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Ashcroft literacy program offers one-on-one tutoring for adults

Free, confidential service offers one-on-one tutoring for those needing help with basic literacy and math skills
Many adults have difficulty with basic literacy, and can easily become frustrated in an increasingly computer-based world.

According to the Decoda Foundation, a province-wide literacy group, 45 per cent of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 have difficulty with basic literacy, such as reading newspapers, following up on health care information or medication instructions, applying for a driver’s licence, or filling out online forms.

The Ashcroft Literacy Program — also known as Partner Assisted Learning and the Community Adult Literacy Program — offers free and confidential tutoring to adults aged 19 and older who might need help with basic reading, writing, or math skills. Run by Yellowhead Community Services (YCS), the program aims to help adults develop stronger literacy and numeracy skills.

Victoria Aussem, the Ashcroft Adult Tutor Program Coordinator, says that while an adult literacy program has existed in Ashcroft in the past, YCS — which operates very successful literacy programs in Barriere and Clearwater — is trying to re-establish it in this area, and serve people living in and around Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton. The program has received funding through August 2025, as part of $3.4 million in funding from the province for 102 literacy programs around B.C.

“It’s relatively new back in the area, and we’re trying to get it known. There are a lot of people in our area who could use this service. Some never had all their schooling, so never kept up with their literacy. They need help, and don’t have a caregiver or family member who can help them.”

Aussem offers a drop-in session every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ashcroft HUB. She can also book one-on-one appointments during this time or on Thursdays, when she can meet with people at the HUB, at the libraries in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton, or at any other public space that’s convenient. “It’s whatever works for people’s schedules,” says Aussem. “I’m very flexible on the day.”

The program is especially helpful for newcomers, or people for whom English is a second language, who want to practise their English skills. She can also help people who need assistance filling out forms, applying for a driver’s licence, writing a resume or a cover letter, or balancing a bank account. She can even assist people with their shopping skills, such as helping them learn how to figure out what the best value is for a given item at the store.

“The program encompasses everything to do with reading and writing: any help they need," says Aussem. "It’s not necessarily about people who can’t read, but about people who have trouble reading, or ESL people who need to practise. We see a lot of people studying for tests and who need to learn vocabulary.”

Aussem adds that in today’s increasingly online world, a lot of adults struggle with computer skills.

“Sometimes there are forms and things people need to fill in, and they don’t understand what’s being asked of them. They need help understanding jargon. Everything is computer generated, and I see older people getting frustrated.”

As an example, Aussem points to the online health portal that allows people to communicate with their doctors and other health care workers, as well as book appointments and procedures and see the results of tests. “That can be frustrating, and people need to know how to navigate it, so it’s helping with that.”

She notes that literacy is vital to communication, and not having those skills can be frustrating, particularly when people are dealing with something that’s down on paper or on a computer rather than dealing with someone face-to-face.

“Better communication and better living skills help you educate yourself to be a person in society. If you’re taking medication, it has a ripple effect on your health if you can’t interpret the information about it correctly. The program is about helping people within the community so that they can see things more clearly and participate in the community.”

Aussem says she is also looking for people willing to tutor others in learning to read, write, or do basic math. A free training program is offered for anyone who is interested.

“We’d like people to know about this program, and we’d like to know if people can mentor others as it grows so it’s partner-assisted learning. It’s community members helping other community members with literacy, whatever that looks like.”

For more information about the Ashcroft Literacy Program, or becoming a tutor, call Aussem at (778) 208-9430, email, or go to