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Making words to make a difference

Annual Scrabble tournament helping Thunder Bay Literacy Group provide free adult education programming for 20 years.

THUNDER BAY - It was all about making words this weekend during some friendly competition with a classic board game. But competition aside, it was also about making a difference and helping those who struggle with reading and writing.  

More than 30 wordsmiths went head-to-head in the 20th Annual Scrabble Fundraising Tournament hosted by the Thunder Bay Literacy Group on Saturday at Intercity Shopping Centre.

“It’s all about making words,” said Tessa Casella, volunteer coordinator with Thunder Bay Literacy Group. “We have many returning players and some new and all of the money that is raised from this event gets put back into our program, which is free education for adults.”

The Thunder Bay Literacy Group provides free education courses in areas of reading, writing, computers, and GED prep. The annual Scrabble tournament is its only fundraiser of the year and all the money raised goes towards offering education programming, outreach, and education materials.

“Last year we raised around $7,000 and this year we are hoping to get close to that,” Casella said. “But we will take whatever we can get. Every little bit helps.”

Casella said when the tournament was first created, organizers wanted to host something that promoted literacy but was also fun, so what a better choice is there than a game that requires you to make words?

“Originally they wanted to do something along the lines of words and reading and something education related,” she said. “Scrabble seemed to be the game of the time and it just sort of stuck and it’s been very popular.”

Brant Muir and Victoria Methot were in a neck and neck game early in the tournament, and it’s the challenge of the classic board game that got them interested in the annual fundraiser.

“I really enjoy playing Scrabble and I’ve done it for so long,” Methot said. “And it’s fun coming back. I just love any type of word game and I’ve always loved it since I was young and Scrabble is one of those games that you can master.”

“My French teacher got me into it in grade 7 and I‘ve just been coming every year since,” Muir added. “It’s fun making words.”

But as competitive as a game of Scrabble can be, being part of the fundraiser is about helping those who struggle with words.

“That’s one of the biggest things as well, that it is promoting the Thunder Bay Literacy Group,” Methot said. “I like to fundraise as much as I can.

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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