June 2016 News: Congressional Acknowledgement and Center Retrospective on Year One

Certificate of Special Recognition

Last October, Literacyworks received a special Congressional recognition by Congressman Jared Huffman on the opening of our new Santa Rosa Junior College Center classroom saying: “Your collective work to ensure that all individuals have the skills, support and opportunities to thrive in a complex and inter-connected world through literacy is making a positive difference in many, many lives. Thank you for your effective programs and generosity of spirit, and congratulations on your grand opening.”

Jared Congressional Declaration.jpg

Literacyworks Center News

As the spring 2016 semester comes to an end and Literacyworks Center completes its first year of operation, we have served 76 successful students. Our participants are taking ESL classes, English and GED classes and many are focusing on Early Childhood Education classes. This amazing group of individuals is redefining themselves and their future through education. It is humbling to work with these motivated folks facing significant challenges who now are doing what it will take to improve their literacy skills so they can improve their career opportunities. Some are taking only one class and taking full advantage of Santa Rosa Junior College’s support services, such as tutoring, computer labs and counseling services.

The Center’s focus has moved from working with our referral partners to identify motivated adults who qualify for our program, to an emphasis on persistence and success. Much of the staff’s efforts will be directed in individual and small group support to ensure all our students succeed.

The retention rate in community college for individuals with low literacy skills is only 40%. All of our students have stayed in school and completed their coursework this semester. We are looking forward to serving more students in the 2016 fall semester and assisting them in reaching their educational goals.


Chris Schultz, Literacyworks Center Director

Iconic painting of the Tomales Town Hall by local artist Kathryn LeMieux

Iconic painting of the Tomales Town Hall by local artist Kathryn LeMieux

It was a breezy early evening on a Friday night when the staff of Literacyworks Center arrived in the town of Tomales on the northern edge of Marin County along the coast. Cristina, a community advocate from Tomales Elementary School, met us with open arms and a bright smile. She, with the help of the West Marin Community Services, the Point Reyes Library Branch Manager Bonny White and the Marin Community Foundation helped make this evening possible. We met and spoke to 12 adults interested in joining our program in the fall. Many of their children were present to share in the presentation. After many questions and a fair amount of translation, we had signed up all 12. The sense of gratitude, excitement, possibility was palpable as we packed up to head back to Petaluma. These motivated individuals were willing to embark on a somewhat intimidating education experience to learn English so they can read to their children, participate in society more effectively and talk to their boss on the ranches where they work. A good day's work.

Student Voices

Here are a few examples of how grateful our students are for the support the Literacyworks Center is providing them. All these quotes are from letters written to us this year:

‘I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you for your financial support, through the Literacyworks program. I am a single mom of two and I care for my grandma too while working full time as a preschool teacher. Because of your caring and generosity am able to attend Santa Rosa JC and accomplish my dream of obtaining a college degree. So on behalf of my family and I, thank you.’
'I want to thank you. The Literacyworks award means more than you will ever know. It shows me that someone else believes that I can and will succeed, and gives me much encouragement to keep pressing forward with my education. It’s people like you that keep young people like me working hard because we know that someone is ready and willing to invest in our future.’
‘My goal is to pay it forward and offer help to someone who will be in my shoes in the future and bring them as much joy as you brought me. Bless your heart and thanks again.’
‘I am a single mom. I want to study Child Development with the goal of working as a teacher’s aid. The financial aspect of attending college on one income was starting to make me reconsider my choice. The award you donated will eliminate that burden and allow me to continue on and finish my degree. Thank you. I will always be grateful.’

June in the News

  • Fly a Kite Day: Ben Franklin's Kite Experiment happened on June 15, 1752. 
  • Sand Paper invented by I. Fischer Jr. on June 14, 1834.
  • Typewriter patented by Christopher Latham Sholes, a Milwaukee printer whose first “type-writer” was patented in June 23, 1868.
  • Caldecott Medal first awarded In June 14, 1938.
  • First U.S. Space Walk by Ed White on June 3, 1965.
  • World Egg Day June 10. The first World Egg Day was celebrated in 1996.