A keen interest in Adult Literacy prompted Salmon Arm resident Ev Painter to make a $10,000 contribution to Shuswap Community Foundation to further Adult Literacy in our community. Ev says she hopes her gift will encourage others to make contributions.

Born in Saskatchewan, Ev and her husband, Harold, retired to Salmon Arm in 1989. Sadly, Harold died one year later. Ev spent 28 years working in CID for the Regina City Police. She was involved with the Police Boys’ Band and sporting activities, especially golf. In Salmon Arm she enjoys golf as well as cross-country skiing and gardening. She says her interest in Adult Literacy began when she observed in her early school years how some students, who could neither read nor write, were passed on to the next grade. “How did this happen”, she asks.

Ev took a six-week instructor’s course for Adult Literacy and began to assist adults who wanted to learn to read and write. She notes that the Adult Literacy in Regina was not run through the university but through the library’s “Learning Centre.” She said students preferred to meet instructors at the Centre because they wanted privacy. She admits getting involved with a project such as this found her learning more about herself as her regard for these adults, and what they accomplished, grew. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It gives me great satisfaction,” she states.

Although she assisted many adults a few stand out as “cherishable stories.” She recalls a man who had worked for a large bakery company for 37 years. “He was 57 when he retired and started to study because he was going to apply for a bartending license.” Ev says she was overwhelmed by the task facing this man. “It was difficult for him. Those who can’t read and write have excellent memories…even the shape of a letter. He used a lot of mental labour his whole life.” She remembers a woman who admitted she had to take labels off canned foods at home and then take them to the store to see if she could match the product. One day, anticipating canned peaches, the family discovered she had brought home yams instead. “They were able to laugh,” Ev says.