By Yvonne Post Wise
ReadWest was barely six years old when we met in 1995. I had just returned from working 15 years in Frankfurt, Germany where I read an article in the Stars and Stripes newspaper by Barbara Bush about the desperate need for adult literacy volunteers in the U.S. It had never occurred to me so many Americans struggle to read, but according to ProLiteracy statistics, 36 million adults in the U.S. cannot read, write, or do basic math above the third grade. I should have been aware because our own son needed extra help with reading in the first grade, and I was a poor beginning reader, having to repeat a grade before it finally clicked. For some students, it never clicks, and far too many grow into adults unable to complete a job application, read a medicine label, or even a simple story to a child. Fortunate are they who find ReadWest and a caring, one-to-one tutor who can help them unlock the barriers to reading and writing and a brighter future, not only for themselves but for their family as well.
Jeanette Miller Brahl found a place for me at ReadWest, first as the Program Coordinator, then as Executive Director when she moved to the Rio Rancho School District. I was a board member for a few years and now finally an Advisory Board Member. It’s been a rewarding 26 years. The need for adult literacy only grows, but so has ReadWest, from 35 students and tutors in the Corrales Library in 1989 to hundreds today. New adult students are still knocking on our literacy center door and champion volunteers are still responding to their needs.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Save the date for October 6th for a virtual event. More info coming soon!
Thanks to all of the volunteers who help make this important work possible.
Dear ReadWest Volunteers,
All face to face tutoring with ReadWest Adult Literacy Students is suspended until further notice. ReadWest, Inc. is complying with directives given March 23, 2020 by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to practice social distancing and stay at home.
Our priority now is to stop the spread of COVID-19. We want all our volunteers, students and their families to remain healthy.
If you want to check on your student weekly via telephone, please do. With the nonessential labor force asked to stay home, chances are your student (or maybe YOU) are experiencing financial hardships. Road Runner Food Bank has a reference number to call for a food bank that may be offering a box of food 1-866-327-0267. They work with Sandoval and Bernalillo County food banks and will know which ones are open for business. APS is offering the grab and go lunches, but a child must be registered with APS. I don’t know if RRPS is offering a similar program. Please check the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho Mayor’s pages or city, county and the State of New Mexico pages for additional resources. United Way’s 211 has no direct services but can refer you to help. Just dial 211. They are working from home with the hours M-F 8:30 – 4:30.
The ReadWest Staff is working from home. We are checking phone messages and emails. So contact us as needed. We will let you know when we resume business as usual. Let’s hope it is soon!
For now, please be wise and stay safe.
Events associated with the Coronavirus are unfolding at a quick pace. It’s hard to keep up!
On the advice of state and local officials, we are closing the ReadWest facility to all tutoring for the next few weeks.
We encourage you to consider postponing your face to face meetings with your student in favor of phone calls, facetime, or online via skype if circumstances allow. Literacy is essential, but at the moment, community health is a significant concern.
Also, we are delaying student testing until the pandemic is under control. Now is the time for our volunteers, students, and staff to care for themselves and their families.
The ReadWest Staff is working from home. We are checking phone messages and emails. So contact us as needed. We will let you know when we resume business as usual.
For now, practice social distancing and wash your hands!