Youth Literacy Receives Year- End Boost from CMR, Gore Mutual

Mark Young of Gore Mutual , Harvey McFadden , Ryan Craig of CMR
Mark Young of Gore Mutual , Harvey McFadden , Ryan Craig of CMR

Goodwill towards youth struggling with literacy just got a great big boost from Hanover’s CMR and Gore Mutual Insurance. These organizations partnered to contribute $2500 to the South Grey Bruce Youth Literacy Council.

gore mutual logoCMR logo


Local individuals are also contributing to Youth Literacy’s “150 for 150” campaign for 2017, in which supporters are asked to contribute $12.50 a month or a one-time donation of $150, to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial.

The contributions help Youth Literacy continue the services it has offered since 1989, matching matched screened, trained tutors for one-on-one sessions with students 6-18 who are struggling with literacy skills – reading, writing and math – as well as a learning resource centre, drama workshops and special events for students and adult allies. In January, Youth Literacy staff and volunteers will help secondary students study and prepare for final projects and exams through a partnership with Hanover’s Launchpad.

email for more information.

Winners of the 9th Annual Poetry & Short Story Contest

We’re pleased to announce the following winners in the 9th Annual Poetry and Short Story Writing Contest for Youth:

Sabrina Ruetz, Poetry, English
Alessandro Hussey, Poetry, English
Shiloh Newton, Poetry, English
Laryssa Bolek, Short Story, English


Their winning entries are below!

Giant be Silent, by Sabrina Ruetz

“Shh,” said the teacher,
“Shh,” said the creature.

You must be quiet they said to me
You must quiet as can be.

You are not quiet, when you pound
You are not quiet, make no sound

Why must I not make a sound?
Why am I not allowed to pound?

All of us are trying to sleep
So you must not make a peep.

You must not pound
or make a sound.

You must be quiet as can be
You must be quiet they said to me.

Silence Falls, by Alessandro Hussey

outdoors in the winter
snow is falling on red leaves
a wolf howls
          a red sound
in the dark world
    of winter
    a wolf howls again
in the white and red woods
Then silence falls.

SILENT, by Shiloh Newton

I hide behind my hair,
so no one can see my face,
Silent, never to make a sound.

They speak to me,
but I cannot speak back.

I stay in silence.
I cannot say how I feel.

I am silence.

I am silent,silent,
silent forever.

‘Silence’ by Laryssa Bolek

She came to this place every day -where the forest thicket met the soggy river bed-, to sit in contemplation under the awakening twilight. She would listen to songs by the frogs, the locusts, the chorus echoing down from the canopy above and the skittering footsteps of little animals. From where she hailed from remained a mystery to the boy and only fed his curiosity. He would watch her, from in the shadows of the cabin painted with earth, that the wild seemed to claim more and more with the passing of every new moon. And yet he stayed there, was it stubbornness? Familiarity? It held nothing for him now, except the spark of seeing the young girl wait on the mossy bed, in the clutches of nature, for something to come. Again, the curiosity ate away at the small boy’s frail bones. He wanted so dearly to step out the door, and what…..speak to her? If he could, what would he say? Would he ask for her name? No, a name does not define who a person is, rather it’s simply just another title. Perhaps he would ask her what she was waiting for, or where she came from or something else entirely, what she thought of the world above. But it did not matter, he was forever living a life in silence. On the contrary, this day was different. The girl with raven hair and eyes mirroring a stormy sky did not come. The forest clearing seemed hollow, void of her magickal presence. Even the animals and the wild sensed her vacancy, singing nothing at all. Thus, this was the first day the sky opened to release the rain. So he sat in his wooden chair with three legs, scratching away at the windowsill. He’d create mountains, great tall pines and even dragonflies with the edge of his only possession, a copper coin. Though the most prominent drawing in the rotting wood was a single word that repeated itself, crawling up the wall into the infinite space above, ‘speak’. The boy was finishing the last stick in the letter K when he glanced up. Even over his scratching, he could hear the tears rolling off the girl’s sad face. There she sat, elbows upon knees, giving in to the shadows of sorrow. Something deep inside the boy awoke, lifting him from the chair and carrying him out the door that laid ajar. He’d have to comfort her, but without using words. So he took the quivering girl into his arms and lifted his chin to the growing light above. The boy felt his back expand, becoming a fitting home to large feathered wings. Digging his toes into the soft earth, he pushed upwards, leaving behind the confinement of the cabin, the magick of the wilderness and the sorrow of her pool of tears, taking the girl to a place promising joy. As the world fell away and the clouds opened up, the girl lifted her head, a new light shining through her eyes. ‘Thank you, you’ve freed me’, she said. Silence then had a whole new meaning.

9th Annual Poetry & Short Story Writing Contest for Youth – Silence

In partnership with Words Aloud we’re pleased to announce our 9th Annual Youth Writing Competition – the theme this year is “Silence”. The deadline for entry is October 28th, 2016. Click on the poster below for more information or download the entry form and rules.

The young visual artists can design a “Silence” themed bookmark and enter our second Children and Youth Bookmark Contest! There will be two categories, junior (ages 6-12) and senior (13-18) and the deadline for entry is October 28th, 2016. Download the contest template and rules for more information.


Fall Drama Workshops

Drama Workshops
If you’re 8-17 years old and like performing,we want you!

You get:

  • 8 free improv workshops led by an experienced performer
  • improv and presentation skills
  • a chance to perform in front of an audience

8 weeks

4:00—5:00/5:30 pm
JEST Arts Club
148 Garafraxa St N, Durham

Terms start every 8 weeks – next session starts September 12

If you’re in Grade 8+, check out our sessions at JDSS in Hanover.

The Instructorjennyparsons
Jenny Parsons is a respected local performing and visual artist and director. Jenny co-wrote and performed in six original revues at Toronto’s Second City, one of an internationally respected collection of improv theatres.

On TV, she has appeared on Wingin’ It and her movie credits including Hairspray , Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Pushing Tin. She and partner Steve Morel are creators of the the Oddville Stage Company, produced the feature film, The Oddville Picture Show. They created and performed Ghosts of Grey County with student and volunteer workshop participants for the Family Program of the Words Aloud festival in 2015, and host a variety of area fundraisers and special events. Jenny has her Ontario Teachers’ certification and is also an activist and writer in West Grey.

Jenny is joined by screened and trained adult and teen volunteers to support participants in these sessions.

Youth Literacy Offers Drama Workshops, Tutoring and Help for Families

SGBYLC_Logo_250x250HANOVER, Ontario (August 22, 2016) – Youth Literacy’s gearing up for a new year of support for area children and youth.

Performance artist Jenny Parsons will again serve as field co-ordinator for the drama workshop program called Literacy on its Feet – Drama, originally funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Jenny, whose background includes strong ties with Toronto’s Second City and an impressive history in local performing and visual arts, works with youth literacy staff and both adult and teen volunteers to deliver the eight-session series for children and youth. Classes begin September 19th at JEST Arts Studio, 148-1 Garafraxa St in Durham. Pre-registration required through the Youth Literacy office in Hanover or online at

But that’s not all. Since 1989, Youth Literacy has matched screened, trained tutors for one-on-one sessions with students 6-18 who are struggling with literacy skills – reading, writing and math – and those match-ups continue again this year. There’s also a resource centre, which offers books, games, puzzles and learning aids free of charge to anyone in the South Grey Bruce area (with users from as far north as Owen Sound). The Head, Heart & Hands conference, featuring experts in education, child development and the arts, is part of Youth Literacy’s special events programming, and has been moved to October 15th to accommodate the many requests of those who had conflicting summer plans.

Youth Literacy’s writing competition this year is open to Grades 4 to 6 in both English and French. The theme is “Silence”, which is also the theme for the bookmark competition, with both junior and senior categories. New this year is a non-fiction essay competition for juniors (Grades 7-8) and seniors (Grades 9-12) on the theme of “My Childhood Home”, which requires students to interview an older member of the community and capture that information in 500 – 1000 words (depending on grade category). Deadlines for all competitions is October 28th. Cash and book prizes will be awarded in each category.

The winners of the competitions will be announced at the Words Aloud Family Program, on Saturday November 12 at the Royal Jubilee Hall in Walkerton. The production is The Silent B and will feature participants and leaders of Youth Literacy’s drama program – so, full circle…

All to reach the many children and youth in the area who are struggling with literacy skills or who want a chance to demonstrate the benefits of literacy.

Interested in attending or volunteering? Call SGB Youth Literacy 519-364-0008 or email for more information.

Kimm Culkin