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I Love Folk U
General News · 31st May 2019
Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Cortes Literacy Now -  year in review.

In just one year’s time, Folk University went from conception to a reality that’s helped neighbours share their interests and passions in dozens of ways. Founded by Cortes Literacy Now, Folk University was responsible for 33 Folk U Friday sessions plus one field trip, 30+ youth literature clubs, 10 hand work days, 8 all-island book clubs, 5 Wildcrafting classes (done in conjunction with CCHA and Children’s Forest), a CKTZ partnership to bring Folk U Friday interviews to the radio, two in-depth workshops, and one prom.

All of that—including paying island speakers and all operations— was made possible with a $6,000 grant from Decoda Literacy Solutions that Cortes Literacy Now and the Cortes Island School manages. Additional grants and contributions from Cortes Senior Society and Linnaea Farm Society helped to pay the rent and support a space for these activities.

Cortes Literacy Now with support from CCHA and Linnaea Farm also provided more seed grant dollars than ever before to further the mission of building community through literacy activities. This year saw the onset of Queer & Allies Cinema, book clubs, community dinners, Waste-To-Creation projects, Wild Cortes Discovery boxes, mindfulness for children, First Nation’s story teller collaboration, Creative Writing programs, Musical Theatre, and the onset of new community lending-library collections. And there is more to come! 

This is a remarkable amount to have accomplished with so little money in such a short time. It’s only possible because of the incredible generosity of our island community and that means YOU! Thank you Cortes for being part of it: for sharing, for attending, for helping stack and unstack chairs, and even for all those people who couldn’t come because they work during that time who simply said: “good job!” It takes a community to try something new and we did. We learned something and had fun doing it.

A special thanks to the Cortes Literacy Now task force members (Monica, Mark, Desta, Shannon, Travis, Luna and Tamara) and to Robert and Loni for an amazing job on Prom and to Luna for regular help with Folk U Fridays and general enthusiasm. Thank you to the Seniors Society for the grant, space in their newsletters, and for the attendance of your members. Thank you to the Cortes Community Health Association and CKTZ for your support and for the hundreds of hours of volunteer time that went into our 9th year of operations. We look forward to building on this success with you!

If you are interested in staying in touch with Folk University and Cortes Literacy Now programming please visit where you can sign-up for our newsletter. While we will break for summer from most formal programming, I encourage each of you to consider hosting a salon or discussion or book club. If you do and want help spreading the word or organizing, please email me.

With deep appreciation,

Love from Manda and her kids
Love from Manda and her kids
thank you
Comment by Sandy on 31st May 2019
You are amazing Manda. Thanks for all your efforts. Cortes is lucky to have you.