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eNewsletter - Issue 28 - March 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.




Our Fresno Bridge Academy is selected as a USDA pilot program 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced on March 20th that the County of Fresno Department of Social Services’ CalFresh Employment and Training pilot proposal was one of 10 national pilot projects selected to receive funding. The pilot project is based on Reading and Beyond’s Fresno Bridge Academy (FBA). The FBA helps adults who are CalFresh recipients with a minor child in the home increase their skills in high-demand careers so they can achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

The $12.3 million award is part of $200 million the USDA is granting to fund and evaluate pilot projects to help Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program participants find jobs and work toward self-sufficiency. The funding will enable the FBA to expand and serve 1,500 families over a three-year period at nine sites in Fresno County, including Southeast and Southwest Fresno, Central and West Fresno, Pinedale, El Dorado Park, Coalinga, Kerman and Reedley and the surrounding areas.

Under Secretary Concannon made the announcement while on a visit to Fresno City College’s Career and Technology Center. Among those who spoke were Tim Woods, the Vice President of Instruction at Fresno City College;  Diana Dooley, the California Health and Human Services Secretary; Delfino E. Neira, County of Fresno Department of Social Services’ Director and Luis Santana, Reading and Beyond’s Executive Director. Also present were Reading and Beyond’s Controller Richard Coon, FBA Program Manager Nikki Newsome, Lead Career & Family Navigator Arasely Linares and one of her former FBA clients who successfully completed the program, Ysidro Angel Hernandez. Hernandez, who works for Custom Ag Formulators, was joined by his wife Esther and his supervisor, Ryan Stewart of Custom Ag Formulators.

“This is an exciting time for Reading and Beyond,” Santana said. “We now have a chance to show that the Fresno Bridge Academy model can work on a larger scale and perhaps become a tool for others who want to improve the quality of life for low-income families.”


LCFF Road Show

About 50 people from community-based organizations attended the “The Local Control Funding Formula One Year Later” presented by The Education Trust-West, in partnership with Reading and Beyond, on Feb. 19 at the Mosqueda Community Center.

The Education Trust-West shared research findings on the general trends of how school districts have done in the first year of LCFF implementation. Participants also took part in a “gallery walk” where they moved around reviewing boards with local data on student academic performance.

Reading and Beyond’s Family Strengthening Program Manager Maria Ceballos and Californians for Justice’s Youth Organizer Angelica Lemus also presented local perspectives.

LCFF Parent Meeting

Reading and Beyond hosted a morning meeting on Feb. 28 with parent leaders to share the progress in the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) 1% Campaign. The 1% Campaign is part of the Schools Action Team Building Healthy Communities. It would allocate $5.5 million toward family engagement. During the meeting, parents had an opportunity to evaluate where LCAP review recommendations were at the district level and decide what next steps they would like to take in regards to the 1% recommendation.

Preschool’s Parent Meeting

Reading and Beyond Preschool held an informative parent meeting on Feb. 19 at Mosqueda. Parents learned about the importance of early literacy and what they can do to encourage it, good parent-child interactions, and how they can get involved with their children’s education. A Jump Start representative also was present to inform parents about the Jump Start program.

HSR Pre-Apprenticeship Presentation

Almost a dozen people turned out at the High Speed Rail Pre-Apprenticeship Presentation on Feb. 17 at the Mosqueda Community Center. The two-hour presentation by Lead Career & Family Navigator Arasely Linares gave attendees a chance to ask questions and find out what qualifications are needed to be referred to the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board for orientation, assessment and training. More presentations are planned until the end of June. The next ones are on 2-4 p.m. Monday, April 20, at Catholic Charities, and 3-5 p.m. Monday, April 27, at Mosqueda. For more info, see flier.

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Shop and Support RAB at Save Mart and Barnes & Noble

If you do your grocery shopping at Save Mart or Food Maxx, you also can support Reading and Beyond. All you need is a Save Mart S.H.A.R.E.S. card that’s dedicated to Reading and Beyond. Use it whenever you make a purchase at Save Mart or Food Maxx, and Reading and Beyond will receive up to 3% of qualified purchases. Funds will be used to support RAB in all that we do. S.H.A.R.E.S. cards can be used in conjunction with Save Mart’s Fuel Rewards cards. Contact Reading and Beyond at (559) 600-6161 for more info or to get a S.H.A.R.E.S. card.

Click here for SHARES
Book worms! Come share your love of books with children in Reading and Beyond’s programs by making a purchase during the Barnes & Noble Bookfair. The book fair will be 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, April 19. There will be fun activities for children, including story time with Curious George, book making, origami crafts, coloring and a free raffle.

When you make a purchase in the store, online or at the café, a percentage of the sale will go toward Reading and Beyond’s Summer Academy Program. Just make sure to let the cashier know you’re there to support Reading and Beyond, or you can present a Bookfair flier or show the flier on your cell phone. You can make purchases online from April 19-23 at, and enter Bookfair ID# 11589983 at checkout.

Click here for Barnes and Noble

Employee Spotlight

Deiglis Delgado is a natural leader. Before she became a Family Navigator two years ago, she was already actively involved in her neighborhood, the Lowell area. She attended community meetings. Then, she became president of the Union de Familias, which works in partnership with the Lowell Neighborhood Association to enhance lives in the Lowell community. “My goal was to see my neighborhood improve,” she said.

Deiglis noticed people began to seek her help when they had questions about housing and accessing other resources. She enjoyed assisting them. “This is something I like to do,” said Deiglis, who moved to the United States about 10 years ago from Caracas, Venezuela. “I love working with people.”

She currently works with about 45 families with children from infants to 3 years old. She visits each family at least once a month. “The main purpose of the home visits is to help families to   get connected with resources in the community,” she said.

One challenging aspects of her job is maintaining contact with some her clients. “They move a lot because of jobs or safety,” she said.

Despite that, she enjoys working and watching her clients improve. “Even if I didn’t get paid, I would do this,” she said. “That’s how much I love what I do.

“It’s so good to see families succeed. I love the Family Navigator Program because we focused on people’s assets. I don’t dwell at the problems. I believe in people. Some people just need a little support, a little help, to improve, and that’s what I love the most about my job.”

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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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