September 2019


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We believe in supporting every individual who seeks to improve their position in life.

We serve low-literacy adults by providing encouragement, financial and educational support and by partnering with community groups to promote success.

We serve adults by increasing their literacy and basic skills so they are able to secure better jobs, manage their personal lives, advocate for themselves, enhance their parenting skills, and contribute more to their community.

Proficient literacy skills are critical to an individuals’ prosperity & well-being. A literate population drives community vitality, health & economic growth.

Fall 2019 Funding Campaign

The Literacyworks Center has begun a campaign for $30,000 to enroll an additional ten students in our program for this Fall semester.

The Center is changing lives. All of our adults are low-income, low-literacy members of our community and are the first in their family to go to college. Many are parents. All are underserved. Their perseverance in reaching their educational goals encourages their children to excel in school and follow their example to attend college. One parent’s child said proudly to her friends: “My mom is going to college, and I’m going to go too.”

We are asking you to support a student or several starting this Fall semester. For a $3,000 gift, you will enable a Center student to reach their goals and stay in school for a full academic year. We do whatever it takes to help our adults succeed in college, but we can’t do it without you. Your gift creates meaningful change for our students, families, and their communities. It will help them acquire the basic skills to access career and technical education and living wage jobs. Any donation amount will help.

For donation options, go to the Literacyworks Donation page at 

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Nineteen Center students passed their GED

Many of the Center’s students did not complete high school when they were younger. There are a wide variety of reasons for this, but it is essential to many of these individuals to complete their high school degree. Doing this both demonstrates the value of education to their children and allows them to further their college education, providing them the skills to get a better job. So, for many, their first step with the Center program is taking GED (General Education Diploma) or High School Equivalency Certificate classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. The difficulty of the GED tests should not be underestimated. It is intended to be the equivalent of passing all the requirements of four years of high school. This summer, 19 of the Center’s students passed their GED, and a wonderful celebration was held for them. This is, in some sense, both the ending of one significant challenge and the beginning of a new opportunity.

New Center Alumni Program

The Center is initiating a new Alumni program this fall semester. All Center students started their education below college level in reading, writing, and math. Now, after four years of supporting students in their educational goals, we now have eleven graduates. This means these individuals have moved from basic skills classes and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to fulfilling the requirements to receive an Associate’s Degree. 

The Alumni program has two primary purposes. The first is to stay in contact with our students as they continue their four-year university studies, and second to provide insights and inspiration for our current program participates. A number of students have formed close bonds with one another so that staying connected after graduation may be a way to share stories, challenges, and ideas. We envision at least one annual meeting held over semester break so folks going to universities out of the area may be able to attend. We will invite alumni to visit the frequently held workshops for our current students. We believe that having our alumni talk about their experiences at the university and discuss the challenges and rewards of furthering their education is important. It serves as an inspiration for Center participants who are often struggling with the competing demands of school, work, and family. Aaron S., one of our graduates, has agreed to take a lead role in getting the Alumni program off the ground. Aaron currently attends UC Berkeley.
- Chris Schultz, Director of the Center

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June 2019: Literacyworks in the News

A not so Typical 48 Hours in the Life of Literacyworks

Wednesday Night May 22, 2019, at 6 PM

100 Sonoma People Who Care

The Board of the Sonoma County nonprofit 100 Sonoma People Who Care selected Literacyworks as one of this year's nominees for their 2019 Nonprofit Fundraising Event. Thank you Sheila Bride of Petaluma Coffee and Tea for nominating us! 100 Sonoma is a funding circle 501(c)(3) organized to bring together community members to learn about and select one Sonoma County nonprofit annually to receive a significant financial gift.

As one of their five nominees*, Literacyworks was invited to give a 4-minute presentation on May 22, 2019, at Glenn Ranch in Petaluma on the Literacyworks Center. The only rules were that each speaker must only use their voice. No slideshows/videos/ props or anything else was permitted. Our Literacyworks Center Director, Chris Schultz, and our Center student, Diana Angel, a mother of two little girls, passionately spoke for two minutes each explaining how the Center is changing lives and making a difference in our community.

After the presentations, the guests voted for the winning nonprofit who would walk away with that night's contributions, in this case, $10,000. Who got the most votes you may ask? Drum roll…. Literacyworks did. Yeah for Chris and Diana!

*Hospice of Petaluma, Heritage Homes, The Tiny Pitbull, Point Blue Conservation Science were the other nonprofits

Thursday Morning May 22, 2019, at 7:30 AM

The Petaluma Health Care District approves Literacyworks Grant Funding request for $10,000.


All grant recipients of this years grant award were acknowledged at the Community Partnership Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday, May 23rd from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at the Petaluma Women’s Club.

Literacyworks was thanked for the incredible work we do to support the health and well-being of our community. Ramona Faith, CEO of the Petaluma Health Care District and staff, expressed how grateful they were to partner and support us in this effort.

The Sonoma County Community Health Needs Assessment confirms that literacy level, income, and educational attainment is strongly correlated to health: those with low levels of literacy, low income, and education suffer poor health outcomes. Those with a higher level of literacy and education are prone to live longer due to healthier behaviors and tend to raise healthier children. Residents in Sonoma County who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race have a higher percentage of individuals at risk in experiencing poor health results.

The health needs our proposal is addressing concerns the health literacy, education, and access to health resources for our students and their families. We will conduct a series of workshops that bring in community providers to discuss health resources and health literacy.

Thursday Evening May 22nd, 2019, at 6:00 PM

The No Name Group

Paul Heavenridge, Executive Director of Literacyworks, spoke to about 200 of what is affectionately referred to as The No Name Group in Santa Rosa about the Literacyworks Center. Susan Moore heads the long-standing group that gathers monthly to hear and discuss topics ranging from education to politics to social justice. The reviews of the talk were all positive, and many new contacts were made.

Literacyworks Center Graduations 2019

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Center Student Victoria

We at Literacyworks Center view a student’s academic goal as a matter of personal choice. Their progress toward that goal, thanks to our staff support, is steady and at their own rate. We encourage each student to explore career options and further inform themselves of educational opportunities. We consider an individual successful, as one of our students has done, by taking classes to improve their English, then taking an accounting class and then open their own catering business. More traditional measures of success like graduating and transferring to a four-year university are not for all of our students. Many get Certificates in career programs such as Early Childhood Education, Firefighter or Environmental Horticulture.

This Spring 2019, we are overjoyed to announce eight of our students walked across the stage and received an Associate’s Degree. Six of these graduates will transfer to various universities in the fall including UCLA, UC Berkeley, Sac State, and Sonoma State. What is remarkable about this is all of these individuals started their education by taking classes well below college level. Literacyworks staff is tremendously proud of these students’ hard work, commitment, and success. We will miss working with them, but will maintain contact to follow their continued success in the future.

May 2019: Literacyworks in the News


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We are proud that another of our students is moving on to a four-year-college. Lorenzo graduated in January. He recently came to a Literacyworks Center student workshop to show off his new Sonoma State ID card. He is entering SSU as a math major.

“I am really happy with the program, very grateful for what the program has done for me for the last three years. I really like that the program focuses on people that want to continue on with their education and that Literacyworks makes it very easy to get in the program. One suggestion I would say is that the program should be extended to the university. Thanks, Literacyworks.”

Literacyworks Nominated for 100 Sonoma People Who Care Event

At 100 Sonoma People Who Care events, community members donate $100 to spend an evening learning about FIVE local non-profits and selecting one to receive a financial gift of $10K +. 100 Sonoma is particularly interested in raising awareness of smaller non-profits and community service programs whose important work is in need of funding.

Literacyworks is one of the five nominees.

For more information and registration for the MAY 22 EVENT, go to:

What: Fourth Annual 100 Sonoma - Petaluma event
When: Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Glenn Ranch Petaluma

Literacyworks Center Update: Chris Schultz

During a recent one-to-one interview, a long time member of the program was sharing her deep frustration in not being able to pass the math test on the GED (high school equivalency). This is the last test before she completes the GED and can move on with her education. She talked about how hard it has been to learn math, but how determined she is to succeed. She is a hard working mother of five who wants to show her children how important education is. We ended the session with suggestions and best wishes on the test which was scheduled for the following Friday. I was at a gathering in the evening on Friday and received a text, which I didn’t read until later that night. It read: “Hi, good evening. I wanted to share the great news with you. I passed my math test for my GED. I am beyond proud of myself, and my kids are too.”

A young man, new to the program and new to college, has been attending the fire academy at Santa Rosa Junior College. He is the single father of a four-year-old son. He attends classes every weekday for six hours and then drives to another town and works in a restaurant until 1:30 AM in the morning. I recently called him to invite him to a workshop we were offering. With a soft, but confident voice, he informed me that he completed the fire training and would be graduating in a few days. He added that he is committed to continuing and will get an EMT certification in the fall.


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May 10, 2019, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Copperfield’s Books Petaluma Store 140 Kentucky Street Petaluma
McNamee’s book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe is The New York Times bestseller about a noted tech venture capitalist, early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook investor, who wakes up to the serious damage Facebook is doing to our society - and sets out to try to stop it. 

He has been a Silicon Valley investor for 35 years. His most recent fund, Elevation, included U2’s Bono as a co-founder. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Roger plays bass and guitar in the bands Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System. He has served as a technical advisor for seasons two through five of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” series and was also responsible for raising the money that created the Wikimedia Foundation.


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March 2019: Literacyworks in the News

Literacyworks Center Student Spotlight

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Aaron attended an alternative high school for underachieving students. School was not his primary focus; instead, his friends and social life were his priority. He eventually applied to Santa Rosa JC without much enthusiasm or confidence. It soon became clear that this was his life and he had to decide what he was going to do with it. So Aaron took advantage of the support services at the JC and was referred to Literacyworks Center. He became one of our stellar students; his confidence and determination are growing as his natural leadership skills emerged not only in the Literacyworks program, but also in other programs on the Petaluma campus. He worked extremely hard both in his schoolwork and his on-campus job. Aaron told a group of participants at a workshop, “that it’s great to know Literacyworks has my back.” At another meeting, he talked of getting a law degree so he could have a positive impact on the lives of others.

Aaron graduated in Spring semester 2018 with an AA in Sociology. He reported he had been accepted to UC Berkeley with a full scholarship and started this Spring semester as a Junior. He is the first in his family to attend college, but he said he would not be the last. 

Aaron’s commitment now is to serving other young people so they could avoid the difficulties he experienced in high school.  After completing his education, he plans to create a program that supports youth and help them stay out of gangs.  The Literacyworks staff asked Aaron to take the lead in establishing a Literacyworks Center alumni organization that will honor our student’s accomplishments, inspire them to follow their dreams, and create the future they want for themselves. He has agreed to make time and to give back to the Center.

Literacyworks Center Update

The Center staff has conducted two well-attended workshops since the turn of the 2019 year. We addressed issues of study skills, decision-making, time management, and collaborative learning. We presented the idea of having an online resource page and directory of Literacyworks students so they could arrange meeting in small groups. The students liked the idea. One student asked for tutoring in math, and another student agreed to help. One student that graduated in January came to the workshop to show off his new Sonoma State ID card. He wants to become a teacher. Another student that had to stop out for the fall semester brought her beautiful new baby son to the workshop. The staff is currently gearing up to start the one to one interviews with all one hundred and ten students. This process of individually interviewing each student has proven to be an invaluable and informative part of enhancing the program’s success.

Upcoming Literacyworks Lectures

Friday, April 26, 2019 Copperfield's in Santa Rosa (Montgomery Village) 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa


Cherríe L. Moraga is a writer and an activist. A cofounder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Moraga co-edited the highly influential volume This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color in 1981. A former Artist-in-Residence at Stanford, Moraga was recently appointed a professor in the Department of English at UC-Santa Barbara, where, with her artistic partner Celia Herrera Rodriguez, she will institute Las Maestras Center for Chicana and Indigenous Thought and Art Practice. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Playwriting Fellowship Award and a Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature.


Thursday, May 2, 2019 Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 8:00am; Petaluma Store 140 Kentucky Street Petaluma


David Brooks became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in September 2003. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday. He is currently a commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He is the author of “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.” In March 2011 he came out with his third book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement,” which was a No. 1 New York Times best seller. Mr. Brooks also teaches at Yale University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Literacyworks Lectures Sponsors

December 2018: Literacyworks in the News 2018 Wrap




We, the Literacyworks staff, are very grateful for many things this year. As our tradition, we offer Literacyworks “Top Ten List” (in no particular order) of all the great things that happened in 2018 and a few more for which we're grateful. 

But first, a reminder! Our last 2018 Literacyworks Lecture is coming up this month.



Sunday, December 16, 2018
Carole L. Ellis Auditorium (SRJC Petaluma)
680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma, CA 94952
2:45-4:00 PM

Purchase Tickets
Congresswoman Barbara Lee was born in El Paso, TX. As a single mother raising two sons, she attended Mills College and received public assistance while building a better life for her family. Congresswoman Lee received her Masters of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley. As a small business owner in the East Bay, Congresswoman Lee worked with people from all walks of life. In 1998, she was elected to serve California’s 9th (now the 13th) congressional district in a special election. She has long advocated for legislative action to end poverty. Her autobiography is Renegade for Peace and Justice: A Memoir of Political and Personal Courage. 

Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey is a former U.S. Representative for California's 6th congressional district serving Marin and Sonoma County from 1993 to 2013. Lynn focused on issues facing children, families, and education during her 20-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives.

General Admission: $30
Buy tickets for Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Conversation with Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey

OK, now for our Literacyworks “Top Ten List” starting with #10:

#10. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
: Lynn continues to be our biggest supporter. She is our Literacyworks Center founder/partner and Honorary Board Chairperson.


#9. Our Center participants: This 2017 Spring and Fall Semesters, 192 of our adult students received our Adult Literacy Awards to help them persist in school and progress on their educational goals. Thanks to an increase in our Adult Literacy Award funding, we are expecting to enroll up to 110 students for Spring Semester 2019. Also, high-fives to our volunteer tutors who will start helping our students succeed with one-to-one tutoring. 

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We have collected comments from our students about the Center. Here are a few:

“The Center is amazing. This program gives us the keys to open the door to opportunity and success. We have the opportunity to get a better education to improve our knowledge and achieve our goals. I am so lucky; thanks for all your support!”

“Literacyworks has helped me both emotionally and economically. The support regardless of age and the diversity are some things I particularly value. I have not found another support system like this in my educational years.”

“Literacyworks Center is a college student’s dream come true. This program provides so much support and resources that students need to be successful. The constant check-ins, financial help, and the resources they provide make it easier to be a student. They motivate you to keep going and make sure their students excel academically and motivate us to follow our dreams.”

“I really like this program because having the one-on-one meetings makes me feel like there’s people who care about us and our success. Without the Center, I don’t think that I would be as successful in my classes and the financial help is also helpful.”

#8. The Literacyworks Center: In 2018, the Center increased to 192 students (from 182 students in 2017). We handed out the Adult Literacy Award (thank you anonymous family foundation) to all our students. Again this year, the Center had less than 10% student dropout rate compared to a historically 60% dropout rate for this at-risk population at community colleges. This is in spite of the fact that all our students were affected by the Santa Rosa fires. We were able to secure a Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund grant that assisted our students with resources such as housing relief, child care, transportation, and counseling. We also conducted one-on-one interviews with students to find out what their academic and fire relief needs were. The Center is proving that we can make a difference in keeping low income, highly motivated adults stay in school and become career and college ready.

#7. Literacyworks Lectures: Another great series of speakers this year.  Literacyworks Lectures began its collaboration with Copperfield's Books to bring prestigious authors to Petaluma.

The lineup was: Steven Pinker Harvard University experimental psychologist; Leland Faust founder of CSI Capital Management representing over one hundred NFL, NBA and MLB all-stars; Robert Reich, American political commentator, professor, author and former Secretary of Labor, in Conversation with Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey; Greg Sarris, author, screenwriter, producer, scholar, professor and Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria; Daniel Ellsberg, American activist and former United States military analyst, in Conversation with Peter Coyote; Chilean author Isabel Allende in conversation with Michael Krasny; and Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Conversation with Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey.

As the Argus-Courier wrote: "Petaluma’s Literacyworks Lecture Series is upping its star-power this year, with the 2018 version of the non-profit’s popular speakers’ showcase now featuring some of the brightest and best thinkers, writers, politicians and philosophers in America."

Thanks to our staff, students, volunteers and many sponsors who make this fundraising event inspiring. 

#6. Parents as First Teachers: Engaging Families to Increase Children's Literacy program: Literacyworks has been an early adopter in believing that children’s first teachers are their parents. We work with educational and literacy programs, including family literacy programs that serve children under 5, in libraries and community-based organizations, throughout California and the nation.

Literacyworks Parents as First Teachers: Engaging Families to Increase Children's Literacy program works with low-literacy, low-income bilingual parents and children through a combination of access to resources in the home and the community and by training parents in the basic skills to encourage their children to become avid readers. The goal is to help our parents view their parenting role in a positive manner, have appropriate expectations of their children's achievements, prepare their children with the necessary skills to be successful in school, and establish and maintain positive relations with community resources, including libraries, schools, and community groups. The Sonoma and Marin library branches are interested in offering the program in 2019.

#5. Literacyworks Board: We sincerely appreciate the support and wisdom of our Literacyworks Board: Elizabeth Howland, President, Eric Backman, Secretary, William Soper, Treasurer, Robin Klaus, and Gloria Cruz McCallister.

#4. Founding Friends of the Center, the Friends of the Literacyworks Center and Program Partners: Again in 2018, many people and organizations helped to make Literacyworks and the Center successful including Santa Rosa Junior College, Center Point, North Bay Children’s Center, West Marin Community Services (Pt. Reyes Station), the Friends of the Literacyworks Center and our Center donors, both individuals and organizations, including Codding Foundation, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Marin Community Foundation, Bank of Marin, Community Foundation Sonoma County, Dollar General, KRCB, The W Foundation, Sobel Communications, Fishman Supply, Bank of Marin, Westamerica Bank, Amy's Kitchen, Redwood Credit Union and Schwab Charitable Giving.

#3. SRJC: The Petaluma Campus staff and administration have been very supportive of the Center with particular thanks to Dr. Jane Saldana-Talley, Vice President, Petaluma Campus, whose assistance was and is invaluable, Dr. Matthew Long, Dean of Student Services, Dr. Catherine Williams, Dean of Instruction and Enrollment Management, and Yesenia Rodarte-Hurtado, ELL Outreach Coordinator. The SRJC Santa Rosa campus staff has been great to work with also. Thanks to Dr. Frank Chong, President/Superintendent, Rachael Cutcher, Manager of Scholarship Programs, Cathy Prince, Dean of Instruction & Strategic Program Development and the Hispanic Serving Institution programs, and Enedina Vera, HEP recruiter.

#2. Staff: Thanks to our talented Center staff: Chris Schultz and Rita Sorpranith and Literacyworks Development Director, Elizabeth Howland.

#1. YOU: We are especially grateful for all the Literacyworks supporters, both anonymous and public, and that includes you!

Literacyworks is helping underprivileged and underrepresented adults secure better jobs, become better parents, and contribute more to their community. Thanks for all your support this year and next.

Paul Heavenridge Executive Director

Paul Heavenridge
Executive Director


2018 Year-End Campaign

We’ve launched our 2018 Year-End Campaign. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to keep receiving the donor’s scholarship funding by matching it with funding for staff and operations. This will allow us to reach our goal of helping 110 motivated low-income low literacy adults get on our program each semester in 2019. We can’t do it without your help. Will you make a gift? To make your donation now, go to or contact Rita at to be mailed a remittance envelope.

June 2018: Literacyworks in the News


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When: Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Where: Bear Republic Brewery - Lakeside 5000 Roberts Lake Road, Rohnert Park


  • Judge’s Panel & People’s Choice Voting

Bartenders from the following establishments will be creating cocktails with Charbay Blood Orange Vodka, come try all their libations and vote for your favorite!

  • Bear Republic - Lakeside, Rohnert Park
  • Beer Baron, Santa Rosa
  • Crush Italian Steakhouse, Ukiah
  • The Golden Pig, Hopland
  • Gun Club Bar, Geyserville
  • Jackson’s Bar & Oven, Santa Rosa
  • John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa
  • Mario & John’s, Petaluma
  • Perch + Plow, Santa Rosa
  • The Tavern on 4th, San Rafael
  • Ukiah Brewing Company, Ukiah

Thank you to our Judge’s Panel for ‘Straight Up’ 2018!

Scott Beattie
Author of ‘Artisanal Cocktails’
Meadowood Napa Valley

Erika Frey
Private Real Estate Consultant & Cocktail Aficionado

Brian Griffith
Music Director
KRCB Radio 91, FM

Pre-sale tickets $35 per person  Get your tickets here!
($40 at the door / 21 and over only)
Ticket price includes tasting all competitors’ cocktail creations & delicious appetizers

Raffle & Ticket Proceeds to fund Literacyworks Programs in the North Bay




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Sunday June 10, 2018, 4:00-5:30PM
Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall, 1094 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma

Daniel Ellsberg is an American activist and former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers. His new book, “The Doomsday Machine,” is an eyewitness expose of the dangers of America’s top secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Peter Coyote is an accomplished actor, author, director, screenwriter and Emmy award narrator.

Purchase tickets here:

Go to for the latest speaker list.


The Center has just completed a successful spring semester working with our Santa Rosa Junior College students.  Staff initiated a new program of interviewing each of our ninety students in an effort to better understand the challenges facing them and develop a clearer view of their goals and aspirations.  The themes running through these sessions included a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to continue their education and appreciation for the Center’s support and the fine faculty at the SRJC.  When asked what advice they would give someone just starting college, this diverse group of folks uniformly said versions of ‘Never give up.  Work hard.  Hang in there, it’s worth it.’  We discovered that the October fires impacted our students much more profoundly than we knew.  Students lost their jobs losing weeks of income.  Some dropped out to support their extended families.  One student that is pursuing a certificate in Early Childhood Education lost her apartment, her car and all her family’s possessions.  She is now in a new home and continuing her education. 

This spring, two of our students that started with the Center’s program in Basic Skills classes successfully graduated. One of our students transferred to Sonoma State University.   Another student who struggled in high school, was the first in his family to go to college, and lacked confidence in his ability to succeed in college. He participated in Literacyworks for the three years he attended the SRJC.  This spring he graduated and was accepted to UC Berkeley with a full scholarship. 

Santa Rosa Junior College staff and faculty and their excellent educational programs and extensive support services, deserves tremendous credit for changing lives and creating opportunities.  We at Literacyworks Center appreciate the open and supportive relationship we share with SRJC in our mutual efforts to support individuals in creating their futures.

March 2018: Literacyworks in the News


Literacyworks Receives North Bay Fire Relief Fund Grant from Redwood Credit Union Community Fund

The purpose of this grant is to support our students and others in overcoming the obstacles created by the fires and to assist them in staying in school at SRJC. We requested funding to assist our low literacy, low income hard to serve adult students cope with issues created by the recent fire and continue with their college education. We will use this grant for additional workshops in stress management, financial planning, community resources and resource navigation, parenting around trauma, time management, and study skills; provide funding for transportation and childcare in order to help our students overcome their fire related obstacles and stay in school; and to support outreach/assessment efforts to increase our enrollment of low literacy, low income adults impacted by job loss due to the fire by ten or more students. Offering these additional resources is crucial in keeping our students in school. Once a hard to serve student drops out the statistics show very few return.

Our response to the fire was to reach out to our 90 students to understand the impact it had on them, their families, their neighbors and friends. With this information, we have developed a set of actions to mitigate the effects with the goal of keeping them in school and improving their options for employment. Also, our goal is to help others they know who were impacted by opening our workshops and services to their families and friends. The grant will supplement our current efforts.

The North Bay Fire Relief Fund (NBFRF) was created by Redwood Credit Union Community Fund to support the immediate needs of North Bay fire survivors in the four impacted counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake.

The Fund was created in partnership with The Press Democrat, Senator Mike McGuire and the Redwood Credit Union. 


2018 Literacyworks Lecture Series

Our new lecture series, Literacyworks and Copperfield’s Books Presents, starts next week with experimental psychologist STEVEN PINKER on Monday, March 12, 2018 at Copperfield’s Petaluma store. Dr. Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations and writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic. His current book is “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress". Purchase Tickets Here:

LELAND FAUST is up next on Sunday March 18, 2018 at the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, Petaluma SRJC campus. Leland founded CSI Capital Management. Since 1978, he and his firm have represented over one hundred NFL, NBA and MLB all stars, as well as many Grammy and Academy award winners. Leland Faust will be speaking on his book, “A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street is Fleecing You and Ruining America.” Purchase Tickets Here:

The rest of our speakers booked so far are:


Sunday April 8, 2018, Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall, 3:45-5:00 PM 1094 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma
Robert Bernard Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. His new book, “The Common Good,” is focused on why we must restore the idea of the common good to the center of our economics and politics. Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey is a former U.S. Representative for California's 6th congressional district serving Marin County and Sonoma County from 1993 to 2013. Tickets for "Robert Reich in Conversation with Lynn Woolsey" will go on sale Monday, March 12, 2018.


Sunday May 6, 2018, Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, Petaluma SRJC campus
Greg Sarris is an author, screenwriter, producer, scholar, professor and Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria. His most recent book, which will be featured at the lecture, is “How a Mountain Was Made: Stories.”


Sunday June 10, 2018, Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, Petaluma SRJC campus
Daniel Ellsberg is an American activist and former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers. His new book, “The Doomsday Machine,” is an eyewitness expose of the dangers of America’s top secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Peter Coyote is an accomplished actor, author, director, screenwriter and Emmy award narrator.


July 2018 (tentative date), Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, Petaluma SRJC campus
Chilean author Isabel Allende won worldwide acclaim when her bestselling first novel, "The House of the Spirits", was published in 1982. Since then, she has written 22 more works. Allende’s books, all written in her native Spanish, have been translated into 35 languages and have sold nearly 70 million copies. Michael Krasny is the host of KQED’s “Forum” program as well as a renowned author and educator.

Go to for the latest speaker list.

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Literacyworks Parents as First Teachers: Engaging Families to Increase Children's Literacy program works with low-literacy, low-income bilingual parents and children by training parents in the basic skills to encourage their children to become avid readers and writers. The goal is to help parents view their parenting role in a positive manner, have appropriate expectations of their children's achievements, prepare their children with the necessary skills to be successful in school, and establish and maintain positive relations with community resources, including libraries, schools, and community groups. Workshops are held throughout Sonoma county and the North Bay. We have two successful workshops under our belt so far with two more planned through summer.


September 2017: Literacyworks in the News

Ambassador Theodore “Ted” Eliot Jr. is our next Speaker


We are pleased to announce an afternoon with special guest Ambassador Theodore “Ted” Eliot Jr. (ret.). Ambassador Eliot served in the American Embassy in Moscow in the mid-‘50s at the height of the Cold War; in the American Embassy in Tehran the mid-1960s and for four and one-half years as Ambassador to Afghanistan. He then became Inspector General of the State Department. He was named Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Date:      Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
Time:      3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Place:     Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma campus (Carole L. Ellis Auditorium)
Address: 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway Petaluma, CA, 94954

This fundraiser will support low literacy, low income, highly motivated adults in the North Bay to access community college and technical education programs by providing scholarships, advising and support.

General Admission: $25. Seniors: $20. Free for students.
For tickets go to:
For questions, go to
Call Rita at Literacyworks: 707-981-8086
For more information email


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Dr. Krasny gave a well received lecture on the state of US education to a large crowd on Sunday, August 20, 2017 at the Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma campus (Carole L. Ellis Auditorium).

Thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, and supporters in making Literacyworks Lectures a success! 

Photo: SRJC President Frank Chong, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Michael Krasny at lecture.


Literacyworks received $50,000 from the Sonoma Wine Country Auction Fund the Future grant (through Community Foundation Sonoma County) competition for our project, Parents as First Teachers: Engaging Families to Increase Children's Literacy at the Literacyworks Center.

This pilot program's goal is to improve the literacy skills of our Center's bilingual parents and children through a combination of access to resources in the home and the community and by training parents in the basic skills to encourage their children to become avid readers. The goal is to help our parents view their parenting role in a positive manner, have appropriate expectations of their children's achievements and establish and maintain positive relations with community resources, including libraries, schools, and community groups.

Literacyworks has been an early adopter in believing that children’s first teachers are their parents. We work with educational and literacy programs, including family literacy programs that serve children under 5, in libraries and community based organizations, throughout California and the Nation.

Because children develop reading and writing skills as they grow, family literacy takes place during daily routines in life as parents, children, and family members use literacy at home and in their community.

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Fall Semester Begins with 88 Literacyworks Center Students Enrolled in Classes

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In our efforts to further support our students, staff conducted a workshop on the Petaluma Campus of the JC on the Sunday before classes started. It was well attended and students were engaged and excited about the upcoming semester. As our students attend college for a number of semesters and started taking more classes, it is clear they are more relaxed and engaged in the campus community. The focus of the workshop was assisting students in accessing their personal information on the college’s on-line portal. We also discussed the importance of working with the college’s counseling faculty and developing an Education Plan. Immediately after the workshop, students were invited to attend the Center’s speaker series. Michael Krasny was the featured speaker and the topic of his talk was appropriately focused on education.

Featured Student: Imelda Macia

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Imelda Macias was our student speaker at the Michael Krasny lecture. She is a mother of 5 and a grandmother attending SRJC Petaluma. Her goals include learning English and eventually becoming a nurse so she can give back to her community. As she spoke it was increasing evident that Imelda had much to offer all of us. Her selfless, altruistic nature shows through her words, smile and intentions. Each of our students has a unique story. Imelda’s was an inspiration to the entire audience. She ended quoting poet Maya Angelou: 

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."

Blimey! It's September Facts!

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September 8: International Literacy Day calls attention to the global need to increase access to children's books in the home and provide ways for families to build home libraries and encourage their kids to become lifelong readers

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day celebrates the history and speech from the Golden Age of Pirates. 

September 22: Native American Day celebrated

September is: Hispanic Heritage Month, National Courtesy Month, and Chicken Month

September 14, 1741: Composer George Frederick Handel finished Messiah after working on it nonstop for 23 days.

September 9, 1776: The United States came into existence as the Continental Congress changed the name of the new American nation from the United Colonies.

September 3, 1833: The New York Sun newspaper first appeared, marking the beginning of the 'penny press,' inexpensive newspapers sold on sidewalks by newspaper boys. The paper focused on human interest stories and sensationalism and by 1836 was the largest seller in America with a circulation of 30,000

September 1, 1875: Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) (Tarzan of the Apes, John Carter of Mars, At the Earth's Core) was born in Chicago. Before becoming a novelist, he was as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times