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Arlington Reads Newsletter - March 2011


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Arlington Reads Newsletter - March 2011

  1. 1. Live, Learn, Connect, Grow Arlington, Texas ARLINGTON READS 
 March 2011 Book It for LiteracyAbove: Venture High School studentAndrea Aguilar learns the importanceof reading to her baby, Genesis Garcia,in her Life Through Literacy class. in this issueOur Impact...........................2 O n August 14, 2010, Arlington Reads hosted its inaugural 5K walk/run, Book It for Literacy. Ninety- ners, Arlington’s Departments of Parks and Recreation and Police and Fire, and by the generous donationsMinh’s Story.........................3 eight racers of all ages competed in given to us by The Runner, WholePartners for Workplace the event, held at the beautiful River Foods, and Costco. Mark your calen-Literacy.................................3 Legacy Park in north Arlington. The dars for our 2nd annual 5K race onSaving Lives through race was made possible by our part- August 13, 2011.Literacy.............................4 March of Dimes AGiving Back to Arlington........5 rlington Reads is grate-In the Wordsof our Students....................5 Partnership ful to its partner March of Dimes, whose generousVISTAs in Service donation of 2,000 books hasto Arlington..........................6 reached many students. MarchLife at Arlington Reads..........7 of Dimes continues to sup- port Arlington Reads through a $500 grant, which has been used to purchase copies of Baby Basics, given to moth- ers attending Life Through Literacy classes.
  2. 2. Our Impact Arlington Reads owes its success to the dedication of its students, vol- unteers, and community partners. In the fiscal year 2010, we made the following impact: Arlington Reads offers the following programs 189 volunteers served their community through Arlington Reads. to the community: 4,923 hours were dedicated to Arlington Reads by our volunteers. Adult Literacy 1,340 students participated in Arlington Reads’ programs. ESL and Basic Literacy Citizenship Preparation 11,763 spent total number of hours our students and volunteers is the working together. English Conversation Circles Online GED 110 ESL andproficiency. students advanced at least one level in English Basic Literacy Youth Literacy The Learning Zone 147 ESL and Basic Literacy students met a literacy goal. Fitnessistas 83% of Learning Zone students passed to the next grade level. Reader’s Theater Junior High Tutoring 100% of parents with children in Wee Reads say they have learned something new. Workplace Literacy 3 students passed the citizenship test. Texas Industry Specific ESL Computer Classes 3 students got their GED, contributing $135,000 to Arlington annually. Family Literacy 5 students obtained jobs. Life Through Literacy Wee Reads 62 families skills. free board books to help develop early childhood literacy received Lee y Serás Meet Rosaura When Rosaura Ambriz first came to Arlington Reads, she knew little English and had never graduated from high school. “My goals are to speak, understand, write, and read English,” she said. Now, three years later, she speaks English so well that family members in Minnesota rely on her as an over-the-phone translator at the doc- tor’s office and the supermarket. “It’s different now,” she says. “I can help my children with their homework.” Rosaura, with her daughter Dayana, who participates in Readers Theater, the Learning Zone, and Fitnessitas.



  3. 3. Partners for Minh’s Story Workplace Literacy W ith the generous support of North Texas Future Fund and Texas Health Resources, Arlington we realized we were getting so much more,” Preston Miller, Human Resources Director for AMH, said. Reads has expanded its workplace “[The participants] became more literacy programs into the commu- engaged in the organization and nity of Arlington. In February 2010, sought out every available learning Arlington Reads began teaching opportunity. This program has given English as a Second Language class- the participants a passion for learn- es and Texas Industry Specific Eng- ing which cannot be recreated.” lish as a Second Language classes to Results of a recent test mea- Minh, reviewing vocabulary words. staff members of Arlington Memo- suring English proficiency show that rial Hospital and Hyatt Place. The classes, which reach 26 84% of students at Hyatt Place ad- vanced at least one level. Arlington A lmost 238,000 adults in Tarrant County cannot read English well enough to follow a bus schedule or adults, teach basic literacy skills, Reads is grateful for the continued while concentrating on vocabulary support that NTFF’s Vice President read a story to their children. Minh specific to their students’ work- Carl Hecht and Vice President of Nguyen is no longer one of these places. By focusing on job-oriented Administration Valerie Hodges have adults. English, Arlington Reads and its provided for its workplace literacy For the past 16 years, Minh partners hope to facilitate communi- initiatives. has lived in Arlington, unable to speak, cation between employees and cus- Employees at Arlington Memorial Hospi- read, or write in English. Encouraged tomers. “Once the program started tal study English after work. by her husband and children, who speak the language fluently, Minh enrolled in three English as a Second Language classes at Arlington Reads. When asked what has moti- vated her to keep up her studies for three years, Minh insists, “If I learn, I can help others.” She speaks enthusias- tically about her Texas Industry Specific English as a Second Language course, where she practices the healthcare- related terms that will help her reach her long-term goal: to become a pa- tient-intake coordinator at a hospital. More important, however, she says knowing English allows her to better care for her children. Because of 
 her classes at Arlington Reads, Minh is 
 not only able to read stories to her son and daughter, ages 7 and 10, but she can also help them with their home- 
 work. With this in mind, she laughs easily when her children tell friends that “mommy goes to school, too.”


  4. 4. Saving Lives Clockwise, from left: VISTAs Kim Tran (center) and Virginia Tranthrough Literacy (left) lead parenting and expecting teen moms in a song that teaches children vowel sounds; LifeS Through Literacy student Melina tudies shows that more babies city,” he says, “I cannot think of one Flores practices asking her daugh- die each year in Arlington than more serious than the potential loss ter, Sophia, critical thinking ques-in almost any other city in Texas. of life of a baby. The issue is forced tions about the ball she’s playingArlington Reads has joined forces to become merely a statistic. We are with; Kim (right) instructs momswith Arlington Independent School standing up for them.” to identify the title of a bookDistrict, local non-profit Life Through The teens attending the pro- before reading it to their children;Literacy, the Arlington North Rotary gram speak of how much they have Life Through Literacy founder JoeClub, and Rotary District 5790 to learned. Christina Cruz, an expect- Bruner (left) awards the Arlingtonfight infant mortality. ing mom and senior at Venture High Public Library with a $5,000 dona- Arlington Reads’ Life School, says, “Point out the front, tion from the Arlington NorthThrough Literacy program seeks to cover, and spine of the books. These Rotary Club and the Life Throughcounter one of the leading causes are skills children need to learn before Literacy Foundation, to be usedof infant mortality -- poor mater- school. I have learned the importance to support Arlington Reads’ Lifenal health -- by educating new and of engaging both sides of the Through Literacy classes.expecting teen moms about prenatal brain and to read a book overcare, healthy lifestyle choices, mater- and over again for my babynity resources in the community, and to learn.” When asked if “Of all the issues facingearly childhood literacy. Reaching they would recommend themore than 60 students in seven local classes to others, 100 per- our city, I cannot thinkhigh schools, Life Through Literacy cent emphatically said yes.teaches students how to care for Through the gener- of one more serious thantheir babies and create lasting bonds ous donations of Lifethrough reading, singing, and playing. Through Literacy, Arling- the potential loss of life Life Through Literacy founderJoe Bruner sees the program as a way ton North Rotary Club and of a baby.” -- Joe Bruner Rotary District 5790, Arlingtonto “create productive families” while Reads has been able to purchase cop- port the purchase of a laptop com-reducing the rate of infant mortality ies of “Baby Basics” for each student puter and LCD projector, used whenand illiteracy. in the program. Funding from these conducting Life Through Literacy “Of all the issues facing our organizations has also helped sup- classes in Arlington ISD high schools.4
  5. 5. Giving Back to ArlingtonV olunteer ESL teacher Seth Bailey remembers a timewhen he spent long days in the li- pened” to him. In his classes, he focuses on the practical applica- tion of English. After teaching hisbrary, enjoying the luxury of time students to write their addressesthat retirement offers. One day, and telephone numbers, for ex-amid the silence of the library, he ample, he asks them to fill out theheard a distressed voice trying to relevant sections of a job applica-communicate in French. Fluent tion. Seth’s goal as a teacher is toin the language, Seth approached help his students become indepen-the man to help, unaware that this dent in everyday life and to impartexperience would change his life. a love of reading and discovering Seth quickly learned that new things.the man and his wife had recently “Arlington Reads fills aimmigrated from West Africa, great need for programs servicinghaving won a visa through the immigrants,” Seth says. “Pro-lottery system. With no knowl- gramming takes place with stu-edge of English, the couple faced dents in mind. The students whoa daily struggle to adjust to life seek out Arlington Reads have thein Arlington. The experience of will and drive to learn, they justseeing this couple burdened by need a teacher.”their inability to communicate The dedication Seth seeswith those around them motivated in his students motivates him toSeth to volunteer with Arlington keep teaching. “This is my call-Reads. ing,” he says, “my gift back to the Seth describes teaching as community.” Seth Bailey (left) instructs his ESL students.“the best thing that’s ever hap- “Keep working,” he said. “You can do it.”In the Words of our StudentsThe following message was sent to Arlington Reads’ Workforce LiteracyCoordinator Catherine Wilson from a student in our GED program.Catherine,I just wanted to say thank you to you come in contact with, through the with the program who don’t makeand this program. While I have not Arlington Reads program, so far, you feel stupid or inferior, that waspersonally met you, I have met Yoko, has made me feel very comfortable, a huge concern of mine, but afterand a few other people who have motivated, and good about the pro- meeting Yoko that first day to signmade this journey so positive. I have cess. Especially Richard, the com- up, I felt her sincerity in wanting tomy own personal struggles with munication in his class as well as help me. Her enthusiasm in the ori-feeling humiliated, having to get my the emails he sends, makes you (and entation class was wonderful! EvenGED, and even having to confess to hopefully everyone in class) feel like your emails, indicate the “want” tomy 14 year old, mom is not perfect! he not only wants you to succeed in help everyone learn..... very refresh-It was very hard to tell my son, but math, but to genuinely succeed pe- ing!he is my biggest supporter (along riod. I appreciate his time, it meanswith my husband). I just wanted you alot. Just wanted to thank you, for Thanks again! Mariato know, that EVERYONE, I have having such good people helping 5
  6. 6. VISTAs in Service to ArlingtonW hen Arlington Reads was first estab- lished as the literacy branch of theArlington Public Library, it was staffed by VISTAs Kayce Green (far right) and Rachel Foster (far left) pose with their Reader’s Theater AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteer in Ser-vice to America. Today, Arlington Reads ishome to nine VISTAS, who have expandedits programming from one early childhoodliteracy class to 13 programs, which spanyouth, adult, family, and workplace literacy. VISTA leader Kayce Green has spentnearly two years dedicated to ArlingtonReads. Raised in Missouri, Kayce was drawnto the opportunity to work with a literacyorganization by her desire to learn how tobest serve others. In college, she had workedwith refugees, teaching English as a SecondLanguage and preparing her students to sell When Kayce’s second leave behind a math and science-items at a farmer’s market. year of service ends in February, based youth technology center, At Arlington Reads, Kayce has she hopes to pursue the field of where college and high schoolfocused her attention on developing teen human rights. “Education ties students introduce junior highand “tween” literacy programs. Through her so much into human rights,” she students to the branches ofJunior High tutoring sessions and Reader’s says. Often, “ESL students get engineering. Arlington Reads isTheater program, she helps her students not taken advantage of because they thankful for her dedication to theonly build their reading and writing skills are scared, they don’t speak Eng- community of Arlington.but also gain self-confidence. “It’s small lish, and they aren’t citizens.” AmeriCorps VISTA iscommunities we’re helping,” she says. By For now, Kayce is work- the national service programhelping young adults to become literate, ing to ensure that Arlington dedicated to fighting poverty. ForArlington Reads is breaking the cycle of Reads serves the community well more information, visit www.poverty. into the future. She hopes to Meet Our Staff Left column, descending: Right column, descending: VISTA Lori Frola VISTA Catherine Wilson Public Relations Coordinator Workplace Literacy Coordinator VISTA Rebekah Welch Volunteer and Student VISTA Kaley Horton Coordinator Learning Zone Coordinator VISTA Virginia Tran VISTA Kim Tran Special Programs Coordinator Special Programs Coordinator VISTA Kayce Green VISTA Rachel Foster VISTA Leader Learning Zone Coordinator Center left: VISTA Cheirieamour Smith, Workplace Literacy Coordinator Center column, descending: Yoko Matsumoto, Library Service Manager - Literacy, Glory Dalton, Programming Specialist, Mary Arnold, Literacy Coordinator (Not pictured: Ivonne Kieffer and Dyan Anderson, Programming Specialists)6
  7. 7. Friends of Arlington ReadsArlington Reads’ literacy programs are funded entirely through grants and donations. We wouldlike to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, donors, and partners, who make our work possible.DONORS & SPONSORS Debbie Viragh DADS Advisory Fund Sandra Brown Life Through Literacy Joe Bruner Libraries for Literacy NTRLSPARTNERS FIRE DEPARTMENT Arlington, TX St. Joseph the Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church Apostle Church 77
  8. 8. Make a Difference! Arlington Reads empowers children and adults to break the cycle of poverty and underachievement. We need your support to continue our work. By becoming a volunteer, you can improve the lives of others through the power of education. No previous teaching experience is required. Above: VISTA Rachel Foster reads with her Learning Zone student Edwin Alvarado. Right: Learning Zone student Kevin Palacios practices reading strategies with his tutor, Quaneshala Johnson. Left: ESL student Yanping Ling (right) works with tutor Ryan Gal- lagher to improve his speaking skills.8
  9. 9. “The best part of this opportunity is that Arling- ton Reads offers flexible schedules and formats for the volunteer. You want to teach a small class? They got you covered. You want to be a one- on-one tutor? They can get you set up with that, too. I encourage you to inquire.” -- Ryan Gallagher, ESL Tutor Above: In Life Through Literacy class, par- ents practice songs that their babies will love to sing along to! Right: Reader’s Theater participants Steve Avila, Paola Cepeda, Luna Shqeir, and Aidee Barajas perform the script they have written for the book “Peter Pan.”Other Ways to HelpIf tutoring is not for you, please consider giving in one of the following ways: Purchase an item on our Amazon Wish List. Find the link at Become a sponsor or participant in our annual Book It for Literacy 5K Race and Fun Run. Host a book drive at your church or workplace. We have bags avail- able for collection. Did you have a favorite book as a child? Share it through donation. Challenge your friends on Facebook to pledge a small donation on the Arlington Reads Facebook page. Donate online at or call 817-275-3321. 9
  10. 10. Join Us!
 Yes! I support Arlington literacy programs I would like to volunteer with: I would like to donate a tax-deductible gift of: Adults Early Childhood Learning (0-4 years) $10 $50 Children (grades 1-3) Other Duties $25 $100 Other amount of $__________________ Donor/Volunteer Contact Information Name:_________________________________ Address:_____________________________ City:____________________ State:_______ Zip:________ Phone:__________________________________ Email:_______________________________________ Payment Options Check is attached (made payable to the Arlington Public Library Foundation) Credit Card (circle one) AMEX VISA MC Disc Name as it appears on card:___________________________________ Card #:_______________________________ Exp. Date:____________ Signature:____________________________ Date:________________ Mail to: Arlington Public Library attn. Arlington Public Library Foundation 101 East Abram Street Arlington, TX 76010 817-459-6900