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eNewsletter - Issue 31 - June 2015
A Message From Luis

As we close the 2014/2015 fiscal year on June 30th, I am proud of what we have accomplished. I am also excited about two major initiatives we will launch in our new fiscal year starting next month.

First, we will launch the Family Success Zone -- a place-based initiative wherein RAB will serve the entire family on a long term basis. As many of you know, Reading and Beyond has programs that span the cradle-to-career continuum, including early childhood education, after-school and literacy programs, college preparation, and workforce development. The goal of the Family Success Zone is to provide this full array of programs at one site which is easily accessible for families. Making sure the entire family is being helped is something we have desired from the beginning of our organization. I hope this new program will help us learn what works for the whole family and, perhaps, create a model that can be expanded to other areas.

Second, we will begin our new pilot with our Fresno Bridge Academy. The pilot is the result of a partnership with the County of Fresno Department of Social Services and a $12 million grant to be utilized over the next 3 years.

If you are not involved with Reading and Beyond, I hope these exciting changes will encourage you to do so.



Students Take a Train Trip to Hanford

Approximately 30 students who participate in Reading and Beyond’s after-school program at three Boys & Girls Club sites spent a fun Saturday at the end of May taking a trip to Hanford. The trip was a reward for students who had good attendance and improved their reading ability by at least one grade level since January.

Parents and children boarded an Amtrak train in downtown Fresno and rode to Hanford. Once there, the group walked to Superior Dairy, bought some ice cream, and enjoyed the delicious treat at a park nearby.

The next trip for students who improve will be to either Boomers or Blackbeard’s. The trips are nice incentives for students, said Demitri Gonos, Reading and Beyond’s K-12 director.

“If they work hard, then good things happen,” he said.

RAB Awarded Two Grants

Reading and Beyond has received a $20,000 grant from long-time partner Bank of America. The funds will be used to support Reading and Beyond’s Fresno Bridge Academy. As we continue to provide our community with workforce development services, Bank of America's investment in our organization will enable us to assist a greater number of local individuals and families. Thank you, Bank of America for your continued partnership.


The Rotary Club of Fresno Foundation awarded Reading and Beyond a $10,000 grant to add a new technology component to our after-school program. Reading and Beyond will use the funds to purchase 29 new tablets, software and applications. The tablets will be placed at 10 community-based sites. Thank you Rotary Club of Fresno Foundation!

Books Donated to Reading and Beyond

McLane’s Educational Careers Pathway partnered with Culture Clothing and Reading and Beyond and collected 875 books during April. Culture Clothing donated approximately 300 books to Reading and Beyond and the remainder were given to other local nonprofits.

Donation boxes for books were placed at McLane High School, 11 Starbucks locations, at various spots around the Fresno City College campus, and the Earth Shop in the Tower District.

Roberto Cobian, who founded Culture Clothing, wanted to share his joy of reading that he gained as a child which inspired him to collaborate on this project.

“You should always be reading,” Cobian said. “I’ve learned so much from reading.”

Luis Santana Appointed to New Board

Reading and Beyond Executive Director Luis Santana was appointed to the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley by Gov. Jerry Brown on March 20. In June, he was sworn in. Santana joins 14 others who were new or reappointed to the board. Founded in June 2005 by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley is “a public-private partnership focused on achieving a prosperous economy, quality environment, and social equality throughout California’s great San Joaquin Valley.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Peng Xiong

As a youngster, Peng Xiong often found himself tinkering with computers and other electronics around his house.

“My family had three computers when I was a kid,” Peng said. “They were mostly new, but I’d modify them. I wanted to make them faster and better.” So, as a volunteer at Reading and Beyond (RAB), it’s probably no surprise that Peng finds himself working with computers. Since November 2014, Peng has been providing Information Technology (IT) support for RAB’s staff.

Peng, who took information systems classes at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) and graduated from Roosevelt High School, received his Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Technology from Heald College. During college, he received a job at a local call center handling tech support calls. He continued to work there after graduation until he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 and had to leave to start chemo treatment.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” said Peng, who also is participating in Reading and Beyond’s Fresno Bridge Academy. “I just had to do chemo for six months.” He’s been in remission since then. Currently, Peng is studying for his A+ computer certification and working to get his driver’s license. Until then, he feels right at home helping at Reading and Beyond.

“I plan to continue volunteering with Reading and Beyond for as long as I can,” he said. “I believe it is a great organization doing great things with great employees, thus making it a wonderful place to volunteer.”

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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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