Our Mission

The purpose of The Literacyworks Center is to assist underserved, below-basic-skills adult students in solving the many educational, personal and logistical challenges they must face to stay in school and succeed in work. The Center is providing advising, mentoring and scholarship support (through the Adult Literacy Awards) that help break persistence barriers to school completion such as transportation, childcare and tuition. As a further service, The Center is also dedicated to creating a stronger pipeline between qualified students seeking good jobs and local employers.


The Plan 

  • The Center is partnering with adult students to achieve their goals by providing personalized support, long-term educational advising and performance- and need-based Adult Literacy Awards to help break persistence barriers. Our experienced and caring staff is supporting highly motivated students in charting a course towards a more prosperous future.

  • The Center is collaborating with our local partners, including Santa Rosa Junior College, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, West Marin Community Services, Center Point of Marin and Sonoma County Library Adult Literacy Program, to refer highly motivated adults from their programs.

  • The Center is collaborating with state and national institutions, post-secondary schools, literacy organizations, service agencies, employers, workforce development partners and others to increase their capacity to effectively support the populations they serve, particularly with a focus on at-risk or underserved populations. The Center is linking theory and practice through research, professional development and partnerships, building and sharing best practices through national educational connections with the goal of becoming a national model and resource.


OUR PARTNERS 

We want to sincerely thank our founding funding partners: the Federated Indians of Graton RancheriaThe Codding Foundation, Marin Community Foundation and our many individual donors. We also want to acknowledge our current referring partners: Santa Rosa Junior College, the North Bay Children’s CenterCenter Point of Marin and West Marin Community Services.

The Literacyworks Center, partnering with Santa Rosa Junior College, opened July 1, 2015 on the SRJC Petaluma Campus. Providing face-to-face and digitally enabled personalized support, and long-term monitored advising, The Center is helping underserved adults in the North Bay complete their educational goals and increase the likelihood of career success. With the support of the North Bay community, The Literacyworks Center looks forward to providing many years of service fulfilling its ultimate vision of a stronger local community and economy through education. 


Literacyworks Center Year Two Accomplishments 2016/2017 

The Center served 105 new and returning individuals in the academic year 2016/17.  Most are part-time students and most are working full-time.  Twenty-five of these students are from West Marin, an area that has historically been underserved, with little access to higher education.  Many live on ranches and are isolated from social services. One gentleman told staff that he wants to learn to speak English better so he can talk to his boss more effectively and do a better job on the ranch.  One mother told us she wants to learn to read better so she can help her children with their schoolwork. 

In our second full year of operation Literacyworks Center continues to support adults with low literacy skills get access to education that improves their quality of life and employment opportunities.  Basic literacy and numeracy are critical for individuals to climb the social latter and achieve their personal goals as well as to contribute to society and their local community.  We see literacy as a matter of social justice. 

By providing financial, educational and counseling support to our highly motivated adult learners, they can prepare for the GED, or improve their English, writing, and math skills, or explore vocational programs.  Through a series of small group workshops the staff of Literacyworks Center attempts to strengthen student confidence while exploring personal goals and challenges.  It is our intent to have these cohort groups become mutually supportive of one another to further enrich their educational experience.

The workshop topics cover time management, study skills, goal setting and how to register for classes. We are planning to add financial literacy, health literacy and a family parent reading program focused on the importance of parents reading to their young children.  We see the Center as a family literacy program.

Demographics profile of our students:

  • 72% are female
  • 36% between 22- 29 years
  • 56% between 30 – 49 years
  • 7% 50 years or over
  • 5 students identified as American Indian
  • 2 as Asian
  • 6 as Black
  • 72 as Latino
  • 16 as Multi-Ethnic
  • 1 as Pacific Islander
  • 3 as White

ADULT LITERACY AWARD CRITERIA

The award goes to our students who are:

  • Accepted into the Literacyworks Center program or vetted by Literacyworks
  • Highly motivated as determined by referral partners and Literacyworks Center staff
  • Economically disadvantaged 
  • Low basic literacy skilled
  • Enrolled as an SRJC student (includes non-credit Basic Skills and ESL courses)
  • Maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.00 (if applicable)
  • Preference is given to economically disadvantaged students under 30 years of age, or students over 30 years of age with children.

STORIES ABOUT A FEW OF OUR STUDENTS

Juan is a hardworking man often putting in 60 plus hours a week at his construction job.  He is supporting four dependent children and his wife.  Juan successfully completed his ESL class in fall of 2016 and is now taking college level English.  He wants to continue taking classes and eventually become an electrician.

One of the Center’s participants is a single mother of two.  She has struggled in school her entire life and as a result lacks confidence.  She attends GED preparation classes four days a week.  She recently contacted program staff to report she had passed the first area test of the GED.  She was crying with happiness.

A student from West Marin, who has three young children and was, recently widowed supports herself by cleaning houses.  She is taking ESL classes at night on the Santa Rosa JC Petaluma Campus.  Literacyworks Center has provided her with financial support and one to one tutoring.  She is extremely enthusiastic and is doing very well in school.  She is confident that she will reach her educational goals.


NEWS

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Center's Congressional Recognition

The Literacyworks Center received special Congressional recognition by Congressman Jared Huffman on the opening of our new Santa Rosa Junior College classroom saying, “Your collective work to ensure that all individuals have the skills, support and opportunities to thrive in a complex and inter-connected world through literacy is making a positive difference in many, many lives. Thank you for your effective programs and generosity of spirit, and congratulations on your grand opening.”


Petaluman Rebeca Gutierrez has long dreamed of obtaining a degree in child development, but her path to success has been riddled with struggles. Gutierrez grew up on a ranch near Valley Ford before getting married at 17, just after she graduated from Petaluma High School. She enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2009 before getting pregnant with her first son, taking a year off from school and then dropping out for another semester after the birth of her second son. She returned to the community college, but was again knocked off course when she had to travel to Mexico with her family after an accident that ultimately claimed mother’s life last year. Gutierrez said juggling her aspirations of getting an education and launching a career working with children while taking care of her two sons on a limited income proved to be a struggle, and she found herself immersed in grief from her mother’s death. “Literacyworks just made me feel very encouraged to stay in school and finish what I wanted to accomplish,” the 25-year-old said. “I don’t think I would have been this close to finishing without it, because without financial support, there’s not much I can do.” (from Argus-Courier article September 25, 2016: Hannah Beausang staff writer)

Petaluman Rebeca Gutierrez has long dreamed of obtaining a degree in child development, but her path to success has been riddled with struggles.

Gutierrez grew up on a ranch near Valley Ford before getting married at 17, just after she graduated from Petaluma High School. She enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2009 before getting pregnant with her first son, taking a year off from school and then dropping out for another semester after the birth of her second son. She returned to the community college, but was again knocked off course when she had to travel to Mexico with her family after an accident that ultimately claimed mother’s life last year.

Gutierrez said juggling her aspirations of getting an education and launching a career working with children while taking care of her two sons on a limited income proved to be a struggle, and she found herself immersed in grief from her mother’s death.

“Literacyworks just made me feel very encouraged to stay in school and finish what I wanted to accomplish,” the 25-year-old said. “I don’t think I would have been this close to finishing without it, because without financial support, there’s not much I can do.”

(from Argus-Courier article September 25, 2016: Hannah Beausang staff writer)

 

STUDENT VOICES

Here are a few examples of how grateful our students are for the support the Literacyworks Center is providing them.  All these quotes are from letters written to us this year: 

“As a mother of five children, I would like to be a role model for them and show them that life is not easy, but they can make their dreams possible and their goals reachable by furthering their education. I have no words to express the gratitude I feel for this program. Thank you so much!”
“I would like to thank you with all my heart for helping people like me. You have motivated me to move forward. I am able to learn and accomplish my goals thanks to your support.”
“I work as a full-time preschool teacher, which gives me very little time to go to school and study. The Center has not only helped, financially, but also created a connection. Literacyworks is always checking on me and giving support in any way they can (meetings, tutoring, emails and phone calls). Due to this help, I am closer to my goal of obtaining my AA and becoming an interpreter.”
“As a mother of three beautiful children and wife of a dairy farm worker, I strive to do my very best. I am currently focusing on obtaining my ESL certificate and later I will pursuer the Vocational Nursing program with confidence of becoming an RN. Thank you again for your generosity and support. I promise I will work very hard and ultimately give something back to others once I become a nurse and an active member of my community.”
I thank God for having you in my life at the right time. I truly appreciate your help. Thank you, because this helps and encourages me to push myself even more to make my dream of becoming a nurse come true. This opportunity shows that anything can be achieved if we work hard and that there are people like you who help us to achieve our goals. Thank you so much for helping students have brighter futures.”
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you for your financial support, through the Literacyworks program. I am a single mom of two and I care for my grandma too while working full time as a preschool teacher. Because of your caring and generosity am able to attend Santa Rosa JC and accomplish my dream of obtaining a college degree. So on behalf of my family and I, thank you.!”
“Thank you for helping me and giving me this opportunity to continue my educational goal. This really helps me and encourages me to keep going. As a first generation Mexican-American student, and a low-income family man, it is really difficult for my mother and I to survive in this world. This program has changed my life and has impacted it in many positive ways. I am blessed and I promise I will not let you guys down. Thank You!”
I want to thank you. The Literacyworks award means more than you will ever know. It shows me that someone else believes that I can and will succeed, and gives me much encouragement to keep pressing forward with my education. It’s people like you that keep young people like me working hard because we know that someone is ready and willing to invest in our future.
My goal is to pay it forward and offer help to someone who will be in my shoes in the future and bring them as much joy as you brought me. Bless your heart and thanks again.
I am a single mom. I want to study Child Development with the goal of working as a teacher’s aid. The financial aspect of attending college on one income was starting to make me reconsider my choice. The award you donated will eliminate that burden and allow me to continue on and finish my degree. Thank you. I will always be grateful.
I was raised in a foster home and education was not a priority. To survive was my main objective, so education looked far away and unreachable. I had doubts when I first applied for the Literacyworks Center; it sounded too good to be real. I know I have a lot to learn, but this has inspired me to continue my education.
Your support means more than you will ever know. It shows me that someone else believes that I can and will succeed and give me much encouragement to keep pressing forward with my education. Thank you for investing in our futures!
It is comforting to know that there are altruistic people out there willing to lend a hand to others, and I am inspired to help others the way you have helped me. Studying engineering at SRJC is an incredible experience, as it is a step towards fulfilling my life goals. I cannot wait to demonstrate my abilities. Thank you!
The Literacyworks Center has granted me reassurance that there is help. With this help, I feel confident in continuing my journey to higher education and also serve as a role model for my children. Once again, thank you so much for this opportunity.
I am a mother of two children and a housewife, for now. As a new immigrant, I’ve encountered many difficulties, especially language and finding a job. After completion of the ESL program, I am going to study pharmaceutical courses in the following year. I am very grateful for all your help. I will pass on this love to help more people who need help when I am capable in the future.
I really appreciate this opportunity to go back to school. I am a single mom of two wonderful students. I want to thank the Center so much because with your generosity, I can keep dreaming. Education is not only important for our kids, but also parents too. Education will allow us to have better jobs and will allow us to help our children with their homework. We will be able to understand and have conversations with teachers.
I could not be more thankful and I could not have done this without the support from Literacyworks. I can show up for class, do the work, and make good grades, for the Center has done all the hard work. It will be a major factor in my success at SRJC.