Drumheller Family Literacy received a big cheque on Sept. 22 to help fund its Power of Four program.

The $5,000 grant was donated to Family Literacy by Chinook Financial, as part of their Act Local Grants. These grants are awarded to organizations doing work that falls under Chinook's four focus areas.

Louise Henrickson is the Drumheller Family Literacy Coordinator. She said the Power of Four program has been running in Drumheller since 2012.

"It's a literacy and parenting program for parents," she explained. "It's really helping them to see what their child needs for kindergarten. Things have changed in the school so how can we support the parents so the child is successful in school, because it's all about what the parents teach them."

Power of Four is a six week program and students are sent home with a bit of homework reading after each session. Henrickson's program is a modified version of HIPPY Canada's Power of Four. Henrickson said the HIPPY program didn't match up with the needs of the Drumheller community, so she needed to make a few adjustments.

The program is open for children aged three to five. Henrickson elaborated that, like sports, children need to practice their literacy skills in order to improve.

"You need that time to practice and get good at it. We call it the Power of Four but these are the skills that you should have been exposed to already so that you have that time to really master those skills," she said, before continuing. "Literacy is no longer just about reading and writing -- it's that whole child. Do they have the fine motor skills to turn the pages?"

Henrickson revealed that the $5,000 grant will go toward a long-term project of hers.

"We applied for another grant to offer [the program during] the complete school year. Playschool is great, but not everyone can afford it."

In addition to the grant from Chinook Financial, this summer Family Literacy received $815 from the proceeds of a barbeque held by Chinook, along with a $1,000 donation from the Oilmen's Association and $100 from Boston Pizza's Future Prospects.

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