Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Santa Paula - Blanchard Community Library

Church donates its offerings to library's literacy program
Ventura County Star: August 23, 2004 by K Hibdon

Passing the plate at one Santa Paula church is helping to ensure the success of the Blanchard Library's Family Literacy: Aid In Reading program.

As part of its ongoing community outreach, the Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula recently donated more than $600 to the F.L.A.I.R. program, library officials said.

In order to be a more vital participant in the local community, the church last year began designating funds collected from the "Sunday plate" on the first Sunday of each month as community service funds.

The money is donated to a different local organization each calendar quarter.

The F.L.A.I.R. and Families for Literacy programs are free and serve the entire family, said Kathryn Bornhauser, Literacy Services coordinator for the Blanchard Library.

"We teach English reading, writing, math and job market skills by providing one-to-one volunteer tutoring for adults who need instruction in all academic areas.

"We also offer computer instruction in reading, written language and math skills," Bornhauser said.

The family literacy component involves parents with children 2 to 5 and focuses on making reading a family fun activity while stressing the importance of parents as early teachers.

The library is also in partnership with the Santa Paula School District to train and provide in-school volunteer tutors for children at risk.

In addition, the library offers an English as a second language program, using small classes, tutors, and English-language tapes and computer programs.

The goal of the programs is to provide opportunities for participants to develop basic education, job-market and parenting skills that will increase their value in the work force and enhance the probability that their children will stay in school, Bornhauser added.

"It is through grants and donations such as this one just received from Universalist Unitarian Church that these programs can continue to operate," she said.