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eNewsletter - Issue 25 - December 2014

" It takes a Village "

"Depending upon your political views, you may either have a positive or negative reaction to the statement above. However, if we leave politics out, we know that it takes a village to make a long, lasting impact in our communities.  Before I celebrate the new year, I want to reflect one more time on the past 15 years of Reading and Beyond’s (RAB) existence and recognize members of RAB’s “village” - starting with our past and present Board members, former and current staff members, and past and present volunteers. Without the dedication of these villagers, going above and beyond expectations, thousands of children in our community would not have hope of better days for themselves and their families. Through participation in our Fresno Bridge Academy, parents are building their education and workforce skills, thus becoming self-reliant breadwinners for their families.

As we welcome 2015, if you are not part of our village yet, I hope you will join us by sharing your knowledge and experience to bless others in our community during this new year.

Luis Santana

Candidate Forums Held

Reading and Beyond (RAB) coordinated with other community-based organizations in Fresno to organize two Fresno Unified School District school-board candidate forums in October before the November elections. Four seats were up for general election. About 100 people came to hear candidates for the Area 1 (Edison High School) and Area 3 (Sunnyside High School) debate on Oct. 9 at the Mosqueda Community Center. A second forum on Oct. 16 for candidates in Area 4 (McLane High School) and Area 7 (Bullard High School) at Stone Soup Fresno had about 50 people.

“This was an opportunity for community members not only to ask questions but to learn about their area candidates that are going to be representing them and making decisions at the school district level,” said Maria Ceballos, RAB’s Family Strengthening Program Manager who moderated the forum at Stone Soup Fresno.

Partnership with Catholic Charities Grows

In Sept, Reading and Beyond (RAB) saw its partnership with Catholic Charities expand. Fresno Bridge Academy, Pathways to Success, and Family Strengthening Family Navigators are now located temporarily at Catholic Charities until permanent sites can be located. The move allows these programs more opportunities to partner with Catholic Charities to the benefit of clients.

RAB already works closely with Catholic Charities, providing cross referrals, said Nikki Newsome, the Fresno Bridge Academy Program manager. “We complement each other,” she said.

CalFresh/Medi-Cal Outreach Program Launched

A CalFresh/Medi-Cal Outreach Program launched this month with four part-time workers assisting people with applications. The workers have laptops and other mobile resources that allow them to help sign up residents in rural areas and at community events, schools, farmers' markets, and food banks.

New Faces at Mosqueda

Chia Vue

Chia Vue of Fresno started in August. She previously worked as a literacy instructor for Reading and Beyond (RAB). Vue, who graduated in 2013 from University of California, Riverside, is working on establishing policies and procedures for RAB's volunteer program. She also is assisting RAB’s Research & Development Director Matilda Soria with writing grants.

“I have a passion for helping people, and I felt connected with Reading and Beyond’s mission,” Vue said. “I decided to serve as a VISTA because I want to bridge under-resourced individuals to services. I want to help children and families in my community have easier access to resources, and also have a good experience while they are receiving help.”

Richard Coon

Welcome to Rich Coon, who started in June as the new controller. Rich, of North Fork, previously worked as a staff accountant/advisor in Oakhurst and corporate controller for Milano Restaurants. “I feel as though Reading and Beyond (RAB) has provided me an opportunity to benefit our community,” he said.

Nzong Xiong

The newest VISTA volunteer is Nzong Xiong, who started in December. Xiong, of Fresno, was a former reporter at The Fresno Bee and Reading and Beyond (RAB) Board Member. She is assisting RAB with marketing/communications efforts and is currently working on RAB's annual report and online newsletters.

“Even though I had left Reading and Beyond years ago as a board member, the organization was never far from my mind,” she said. “When I had the chance to return and help RAB in a different capacity, I welcomed the opportunity to assist an organization that helps others better themselves and their lives.”

Grants Awarded

Wells Fargo
Bank Day

About 80 adults and children attended the Financial Resource Fair on Nov. 15 at Parc Grove Commons in Fresno. Reading and Beyond (RAB) partnered with Wells Fargo and Fresno Housing Authority to organize the event. Donated books were given away to children while adults learned about money management, dealing with financial hardships, banking, and financial literacy. During the event, Wells Fargo also presented RAB a check for $50,000. The funds will support the Fresno Bridge Academy and RAB’s community-based literacy programs.

High Impact Grant

Reading and Beyond (RAB), in partnership with the Fresno Housing Authority, won a two-year $200,000 Fresno Regional Foundation High Impact Grant earlier this year. The funds support K-3 literacy programs at five locations, including Mosqueda, Parc Grove Commons, Villa Del Mar, Fairview Heights, and Granada Commons.

Golden 1

Reading and Beyond (RAB) received a $30,000 grant from Golden 1 Credit Union in November. The grant will continue funding for RAB’s community-based literacy programs at nine sites, including the Mosqueda Community Center, Wesley United Methodist Church, and Hope Lutheran Church. The grant also will support RAB's six-week "Summer Academy."

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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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