Thursday, October 15, 2015

Newport Beach Library :: International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day :: Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy
Literally Speaking: September/October 2015

Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy proudly held their annual event to celebrate adult literacy and the program participants.  The International Literacy Day event invites the NMPL family of tutors, learners and volunteers to come together with members of the community to celebrate adult literacy. On September 10, 2015, a gathering of nearly 150 guests listened to heartwarming stories, inspiring speeches and enjoyed a delicious selection of food from many different countries from all over the world provided by the adult learners.

                                            Renee Hoffman Heath and Risa Hoffman for keeping their
                                            mother's legacy going by allowing us to continue the Hoffman
                                            Award for our learners. This year's winners are Maja Kuta and
                                            Carmen Caicedo who, with their tutors Tanya Gulati and Allan
                                            Segal, accomplished some amazing goals.

Advisory Board member Roman Darmer welcomed guests and spoke of the importance of literacy.  Roman introduced Newport Beach Public Library Director Tim Hetherton, who emphasized the importance of literacy and libraries.

Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich took to the podium to present a special proclamation designating September as Literacy Awareness month.

Adult learner, Crystal Huang, shared her experience of traveling with her family from Taipei, Taiwan in search of a better education environment for her son. Her son has since attained a postgraduate degree. Crystal joined the Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy program in early 2015 and aspires to one day work at an orphanage and help others.

Literacy Coordinator Cherall Weiss then introduced Risa Hoffman and Renee Hoffman-Heath, daughters of the late Rochelle Hoffman for whom the Memorial Award was named. They spoke of their mother’s dedication and love of tutoring.  They introduced the two winners of this year’s Hoffman Award.
-Ms. Hoffman introduced volunteer tutor, Ms. Tanya Gulati, who spoke to the audience about her learner, Maja Kuta’s tremendous accomplishments. Maja graciously thanked Tanya and expressed her difficulties with dyslexia and how NMPL has helped her reach her goals. She spoke about her artistic passion and how the program has assisted her in pursuing her dreams. Maja signed a deal as an artist for a comic book, and is grateful to be given such an extraordinary opportunity.

Next, the guests were introduced to tutor Alan Segal and his learner Carmen Caicedo, who is originally from Venezuela. She entered the program at a 2nd grade reading level and through her hard work is now at a 5th grade level. NMPL has enabled her to be confident in her abilities to speak and write in English.  Carmen shared her new goal with the group: to become a nurse.

Following the speakers, Cherall Weiss closed with a reminder that illiteracy is all around us and it is thanks to the many volunteers that, day by day, people’s lives are being changed for the better.

Each attendee was presented with a copy of In Our Own Words, a collection of stories and essays written by learners in the Literacy Program. They were also given a key to remind them to help ‘unlock the potential.’
Guests enjoyed a delicious fruit and cheese arrangement donated by Bristol Farms and exciting new beverages donated by drinkNeuro.

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