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Arlington reads newsletter_10-11

  1. 1. Live, Learn, Connect, Grow ARLINGTON READS Arlington, Texas 
 November 2011 LITERACY HOUSE OPENS Above: Fourth-grader Diana Calvo proudly displays her Fitnessista journal. IN THIS ISSUE Editor’s Note........................2 O n September 15, Arlington Reads celebrated the opening of The Literacy House and its new partnership We are grateful for everyone who attended our housewarming celebra- tion and would like to thank our key- Our Impact...........................3 with Arlington Rotary Club and the First note speakers. “You’re never too old to GED Inspirations...............4-5 United Methodist Church. The generous learn how to speak and read,” Mayor Kids Make Slime, support of these partners has made this Cluck remarked. “And that’s what this New Friends.........................6 space available as a community center is about.” Indeed, we look forward to The Keys to Success.............7 for literacy programs and a resource for serving an even greater number of stu- Read & You’ll Be...................7 volunteers and students. dents through this new location. Working for Literacy.............8 Kim’s Story............................9 LITERACY HOUSE Learning at Hugh Smith.......9 AT A GLANCE Volunteer.Inspire...............10 Location: 101 E. North St., Arlington, TX 76010 Phone: 817-460-2727 Hours: M-Th: 10-9p, F/Sat: 10-5p
  2. 2. editor’s noteLiteracy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily sponsored the summer Fitnessistaslife in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and to participate in our Book It for Literacy 5K/1-mile fundraiser. Thea building block of development, an essential complement girls spent the summer learningto investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. about health literacy and ran in — Kofi Annan the race to celebrate and solidify their learning. It was FIT-tastic! We achieved a promisingA s we reflect on FY 2011, it has been an partnership with Arlington ISD this exciting time for Arlington Reads. The year, allowing us to support early need for services increased dramatically, childhood literacy developmentwith an estimated 3,225 students that totaled in parents. Arlington Reads20,358 classroom hours. A well-rooted menu of implemented classes for parents andliteracy programs allowed us to branch out and children in 18 Title 1 AISD elementaryreach for the sky. Arlington Reads expanded its schools as well as for expectingprograms for adult, youth and early childhood and parenting teenagers enrolledliteracy and cultivated community partners. in the PEP program at six AISD high Workplace literacy is increasingly important schools.Through generous donationsin today’s economy. After successfully from Life Through Literacy, March about the editor of Dimes and AISD PEP, we createdcompleting one year of workplace ESLat Arlington Memorial Hospital, we not Yoko Matsumoto is the print-rich home environments for theonly eagerly continued the program into Library Service Manager babies of expecting and parenting overseeing literacya second year, but also expanded from teens. They received a new board programming at theone class to two. We wanted to encourage Arlington Public Library. book to add to their home collectionstudents to continue their learning as well as each time they attended a session.provide opportunities for new students. In addition to AMH, Crowne Plaza These were a few of our majorbecame a partner in our workplace ESL program and has seen similar success. accomplishments this year. We With all our growth, space became a bit of a challenge. That is, until we would not have been able to achievefound a fabulous and very charming answer to our problem. In collaboration so much without the continuedwith First United Methodist Church and Arlington Rotary Club, Arlington support of our community. The hardReads acquired the use of The Literacy House along with an existing basic work and countless hours of ourliteracy, Pre-GED and GED program, Read with Rotary. Our joint effort dedicated volunteers and studentsprovided additional classroom space and expanded our literacy programs. Our and generous donations fromhousewarming party honoring our partners and celebrating literacy hosted individuals in our community arean estimated 120 guests -- a warm show of support from our community! the true treasures of our program. Arlington’s youth also enjoyed exciting new programs. Arlington Reads Many of us have the desire toexpanded its homework help program, The Learning Zone, to the Southeast make a difference in the world, in ourBranch Library. Summer brought a fun, new program -- Math & Science Camp -- community, and in our life. Engagewhere students planted Tickle Me Plants, built mini-robots, and engaged in other in positive change. Be a part of thehands-on learning projects. Girls between the ages 8 to 11 had the opportunity solution. How meaningful would itto become fabulous Fitnessistas! Arlington Reads supported health literacy be to support a program -- eitherthrough its Fitnessista program, designed to teach the importance of healthy through your time or donations --eating, exercise, self-esteem, and goal setting. This program was implemented that fosters strength in individuals,at five AISD/21st Century elementary schools as well as a summer program leads to strength in families, andat the George W. Hawkes Central Library. Individuals from our community builds strength in communities? 2 To learn more about Arlington Reads, call 817-459-6985
  3. 3. OUR IMPACT Arlington Reads owes its success to the dedication of its students, vol- unteers, and community partners. In the fiscal year 2011, we made the following impact: Arlington Reads offers the following programs 187 volunteers served their community through Arlington Reads. to the community: 5,693 hours were dedicated to Arlington Reads by our volunteers. Adult Literacy 3,225 students participated in Arlington Reads’ programs. Citizenship Preparation English Conversation Circles 20,358 spent total number of hours our students and volunteers is the working together. ESL and Basic Literacy GED Preparation 87 ESL andproficiency. students advanced at least one level in English Basic Literacy Youth Literacy Fitnessistas 1,987 literacy goals were met by our students. Math & Science Camp 100% of Learning Zone students passed to the next grade level. The Learning Zone Workplace Literacy 100% of parents with children in Wee Reads say they have learned something new. Computer Classes 5 students began the GED exam, passing one or more sections. Workplace ESL 4 students got their GED, contributing $180,000 to Arlington annually. Family Literacy Lee y Serás 5 students obtained jobs. Life Through Literacy Wee Read 658 free books were given to families to help develop early childhood literacy skills. BOOKING IT FOR LITERACY A rlington Reads is proud to announce that its 2nd annual Book It for Literacy 5K/1M race was a great success! One-hundred and sixty five racers of all ages competed in the event, held at the beautiful River Legacy Park on August 13th, 2011. The participation of our 3rd- to 5th-grade Fitnessista healthy youth students made this year’s race extra special. We are grateful for all the support of our community in making this event unforgettable. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our 3rd annual race on August 11, 2012! Fitnessistas having a FIT-tastic time at the race!or visit our website at 3
  4. 4. S [GED INSPIRATIONS]CONFESSIONS OF A GED COORDINATORArlington Reads’ Catherine Wilson weighs in with her most rewarding and hardest moments as GED Coordinator. ome days it’s rough being a Workforce Literacy Coordinator her study goals. Afterward, she in charge of a GED Preparation Program. I am responsible turned to me and said, “If you ever have a bad day, or feel like you really for recruiting volunteers, checking in regularly with our 120 hate your job, please remember students, problem-solving multiple unexpected scheduling this meeting. Because you get it. issues, and winging study sessions when a tutor can’t make it This is why you do this.” She is at the last minute-- all on top of regular data entry and program right. She is exactly why I do this. planning. The hardest part of my job, though, is having to say My students have their own “no” when we have no more room for additional students. specific inspirations for wanting Their stories are compelling -- one their GED certificate.student wants to go to college next year Some want a betterto develop a career in the computer job; others want to setindustry; another feels a deep desire to good examples; andprove to himself and others that, yes, he and others want toCAN do this; a third needs to be able to help be a more supportiveher young children with their homework. family member. MyEveryone has his or her own powerful inspiration comes frominspiration for striving for the GED. these inspired students As it can be hard for students to with whom I have theremember their inspirations when they privilege of working.are in the midst of heavy studying, my Every time a studentjob often turns to “cheerleader”. When learns how to divide and “My inspiration,” Catherine says, “comes from these in-students pass a section on their online spired students with whom I have the privilege of working.” multiply fractions, orstudy program, I try to always send amessage their way: “Nice work!! Keep it too! When I’m feeling overwhelmed, realizes she understands how to find theup!” Every bit of progress is essential for I’ll get a kind hug and a “Don’t worry! main idea in a paragraph, I can’t helpthese students if they want to succeed in You can do it!” from a student. I had but applaud! It keeps me going (andpassing the GED exam, and they should an evening meeting with a student this excited!) to see what else this amazingcelebrate every step toward that goal. week, where we made a solid study student will do – in her studies toward My students have helped cheer me on, plan to keep her on track to meeting the GED and in her life after. What Motivates Students to Earn their GED? Figure 1. The data in blue reflects Educational Reasons (College, Trade School, 64 Arlington Reads’ student Skills Certification, Job Training) responses to the question, Employment Reasons (Get First Job, Keep “Why is it important for you to Job, Get Better Job, Employer Required) earn your GED?” Many students Personal Reasons (Positive Role Model, had more than one answer. The Personal Satisfaction) data in red is from the “2010 GED Testing Program Statistical Social Reasons (Early Release, Court Order) Report,” which is available Military Reasons (Entering Military, online at Military Career) 0 20 40 60 80 % Texas Students % Arlington Reads Students4
  5. 5. Q & A WITH KIMBERLY This June, Kimberly Brown earned her GED. We checked in with her after she found out her excellent test results and asked if she’d be willing to answer some questions for us. Here are her responses. By Catherine Wilson Q: Why was it important for you to A: A bit unnerving, the tests weren’t get your GED? that scary, but there was a certain A: I had received a high school tension in the air, but that was diploma, but discovered when I mostly due to the time limit. went to apply for a college that it Q: How did you feel when you was from a non-accredited school. I walked out of the testing center? knew then and there if I wanted to A: I was confident and knew I continue my education I would need passed. There was a part in the to get a GED. Then we discovered back of my mind that I was nervous Arlington Reads and the rest as they about one subject because I just say is history. didn’t have enough time. In my Q: What was most helpful to opinion, they don’t give you enough you as you studied for the exam time for math. through Arlington Reads? Q: How did you feel when you got A: Having real people that you can your GED results back? be in contact with, by email or A: I was excited and amazed at my phone, even being able to ask for score. personal tutors when the classes Q: What do you plan to do with they already have don’t fit your your GED now? How does this af- schedule. fect your life plans? Q: What were your thoughts just A: I will be looking back into colleg- before you took the test? es, I’m currently decided between A: Wow, this is it. God you have all a trade school to learn a trade and knowledge, give me wisdom and work while I pursue my dream, or ifThis June, Kimberly Brown earned her GED. “I peace. I should just go for the dream andwas excited and amazed at my score,” she said. Q: What was it like taking the test? work the job I have while I do that.IN THE WORDS OF OUR STUDENTS We asked 65 Arlington Reads students what motivated them to earn their GED. Here are some of their inspiring responses. “So that I can better myself and get started on a career path.” “I really want to do something great with my life. It’s very hard without a diploma or GED.” “I need a GED to move into management.” “To earn a better income for my family.” “To get an education and make my kids proud of me.” “It is absolutely necessary for me to have an education for me to go further in life.” “To further my education for myself and my children. As well as provide a better life for them.” “To prove I CAN!”
  6. 6. KIDS MAKE SLIME& NEW FRIENDSAt Math and Science Camp, kids find out just how fun school can be!By Rachel FosterT his summer marked Arlington they thought would happen when From Left to Right: Josiah Guzman and Reads’ second annual Math we combined glue, borax, water, and Jibren Himsieh prepare for a chemistry and Science Camp. The four- food coloring. While many thought experiment; Carmen Esquivel, a 2ndweek camp offered an interactive that the materials would cause an grader, gets ready to perform a chemistrylearning environment where kids in explosion, we, in fact, made gooey experiment; Karen Martin, 3rd grader, slime. Blessing Umoeka, a fifth grader does an experiment involving naturalfirst to sixth grade learn and explore disasters.through science experiments and commented that her favorite part ofmath activities. Around 80 students camp was “making slime and making and science are used in everyday life.participated in the lessons, which new friends.” To most elementary-schoolcover concepts they learn in school. Along with science experiments, students, summer consists of water Each week students performed each lesson incorporated math parks and sleeping in. Arlington Readsexperiments focusing on physics, skills. To help build problem-solving sees Math and Science Camp as a funchemistry, biology, or botany. skills, students were given weekly and exciting way to continue learning,“Experiments were my favorite part word problems related to the area even when school is out. When askedof Math and Science Camp,” Emily being studied. For example, when why she thought math and scienceTran, a sixth grader, said. “I liked the class learned about the skeletal were important, Blessing answered,guessing what was going to happen.” system, they received a problem that “my teacher told me that we willStudents practiced using the scientific said, “A group of 4 people came to use math in almost everything wemethod by stating their hypothesis the hospital and received the same do in life, so I know it’s important toand comparing their guess to the number of x-rays. If there are 32 practice.” Blessing is right; math andactual outcome of the experiment. x-rays total, how many x-rays did science are both important subjectsAfter a lesson on chemical reactions, each person receive?” Problems like to practice and explore. Who knewfor instance, students guessed what this one help students see how math practicing them could be so fun!
  7. 7. THE KEYS TO SUCCESS By Ann LuongArlington Reads’ Ann Luong reflects on what she’s learned as a Workforce Literacy Coordinator.I t has been so long since the first email appear in her friend’s inbox, not have come about without time I touched a mouse that I she gasped at her accomplishment. our students’ persistence and our can’t remember how hard it was Her friend slapped her back in a volunteers’ patience and adjust. When I’m on the computer, congratulatory manner. “Look at Our goal is to help individuals gainthe mouse is an extension of my you!” she said. “Sending your first necessary skills to find a job. Over 250hand, and I command it with ease. email!” people have attended our computerIt hadn’t occurred to me that there In another class, students met with classes since January 2011. Not onlyare people who still have a hard time an instructor for 16 days to learn how have these individuals gained newwith this strange animal attached to to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, skills to list on their resume, butthe computer. My students struggle and Excel. They also created an email they’ve also learned new skills to helpjust to move the mouse where they account and a website. Some of them in their daily lives.want it or to highlight a piece of text. these students have never touched I’ve assisted with a fair shareI had to resist the urge to move it a computer before and others knew of computer classes. I teach thefor them and, instead, encouraged little about it. students a little something, and inthem to keep practicing. It’s not easy Often, at the beginning of class, return I learn a little something, too.getting used to a new body part. the instructor asks students to The best lesson they have taught me When students leave a class, we introduce themselves. A student, who is that it’s never too late to learn.hope that they have either learned had attended many of our classes,something new or have gained a introduced himself and said, “I knownew skill to list on their resume. how to use Microsoft Word, Excel,Our Computer Basics class is geared and PowerPoint. I can send emails,toward people who have never used transfer files to my USB, and attacha computer before. Sometimes, we my resume to my email. When Ihave these students sign up for an started with this program, I knew thisemail address during class and send much.” He held up a zero with hisan email to a classmate. In one class, hand. “And I’m here again to soak upa student sent an email to a friend whatever you have to teach me.”sitting next to her. When she saw the These accomplishments would READ AND YOU’LL BE By Ivonne Kieffer & Lori Frola A manda Castillo enrolled in better communicate with them.” Now, Arlington Reads’ Lee y Serás Amanda looks forward to David’s (Read & You’ll Be) program at bright future. “I see David getting an Morton Elementary School to help education,” she says. “He’s got a lot of her son David. Worried when David plans ahead of him.” had not begun to talk or interact Lee y Serás empowers parents to with others by age three, she started foster early language skills in children bringing him to the weekly classes. As a ages zero to five. In the fiscal year result, she says, David has opened up. 2011, Arlington Reads held Lee y Serás “He loves the songs. He’ll come to me classes in 18 Arlington ISD schools. For and he’ll be like, “Toot toot, toot toot,’” six weeks, parents learned how fun she says, referring to the song “Baby activities, such as singing songs and Shark.” reading books, would prepare their Above all, Amanda says, “I learned children for kindergarten. how to work with my kids. How to Left: Amanda, with her son David. 7
  8. 8. Sally Lochner:COA Volunteer of the Month This past June, the City of Arlington namedSally Lochner volunteer of the month. She is oneof Arlington Reads’ most dedicated volunteers.She makes a difference in the lives of others asboth an ESL teacher and a tutor for The LearningZone, Arlington Reads’ 1st to 3rd-grade literacyprogram. In the time that Sally has been a volunteer withThe Learning Zone, her student, Ariel Gonzalez,has advanced in both reading and math. “I’ve seenher grow up,” Sally says of Ariel, “and I’ve grownbecause I’ve been able to be around children.”Sally is an inspiration to her students and to usall. Arlington Reads is proud and honored to haveher work with us.Working for Literacy at AMHBy Glory Dalton The basement of Arlington Memorial Hospital’sMcRae building is not a quiet place -- at least noton Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Walkingdown the hall, the sounds of enunciation,conversation and laughter resonate. Twice aweek, hard-working AMH employees take anhour out of their day to practice their English. Not only do the students give two hours toofficial class time, they also complete homeworkassignments, study, and practice, practice,practice! Some students even attend additionalESL classes offered at the library. The resultscan be seen both in the students’ willingness toparticipate in class activities and their personalreports of increased confidence when conversingin English. Maria Heredia, for example, says she is morecomfortable talking to her children’s teachers.English class has helped give her the skills sheneeded to speak English more naturally, withless worry about making mistakes. Rosa Zacarias is thankful for English classbecause she used to be very shy when speakingEnglish. She worked in the laundry for yearswhere she never had to speak English and whenshe moved to housekeeping, all of a sudden sheneeded to speak it every day with the patients.English class has given her the confidence sheneeds to do her job properly.
  9. 9. KIM’S STORY At Wee Read, families learn life skills that prepare kids for school. LEARNING AT HUGH SMITH By Kim Tran by Kaley Horton T he Senior Recreational Center, located next to the Hugh Smith Recreation Center, experienced a vibrant schedule change this spring when it became the new home for The Learning Zone, Arlington Read’s after-school tutoring program for first through third graders. Pairing volunteer tutors with an elementary school student, the program primarily focuses on reading, writing and math, but tutors are also equipped to handle whatever the student’s homework entails. “My tutor always Arlington Reads’ Kim Tran works with families to teach school-readiness. helps me get my homework done in C Learning Zone because my teacher isn’t an you remember your first day in class away from your mother? always able to help me when I have It’s tough. You feel abandoned. For the first time, you’re away from problems in school,” fourth-grader your family; you’re in a new building filled with strangers. This shock Belen Esquivel said. is a challenge for many children who have never experienced a classroom One hundred and four tutors environment. At the Arlington Public Library, children can transition into a volunteered with The Learning Zone classroom setting in a fun and family friendly environment. this year to promote the importance Twice a week, I have the honor to teach the Wee Read class in the of early academic achievement. The Arlington Public Library. Here, parents and children work together to Learning Zone draws a large crowd develop life skills and classroom skills. This provides a stepping-stone for of high school and college students, children to connect the comfort of their family to the newness of school. who often volunteer because they are Within just a year, I have seen children grow and become more curious already interested in education. The about the world. I have also seen parents become more involved in their experience has turned many younger children’s mental development. Parents are the first and most important tutors into future teachers. “I feel like teachers in a child’s life. In order to further support parents, Arlington volunteering with the Learning Zone has Reads plans to establish a library of online videos and educational reinforced my decision to be a teacher,” techniques for parents to access from their homes. said college freshmen Nereida Mendez. The families who come to my class inspire me. I get to see parents teaching their children essential classroom skills. I’m able to meet multiple generations of the same family and see the love they have for their children. I’m proud to offer a program that is a catalyst for families to come together. It is a program that opens the doors to other educational opportunities and incorporates the library into the daily lives of parents and children. Through Wee Read, Arlington Reads is building connections within the family and, in turn, creating a stronger community. 

  10. 10. [VOUNTEER.INSPIRE] THE PLACES YOU’LL GO “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.” - Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. SeussA t the end of each of my Life Through Top Left: Catherine Wilson, Lori Frola, Kim Tran, Glory Dalton, Ann Luong, Yoko Matsumoto, Debbie Literacy classes, I share Dr. Seuss’s Tran; Bottom Left: Dezra Loving, Himani Reddy, Lisa Ungemach, Kathryn Flowers, Ivonne Kieffer Oh, The Places You’ll Go withthe teen students. It is my way of saying VISTAS GOING FAR Wfarewell and sharing with them my faith intheir abilities and in their bright futures. It ith the start of the new fiscal year, Arlington Readsfeels natural to share some of Dr. Seuss’s welcomed four new AmeriCorps VISTAs to its team: Dezrawords now to you all as I prepare to end my Loving, Himani Reddy, Lisa Ungemach, and KathrynAmeriCorps VISTA tour at Arlington Reads. Flowers. Debbie Tran also joined our team as a program specialist. I have been with Arlington Reads for As we welcomed these new VISTAs, we also said goodbye tonearly two years and have been fortunate those who had completed their year of service. These VISTAs areto meet great people along the way. I going places! This fall, Virginia Tran began her first year of medicalhave met “brainy” people and “footsy” school at Texas A&M University. Kaley Horton started a secondpeople who have made Arlington Reads VISTA year at United Way of Austin while pursuing a Masters degreespecial to both the Arlington community at Texas State University. Rachel Foster used the skills she honedand to me. I am grateful for those who at Arlington Reads to begin a new career at a dental practice inhave shared their knowledge and time Frisco, and Lori Frola continued her service work as a Peace Corpswith our ESL, GED, and many other volunteer.literacy students. Without our “brainy and Founded in 1965, AmeriCorps VISTA is the national servicefootsy” volunteers, we would not have program designed to fight poverty. VISTAs, or Volunteers In Servicebeen able to serve over 2,000 people so To America, commit to a year of full-time service while receiving afar this year and help them achieve their modest living stipend. To learn more, visit goals. I applaud these volunteersfor their dedication and commitment. I encourage you all to look at your Other Ways to Help If tutoring isn’t for you, consider giving in another way:strengths and see how you can supportliteracy. If you have time to volunteer only Donate online at or call 817-459-6985.once, then we would love to have you for Sponsor a GED student to take the GED exam.a day. If your schedule allows for a longertime commitment, then we have literacy Host a book drive at your church or workplace. We have bagsstudents waiting for you! By sharing your available for collection.talents with others, we can ensure that we Sponsor or participate in our 3rd annual Book It for Literacy 5Kall are going to good places in the future. Race and Fun Run. -- Virginia Tran, Purchase an item on our Amazon or Target Wish Lists. Find the10 Special Projects Coordinator link at
  11. 11. Friends of Arlington Reads Arlington Reads’ literacy programs are funded entirely through grants and donations. We would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, donors, and partners, who make our work possible. DONORS & SPONSORSDebbie ViraghDADS Advisory FundSandra BrownLife Through LiteracyJoe BrunerArlington Rotary ClubFirst United MethodistChurch of ArlingtonTexas State LibraryArchives and CommissionLibraries for LiteracyNTRLSKeller Shirts & PromosYoBerry Frozen YogurtLynda BertramPaula HarbourMarcy PaulRoger A. DeFrangeLee Shqeir PARTNERS FIRE DEPARTMENT Arlington, TX St. Joseph the Apostle Church Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church 11
  12. 12. Join Us! Yes! I support Arlington literacy programsI 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 InformationName:_________________________________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