De Beers started the program in 2003, and this year distributed about 7,000 books to around 1,800 students across the Northwest Territories.
This year the program began in early April, and travelled around to various communities in the territory.
“We’ve been to fourteen different schools, nine different communities, delivering books to students from pre-K to grade twelve,” said Kelly Brenton, superintendent of Indigenous Affairs and Sustainability at De Beers.
Each student gets to choose three books to bring home. Brenton said promoting literacy like this is an important part of building stronger and healthier communities.
“One of the programs De Beers is focused on is trying to encourage more females to consider mining opportunities and careers in mining, so we see this as sort of a spin-off from that,” said Brenton.
“Some of the books that we’ve brought to the schools include things around environmental science, or different STEM type books so that we can introduce them early on to the types of job opportunities that might be available in the mining industry,” said Brenton.
Brenton said the response to the program has been overwhelming, from the teachers as well as the students.
“When I explained to the kids what we’re doing, you sort of get a little bit emotional because the kids get so excited about getting books,” said Brenton.
“Some kids have never received a new book before so this is their first time, so it makes you feel good about what you’re doing. The kids are so appreciative of the fact that they get to go home with three books that they get to share with their families,” Brenton said.