of our
programs in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where she learned to read books to children in her
neighbourhood; a skill she continued to develop as a volunteer at one of our Reading
Circles for families. Two of the children she read to were her own little ones, Maryam and Mohammed. Maryam was just six years old when she started accompanying
her mom to the reading program. By the time she was 14, she was volunteering, too, bringing books to life for younger children—just as she’d seen her mom do for so many years!

For the last two summers, Maryam worked with us as a Reading Tent coordinator in Sherbrooke, inspiring the next generation of readers. Maryam is now 18 years old.
We’re proud to say that she grew up with our organization.

And Mohammed? This past year, the same little boy who sat on Lina’s knee all those
years ago signed up to read to the neighbourhood kids. Just like his sister, he’s passing
down his mom’s gift of reading together.

We love hearing about, and sharing the stories of, families, like Lina's, who have enjoyed United for Literacy's programs and gone on to share their skills and love of reading with others. 

Click here to donate to United for Literacy.


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