Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Literacy In Libraries Around California +

Celebrating Adult Literacy —
Carolyn Livengood column: Helping wounded warriors
San Mateo County Times: June 19, 2008

Susan Wooldridge, author of "Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words," was keynote speaker at a celebration dinner, "You Are an Essential Piece," hosted by Project Read-North San Mateo County at the South San Francisco Municipal Services Building.

Donna Jones, an adult learner, and Patricia Rosado, a member of AmeriCorps and a past adult learner, emceed the event, which was held to recognize the literacy successes of its learners and tutors. AmeriCorps is a national volunteer program that allows people of all ages and backgrounds to devote a year of service in areas of education, public safety, human needs and the environment.

Wooldridge, a poet and teacher with California Poets in the Schools who works with adults and at-risk youth, talked about how words change and how they can have different meanings in different languages.

"My workshops are designed to make people feel excited about writing (and teaching) poetry," said Wooldridge, who showed a notebook she keeps in which she gathers words and even pictures. "I encourage everyone to play with language."

Learners Marcela Sauceda and Juliana Amaral and their tutor, Joel Tenorio; learner Maristel Llamanzares and her tutor, Rita Barichievich; and learner Ana Flores and Tom McCaffrey (who stood in for his wife, Laura, a tutor) all shared stories of how Project Read improved their lives and the friendships they have made.

Llamanzares, 22, was originally from the Philippines and now lives in Daly City. She came to Project Read in 2004 when she was working as a cashier at Manila Market in South City. She could not read or write at the most basic literacy level. "My first goals with my tutor, Rita, were to obtain my citizenship and driver's license, which I accomplished," Llamanzares said. "Next I wanted to vote and have been carefully following the current presidential campaigns."

Llamanzares is now in a Manila Market management position and attends Skyline College to keep improving her reading and writing skills while still working with her tutor.

Holly Fulghum-Nutters of Project Read presented certificates to 40 learners and their tutors. She was joined by South San Francisco Mayor Pedro Gonzalez and Main Library Director Valerie Sommer in welcoming the 120 people who attended the event.
Watch for more details about Project Read's annual Trivia Challenge, its major fundraiser, which will be Nov. 7 at the South City Conference Center.

To learn more about Project Read, call Holly Fulghum-Nutters at 650-829-3871.

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