Olga Jacinto came to Canada from the Azores in 1968 when she was nine. She says, “It was really hard coming to a new country. It was difficult learning all the new customs and way of life. I only wanted to fit in and not be noticed as different.”
At that time Audrey, who later served Castlegar as mayor for 17 years, was the Castlegar librarian. Olga’s house was very close to the library.
“I didn't know anyone and the library was where I went because I felt welcome. I always felt accepted. As a little girl new to Canada with a love for books, the library soon became my second home. Audrey always welcomed me with a warm, kind smile, listened to my many stories and encouraged me in so many ways. To this day, when I think of Audrey, it is with gratitude and a smile.”
In June, Olga nominated Audrey as a Champion for Literacy. Olga presented Audrey with Castlegar’s 2015 Community Literacy Award at the Castlegar Champions for Literacy Award ceremony. The award honours Audrey's commitment to literacy and the community.
Audrey was touched when she received her award from Olga. She said, “Receiving the award was an honour. I didn’t think that I could have ever had such an impact on a person’s life. Being a librarian was such a great job. Every day I was able to help people and make them happy.”
Olga now works in programs that support newcomers. You’ll find her working with newcomer families at Kootenay Family Place (in programs provided in partnership with KFP and CBAL), where she is much loved by both the children and the parents.
After the awards ceremony, Audrey told Olga, “I am glad that I was your mentor many years ago, but now it is you who is a mentor to newcomers in the community."
To learn more about settlement and language services in the Columbia Basin and Boundary go to www.cbal.org/settlement-services.
Community Literacy Coordinator
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy