Literacyworks was able to secure operations funding in 2015 through the generosity of Redwood Credit Union, the Federated Indians Of Graton Rancheria, and other private donors to open the Center in July 2015, just in time for the Santa Rosa Junior College Fall 2015 semester. The Center staff includes a director, Chris Schultz, and administrative assistant, Rita Sorpranith. Literacyworks Executive Director, Paul Heavenridge, will provide his college counseling and administrative expertise as in-kind.
Literacyworks was able to secure a private family foundation grant for the Literacyworks Center’s Adult Literacy Award. Working with the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation and the SRJC Scholarship office, this funding goes to providing scholarships to students and cannot be used for Center operations. Each student award is vetted by Literacyworks and will be offered each year up to seven years only as long as the Literacyworks Center remains open.
Adult Literacy Award Criteria
The award goes to adults 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.
In 2015, 163 SRJC Students received the Adult Literacy Award.
Fall Semester 2015: Status of Center Students
- Thirty-three students were enrolled in the Literacyworks Center Fall Semester program. Five of these students live in Marin County and 28 live in Sonoma County.
- Seven of these students were from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria who are completing their GED. The Graton Rancheria community is a federation of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo groups recognized as a tribe by the US Congress whose members include the Miwok of West Marin County.
- One student was from ‘Gateway to College’, a collaborative program between Santa Rosa Junior College and Petaluma School District which promotes high school completion and college attendance.
- Twenty of the 33 students were staff and parents from North Bay Children’s Center.
- There are 164 parents from North Bay Children Center’s that are potential students in the program. Their children attend schools in Novato and Sonoma County.
Spring Semester: List of Current Activities as of May 2016
Literacyworks Center has reached its target enrollment number of 76 students for the Spring Semester and is now developing a waiting list for the fall of 2016.
- We started with 25 Center students Fall Semester 2015. Twenty-four reenrolled for classes and continued in Spring Semester 2016. Our one dropout got a job. We have enrolled an additional 52 students to the program who are taking classes Spring Semester 2016.
- We currently are working with and supporting 3 individuals from Center Point Inc. in San Rafael. They are enrolled at Santa Rosa JC. Two are first time college students and one has previous college but has struggled. These students have been identified and referred by the director of Center Point who believes they are ready to succeed in college. Literacyworks Centers director has made a number of presentations at Center Point.
- Literacyworks Center currently has 14 students from West Marin. All are taking ESL classes on the Petaluma campus of the JC. West Marin Community Services and the library in Point Reyes Station have been referred individuals to the Center. We conducted a second outreach in Tomales on April 29th to explain the program and cultivate interest for the Fall. The majority of those being served by the Center from West Marin have children at Tomales Elementary School and work on ranches in the area.
- North Bay Children Center (NBCC) continues to be a very successful collaborative partner with Literacyworks Center. We have enrolled 18 students for the spring semester from both the parents and the staff. The parents are taking ESL classes and the staff are taking Early Childhood Education classes. NBCC serves 600 families in Marin and Sonoma County and are opening two more childcare centers in Sonoma County.
- Literacyworks Center is working closely with the administration and staff of Santa Rosa JC in an effort to maximize access to student support services. Most of the Center’s students have now seen a SRJC college counselor and have taken placement test. Very few of our students have ever attended college and most have never been on a college campus. One of the Center staff’s initial roles was to walk the students through the application and enrollment process. We are now working on retention activities with each student. We have identified a number of ‘college success’ classes taught this summer that we will be recommending our student take. These are .5 unit class the help student understand the culture of college and what is expected. Center staff is exploring the possibility of requiring students to take one of these classes as a condition of receiving a Literacyworks Adult Literacy Award through the SRJC scholarship office.
- The Center’s executive director and director met with College of Marin’s Dean of Career Technical Education to initially explore possible collaboration between the college and Literacyworks Center. The initial conversation focused on basic skills and adult literacy in career programs that lead to apprenticeships and well paying jobs.
- The Center continues to support 6 students from Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, most of who are enrolled in GED preparation classes at SRJC. They report that they are making progress on their goals.
- The Scholarship Office of Santa Rosa JC has provided invaluable support the Center’s work. This Spring Semester we have given out 76 awards.
- For Summer Semester 2016, we are encouraging our students to take a College Skills course. For Fall Semester 2016, we have a waiting list for enrollment and we are directing our existing students to early enroll. We are expecting to have 90-100 students on the program by Fall semester.
Center Point serves more than 4,000 men and women each year. Center Point provides comprehensive, evidence-based services for homeless individuals, veterans, substance users, women with children, families, adolescents, those who are unemployed and those involved with the criminal justice system.
West Marin Community Services provides supportive care and emergency funds to people who have unmet needs or are in crisis and are unable to find assistance through any other means. The Center provides direct services and also partners with county and non-profit organizations so that all available resources can be brought to bear.
North Bay Children's Center provides comprehensive high-quality childcare and early education programs fueled by our vision of excellence and a spirit of innovation.
Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria community is a federation of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo groups recognized as a tribe by the US Congress. The Center works with adults though the Tribal TANF Employment and Education Unit that assesses, trains, educates, and employs Native American adults so that they can achieve self-sufficiency for their family.
To support low income and low literacy adult students living in Marin, Napa and Sonoma, we are currently developing a collaborative relationship with Marin, Napa and Sonoma agencies as referral partners. These include:
- Marin, Napa and Sonoma libraries
- Marin, Napa and Sonoma adult schools
- Canal Community Alliance (Marin)