Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Petaluma CA :: Little Rock AR :: Humboldt Co CA

Petaluma program promotes a path to scholastic success
Petaluma 360: 9.25.2016 by Hannah Beausang

Petaluman Rebeca Gutierrez has long dreamed of obtaining a degree in child development, but her path to success has been riddled with struggles.

Gutierrez grew up on a ranch near Valley Ford before getting married at 17, just after she graduated from Petaluma High School. She enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2009 before getting pregnant with her first son, taking a year off from school and then dropping out for another semester after the birth of her second son. She returned to the community college, but was again knocked off course when she had to travel to Mexico with her family after an accident that ultimately claimed mother’s life last year.

Gutierrez said juggling her aspirations of getting an education and launching a career working with children while taking care of her two sons on a limited income proved to be a struggle, and she found herself immersed in grief from her mother’s death.

She said it wasn’t until staff from the North Bay Children’s Center connected her with Literacyworks Center at the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma campus that she was able to dedicate herself more fully to pursing her goals. The center, which operates under the umbrella of Literacyworks, a longstanding Petaluma nonprofit, supports underserved adults with financial awards, mentorship and coaching to help select students overcome barriers that may stand in the way of getting an education.

Gutierrez is one of the 86 “low-income, low-literacy and highly-motived” adults currently enrolled in the program, and the students, who range in age from 22 to 60, each receive between $750 and $1,000 a semester to help bridge the gap in paying for books, transportation, childcare or technology for education, according to Chris Schultz, the center’s director.  READ MORE @

Literacy Action raises money for program, recognizes tutor
NWA Online: 9.25.2016 by Kimberly Dishongh

Shine a Light on Literacy, a birthday celebration for Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, was held Sept. 16 at Next Level Events.

Kathy Rateliff was given the Bridget Fennel Farris Outstanding Tutor Award for the work she and a group of women from Westover Hills Presbyterian Church did teaching reading and creative writing to female inmates of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility.

"The jail has been an eye-opener for all the little old ladies who go there," said Rateliff, who in her acceptance speech shared stories about female inmates who are reading two classic novels per week, thanks to volunteers' help and encouragement.

Other nominees for the award were Dr. William Cochran, Horace Smith, Karyn Hunter, Jean Moffett and Scott Savoy.

Farris was a longtime tutor and Literacy Action board member who died in June.
Farris' sons, Matt and Greyson, presented the award, along with their uncle, Tom Fennel, Bridget Fennel Farris' brother. Fennel and his band, the Jellies, played during the event.

Tutor Horace Smith told the group that volunteering with Literacy Action is "an opportunity not just for the students to learn from the tutors but for the tutors to learn from the students." Many of the adults who seek help from the tutors speak little or no English but have cultural knowledge to share with those willing to learn, said Smith, encouraging everyone in the room to consider helping. "You feel good -- not about yourself, but about life. It's one of the more difficult things you will do, but it is also one of the more satisfying."  READ MORE @

Local woman learns literacy skills
Times Standard: 9.24.2016 by Heather Shelton

Like many learners who come to the Humboldt Literacy Project, Elida Rojas wanted to improve her reading and writing skills so she could help her young child when he started school.

“I need to know how to do the homework from school with my son — and later when somebody else comes new to the United States … I want to be able to help them,” Rojas said.

The 30-year-old Eureka resident moved from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Humboldt County 13 years ago to live near her older siblings. She was 16 years old at the time and spoke very little English.

“My father told me when I come in young to this country, it’s easier to learn the language, but you know when I came here … I (didn’t) go to school. I started to work … I needed to pay rent,” she said.

Though Rojas did enroll in an adult education program, it wasn’t until she contacted the Humboldt Literacy Project four-and-a-half years ago that she was able to focus fully on learning English.

Rojas first heard about the nonprofit organization — which has been matching adult learners with trained tutors since 1985 — from a visiting nurse when she and her husband were expecting their first child, Edwin.  READ MORE @

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