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eNewsletter - Issue 29 - April 2015
A Message From Luis

Throughout my life, I have heard people say, “If you work hard, you will get what you want.” I am not sure if this is always true. However, the hard work from the Fresno Bridge Academy program has paid off. The creative approach designed by the Fresno Bridge Academy’s founder, Peter Weber, along with three years of persistence and dedication from the Reading and Beyond team and the Department of Social Services, has resulted in a $12 million grant to help more parents get the education and employment skills to become breadwinners for their children.

While we celebrate this wonderful accomplishment, we also are rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Not only will we help unemployed and underemployed parents acquire the skills they need to become self-sufficient providers for their families, but we also will provide a great return to tax payers for their investment.




Open House Highlights

Reading and Beyond hosted an Open House with the County of Fresno Department of Social Services (Fresno DSS) on April 2 to share with the community Fresno Bridge Academy’s expansion plans. On March 20, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the Fresno Bridge Academy (FBA), Reading and Beyond’s workforce development program, was one of 10 national projects selected to receive funding. Our FBA helps CalFresh families increase their skills in high-demand careers so they can achieve self-sufficiency.

The $12 million grant will enable Reading and Beyond to expand the FBA from three to nine sites in Fresno County and serve 1,500 families over a three-year period from October 2015 to September 2018. During the same period, the FBA will work with an additional 800 families under an existing contract under the Fresno DSS.

During the Open House, Fresno DSS Director Delfino Neira talked about the partnership between Fresno DSS and Reading and Beyond. FBA Founder Peter Weber shared the program’s history, while FBA Program Manager Nikki Newsome shared success stories and the Return of Investment methodology. Others who spoke included Dennis Stewart, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Director for the Western Region, and Congressman Jim Costa.


Peter Weber Received the Don Larson Award

Congratulations to Peter Weber, founder of the Fresno Bridge Academy, on receiving the Donald G. Larson for Community Excellence at the Open House on April 2. This award is given to those who make an extraordinary contribution to Reading and Beyond. The Board of Directors selects candidates who generously give their time and services to our community. Weber has been the guiding force behind the Fresno Bridge Academy.

“I have great respect for the people who serve on the board of Reading and Beyond, so I deeply appreciate this recognition, but I want to point out that many people have contributed to the success of the Fresno Bridge Academy,” said Weber, a Peru native who studied at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “It is programs like this that are changing the narrative about Fresno – we are increasingly being seen as a center of social and economic innovation. “ 


Southeast Youth Success Program Attends Job Fair

Participants from the Southeast Youth Success Program, which is Reading and Beyond is a part of with Focus Forward and Fresno Barrios Unidos, attended the Mayor’s Youth Job Fair at Manchester Mall on April 1. Looking their best, participants walked booth to booth with their resumes in hand and talked to employers about possible jobs. Afterward, they filled out any job applications they received.


Sierra Health Foundation Grant Awarded

Reading and Beyond was recently awarded a $18,500 grant from the Sierra Health Foundation. The one-year grant will be used to help pay for an additional Family Navigator who will engage parents and other community members in monitoring the accountability of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation.

Promo: Sign Up for Summer Academy 2015

Reading and Beyond will start enrolling children in its Summer Academy 2015 program, which will be June 22-July 30, Monday through Thursday. Children entering 1st through 6th grades will get reading tutoring, play games, make creative art projects, and participate in fitness and sports activities. The Summer Academy will be held 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Parc Grove Commons, and 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Mosqueda Community Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Zimmerman and East locations.

            For younger students, there will be a Kindergarten Transition Camp for children entering kindergarten in the Fall. The camp will be 10 a.m.-12 p.m. July 13-30, Monday through Thursday, at Zimmerman Boys and Girls Club.

            To enroll, a parent or guardian must attend an orientation. The first orientation is 6 p.m. Monday, May 4, at Mosqueda. For more dates, times and locations, see the flier. If you have questions, call Reading and Beyond at 600-6182 or email

Volunteer Spotlight: Sai Yang, Accounting Volunteer

Shoua Sai Yang, along with his other accounting classmates at California State University, Fresno, searched for internships at local certified public accountant (CPA) firms. Then one of his friends suggested he volunteer at Reading and Beyond (RAB). Sai applied, and he’s glad he did. Since February, he’s been volunteering in RAB’s accounting department.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Sai, who was born in Thailand and came to the United States in 1990.

Among the things the Fresno State senior has learned include how to be a better communicator, work in a nonprofit environment, utilize Quickbooks, record payment records, and reconcile bank statements.

“What really surprised me is that I got to learn so much in a short period of time,” he said.
Some of Sai’s classmates who were able to get internships with CPAs have told him they aren’t getting to do and learn as much as he is at RAB.
“I just want to thank RAB for letting me have this opportunity to learn and experience the work of finance and accounting,” he said.

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Reading and Beyond
4670 E. Butler Avenue
Fresno, CA 93702
559/600-6191 Ph.
559/600-7639 Fax

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