Grand Forks’ Bethany Thate said she and her children Maggie, Jade, Sebastian and Willson, developed strong community ties through reading programs by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, CBAL. (Photo by Phoenix Photography, submitted by Bethany Thate)

Grand Forks family develops community ties through CBAL reading programs

Mom Bethany Thate said CBAL’s adult programming has paid off at her city business

A Grand Forks mom and small business owner is grateful to a local non-profit she says brought her family closer to their surrounding community through reading and song.

Bethany Thate and her husband Tyler put their four kids through Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) programs which brought the kids to seniors’ homes and led them through special bake-offs with moms and dads.

Meanwhile, Thate said she’d taken math upgrades through CBAL which helped her run her city shop where she makes arts and crafts and teaches people how to make wooden signs.

Bethany Thate, left, and husband Tyler, right, have put their four children through a host of reading programs offered by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, CBAL. (Submitted by Bethany Thate)

READ MORE: Family literacy with CBAL: learning and growing stronger together

“If it wasn’t for the upgrade, I wouldn’t be the business owner that I am today.”

“But without CBAL’s reading programs, I don’t think my kids and I would have made the connections we have in this community.”

The Thates recently had their daughters, four-year-old Jade and 18-month-old Maggie through CBAL’s Granny Goose program at the Boundary Lodge seniors’ centre.

“It was great for my girls and it was great way to check in with the seniors. Jade read stories at circle-time and then we all sang songs and ate snacks.”

Thate looked back fondly on a simpler time, before the pandemic, when the girls got to hand out flowers to seniors last fall.

READ MORE: Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

Jade and Maggie later helped mom bake hearty meals at CBAL’s Alphabet Soup, where Thate explained kids read stories about fruits and vegetables parents then made into soups and muffins.

All her children are shaping up to be avid readers, Thate added.

“When I take my girls shopping, they’re definitely asking a lot more questions about words they see in the store.”

It was at CBAL’s Together to Learn that Thate was able to brush up on her fractions and decimals while staff read her kids stories.

“That was huge!” she exclaimed.

Thate said her boys, eight-year-old Willson (with two ‘l’s) and seven-year-old Sebastian had just as much fun with CBAL programs when they were younger, but the boys now insist they’re “too big for that stuff!”

Black Press is a proud annual sponsor of CBAL’s Reacher a Reader – Books for Kids fundraiser. This year’s campaign won’t feature community events due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The alliance will be raising money by selling Blue Sky socks at its offices and at participating businesses across southeastern B.C. CBAL is asking interested donors to visit the organization’s website at


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Adult EducationEducationGrand ForksSmall Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The last forum before the election on Saturday focused on health care.
Boundary-Similkameen candidates talk health care over digital forum

The Support Our Health Care Society hosted the forum

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue were called out to a South Ruckle cabine where a homeless man had been using a portable stove to keep warm. Photo courtesy of Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché
Firefighters discover man using a portable stove to keep warm inside South Ruckle cabin

Mayor Taylor said he was “ashamed” the city didn’t prepared an emergency shelter before Friday’s snow

Grand Forks’ Electric’s Sam Raybould eyes the powerline next to the Gazette’s office on 2nd St. Friday morning, Oct. 23. Crews were able to restore power by around noon. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Fallen branch knocks out power across much of Grand Forks

Power was knocked out by a fallen tree limb near City Park, said city official

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

The riding of Boundary-Similkameen has been held by the B.C. Liberals since 2009. (File image)
Past elections showed Liberal support in Boundary-Similkameen

Since 2009, riding has been represented by Liberal MLAs

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read