Sunday, August 6, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Mariposa Co CA :: Dallas TX :: Somerset Co NJ

Emmy-nominated filmmaker will help aspiring movie makers tell of Valley life
Fresno Bee: 7.18.2017 by Ashleigh Panoo

Ten filmmakers were awarded a grant Tuesday to produce a mini-documentary about the central San Joaquin Valley as a new way to show the richness of the region’s people and history.

The winners will be mentored by Sascha Rice, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and granddaughter of former Gov. Pat Brown.

The $5,000 grants came from the Central Valley Community Foundation and Bank of America as part of a contest called The Big Tell: Undiscovered Stories from the Central Valley. Out of 85 applicants, 10 were chosen to move forward with their storyboard to create a three-to-five-minute documentary about life in the region.

The Big Tell Showcase will screen all 10 mini-documentaries on Oct. 20 at the Warnor’s Theatre, which will be free to the public, said Swearengin, Fresno’s former mayor.

Other winners are:
Karen Dusek and Rebecca Adams will take two volunteer tutors and learners in the Mariposa County Library’s adult literacy program and tell their stories.  READ MORE @

The Reading Barrier
City should lead in addressing adult literacy
Press Reader: 7.20.2017 The Dallas Morning News

Ron Reney, 27, takes a class at Literacy Instruction for Texas at CitySquare Opportunity Center in Dallas. He’s working to improve his reading skills so he can get a better job to support his family.

Ron Reney reads at roughly a fourth-grade level. He makes ends meet by working two $11-an-hour jobs, washing dishes and working in a warehouse. But the finances got more complicated in late May when he and his girlfriend welcomed a baby girl into their family.

Between those long hours at work and time with his newborn, Reney is taking classes to improve his reading and writing skills. It’s worth the work, he says, if it can help pull him out of dead-end jobs.

Reney, 27, is one of the many faces of the working poor in Dallas, a hard worker whose poor language skills hinder his ability to move upward economically. Friends and family have helped keep him afloat, but “I want to make it on my own,” he says.

Dallas has more than 80,000 residents who, despite working full or part time, are in poverty — and poor language skills is one of the reasons. By 2030, experts predict that about 1 million Dallas County residents, nearly one-third of the population, will not be literate in English.

Lisa Hembry, president of Literacy Instruction for Texas, which runs the adult literacy program that Reney attends, says fixing language literacy challenges in Dallas will require an intensive intervention with resources from the city and nonprofits in a coordinated strategy that does not exist now. Adult literacy and ESL programs are underfunded, uneven in quality and can be difficult to track down.  READ MORE @

Resident named literacy organization’s tutor of the year
Central Jersey: 7.20.2017 by Andrew Martins

From its hodgepodge of words with varying origins to the oddly specific idiosyncrasies of its sentence structure, the English language is often a daunting hurdle for people entering this country. Often coming to seek a better life for themselves or their families, immigrants struggle with a language barrier that can hobble their chance at a decent wage and at times labels them as an “other.”

It was a situation that Hillsborough resident Yolanda Rodriguez, the recipient of this year’s Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County (LVSC) Tutor of the Year award, knows all too well – as a two-time resident of Latin America.

“Yolanda is really making a difference,” LVSC Program Coordinator Susan Engelstein said.

Since she and her husband Agustine Rodriguez married 25 years ago, Yolanda has lived in Uruguay and Argentina. The moves were due to her husband’s career and during that time, Yolanda said she had to familiarize herself with the Spanish language.

“Being that I’d lived abroad on two separate occasions, I just know how important language is,” she said. “When I was there, I felt alone and I didn’t really know the language very well. Based on that, I figured that helping people learn English was something I could do to help people feel more comfortable.”

When she came back to the United States and moved to Hillsborough 12 years ago, Yolanda said she wanted to contribute to the community through volunteer work.  READ MORE @

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