Sunday, July 30, 1989

READ/San Diego

People with determination and sensitivity - like Conchita Gutierrez
- are crucial to teaching the illiterate to Read on!
Evening Tribune: July 5, 1989 by Greg Joseph
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CONCHITA GUTIERREZ sees learning as the great hope in life, and the ability to
read and write as the surest means of fulfilling that hope.

It is an opportunity, she believes, that everyone deserves.

So Gutierrez -- a 63-year-old widow, mother of four and grandmother of one -- knew what she had to do last year when she heard that the San Diego Public Library was launching its READ/San Diego adult literacy program to help people with impaired reading and writing skills.

Gutierrez, a homemaker from University City, went to READ/San Diego headquarters in East San Diego and volunteered to do anything she could to make the program succeed.

That was in June of 1988.

Since then, Gutierrez has spent more than 1,000 hours as a volunteer in the program -- or about five times the amount of time devoted by most volunteers, according to officials -- doing everything from tutoring a young mother several times a week to working in various administrative and clerical capacities at READ/San Diego headquarters.

And she's far from finished. She will become manager of a READ/San Diego center to open in North Park in September, even while continuing with her present duties. All will be on a volunteer basis.

For her efforts, Gutierrez was just honored as the program's volunteer of the year.

In all, 425 volunteers have participated in the program and helped about 350 people, according to Chris McFadden, adult literacy coordinator for READ/San Diego.

. . . Continued
There are 27 million Americans who don't know how to read -- 4 1/2 million functionally illiterate in California and an estimated 350,000 such people in San Diego County.

READ/San Diego is staffed by literacy professionals who oversee volunteer reading tutors, who in turn receive comprehensive training and generally meet their students twice a week for a total of three hours at one of the 32 San Diego city libraries or at a mutually convenient tutoring site.


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