This month, Dann Denis became the first writer to have his work published on the Word on the Street bulletin board at Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s Well Read Books bookstore. (Photos courtesy Literacy Central Vancouver Island)

This month, Dann Denis became the first writer to have his work published on the Word on the Street bulletin board at Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s Well Read Books bookstore. (Photos courtesy Literacy Central Vancouver Island)

Word on the Street bulletin board building literacy for homeless Vancouver Islanders

Nanaimo literacy group providing creative outlet for those living on the street

A Vancouver Island literacy support program for those experiencing homelessness has yielded its first poem.

This month, Dann Denis became the first writer to have his work published on the Word on the Street bulletin board in the window of Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s Well Read Books bookstore in Nanaimo.

Since February, LCVI has been offering its literacy services to those who are isolated, under-housed or experiencing homelessness with the help of a $30,000 social response grant from the City of Nanaimo. The bulletin board is part of that initiative.

“We were already going into shelters and providing literacy supports and when we saw that grant come up we thought this was an opportunity, instead of doing that work on the side of our desk, to actually build more of a program in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in this area,” LCVI executive director Samantha Letourneau said.

RELATED: Victoria podcasters talk homelessness first-hand

RELATED: ‘Women face a much different experience on the street’

Actions LCVI have been taking include going to shelters and providing books, leading group poetry writing activities and helping people write and send holiday cards. In September, the Word on the Street bulletin board went up as a way to continue that outreach and stay connected even after COVID-19 restrictions prevented literacy outreach workers from visiting shelters.

The bulletin board includes news and community announcements written in accessible language, jokes, a map of local services and a feature section, which Letourneau described as a place for local artists and writers who may be at risk of or are experiencing homelessness to be creative and share their voice.

Denis is the first to make use of that space. His poem Home: A Lesson Learned is currently on display. According to a LCVI press release, Denis carries a binder full of his poems and has always wanted to have his work published.

“I have the gift to write what I think, feel, see and do,” he said in the release.

Denis is now encouraging others experiencing homelessness to contribute by handing out LCVI’s new Express Yourself booklets, which contain writing and drawing pages, literacy activities and submission forms.

Letourneau said it’s “super encouraging” to see the writings of someone who has benefited from LCVI outreach appear on the bulletin board.

“A lot of individuals who are isolated or under-housed or have faced homelessness, these are also people who are part of the community that we live in,” she said. “And so it’s lovely that they feel comfortable and enthusiastic about wanting to share – whether it’s a poem, a story, a piece of art work – that they feel that this is a place where they can express themselves.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Most Read