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Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.

Marisol Romero’s Speech at the Spaghetti Dinner

Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.
Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol’s US citizenship.

Thank you, Muncie, for inviting me to speak tonight. This is the 30th anniversary of ReadWest, and for me, it is an honor to be here talking with you. All these wonderful people from ReadWest has helped me to fulfill everything I have done so far. I know that I worked hard to achieve all these goals too, but I also know that without their help, guidance, and support that I have had from the people of ReadWest, and my husband. I would not be here tonight. For me, ReadWest is like a gift in my life. They gave me a gift box full of tools that I needed to help me achieve my goals so far. I assure you that I have already put to work and used these tools in my daily life. Thank you ReadWest for the best gift that could be given to a person, which is The Knowledge. The knowledge to be available to communicate with your sons teacher, helping your child with their homework, or have a simple conversation with people in general.

These kind of tools are really a gift for people like me, who come from other countries and dont have knowledge of English, and to add to that, also need to adapt to another culture. Read West gives us the opportunity to learn English through different classes and personalized tutors, to include offering classes like GED, Citizenship and more, and through these classes, they are helping to change the lives of many people. Thank you Read West, thank you Muncie, Cyndy, Helen, Rosie, Bob, Lyn, Joe and all the people who were involved in helping me learn

Now I would like to tell you something about my life and how ReadWest helped me. I really was happy to come to the United States to live. The land of opportunity, but for me it was difficult because of my struggles with English, starting when we arrived. Sometimes I want to say so many things, and I couldnt. I felt frustrated, this is why I started looking for a place where I could study English and that was difficult also because I dont know anybody here. One day I was bored, homesick, and feeling lonely and I decided to go to the park with my son and while we were at the park I heard somebody talking in Spanish about the place in front of the park call ReadWest.  The person said the magic words that they were teaching English and it was free. I didnt think twice. I crossed the street to see what they were talking about. When I got there Muncie opens the door. I was really nervous, but she was really kind to me. She explained it all to me, and gave me a test. Before I knew it I was enrolling in different classes at ReadWest. Then days after that I enroll myself in CNM also, in the ESL classes.

When you are part of ReadWest they become part of your family. In sharing our own histories about what we were doing in our countries, our own dreams and what we want to do here I assure you that these beautiful ladies really listen to you. I already have a background as a Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Colombia and one day Cyndy talked to me about the Nursing Assistant program that CNM was offering for people with a second language.

I really got excited but when I went there and asked for the program they said to me that I need to be in the advanced English classes or have a score above 198 in the Casas test. Also, I have to take the class 790 in the ESOL program to be available to enter the program. I talked with Cyndy and she encourages me to work hard. She started giving me different copies, books and different materials in which I could study. For my part, I decided to study hard and get my GED also. Cyndy never left me alone and I know that I will always have her support in my journey.

ReadWest helping me with tutors in English (Rosie), Math (Bob), and Chemistry (Craig). 10 months after that I finished my GED and I have passed the tests to be accepted to the ESOL program in class 790. I remember that I had to take the accuplacer test 4 times before I passed. I completed my English 790 class and entered into the Nursing Assistant program. With the help of my tutor Rosie who helps me with all the conversations that I needed to have with my patients in class, thank you, Rosie, for being patient with me. I would like to say at this point in time I completed my Nursing Assistant program with a 4.0 and highest honors. I realized that I could continue with my studies and become the nurse that I always wanted to be. This is why I am continuing my studying by taking and completing my Patient Care Technician (PCT) class, and I only have 3 more classes to complete the requirements to enter the Registered Nursing (RN) program at CNM. During this time, I qualified to take my Citizenship exam, which I am very proud to say that this has been completed also and I have become a United States Citizen on our wedding anniversary May 31, 2019. Thank you, Lyn, I really enjoyed your class

This is my history and thanks to ReadWest and the opportunity that you have given to me. Today Im here in front of you to show that all the work that you are doing at ReadWest is helping people like me to be better every day. Thank you to all people who are part of ReadWest, and all those who make donations to support the program. Thanks also to my husband who supports me in everything I do. I love you. It was a pleasure and an honor to come here this evening to tell you about my history. I appreciate this opportunity and thank you for listening to me. 

Founder of Literacy Volunteers of America Ruth Colvin poses with ReadWest Executive Director Muncie Hansen.

Meeting a Literacy Hero

Founder of Literacy Volunteers of America Ruth Colvin poses with ReadWest Executive Director Muncie Hansen.
Founder of Literacy Volunteers of American Ruth Colvin poses with Executive Director Muncie Hansen at the ProLiteracy Conference.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a living literacy legend. While at the ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Education in San Diego, I was amazed to see Ruth Colvin walk out of the ballroom along beside me. When she saw “Literacy Volunteers” on the logo of my ReadWest shirt, she struck up a conversation with me. I was star-struck.

You see, Ruth is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, which later became ProLiteracy. She spent her entire life working to address the issue of adult literacy. Her efforts on behalf of adult literacy earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, presented by President George W. Bush. It’s also remarkable that Ruth Colvin is 102 years old.

“I’m so proud of you young women taking up the cause of adult literacy. I am glad this important work is in such capable hands,” she said.

But Ruth is not slowing down. She told me she had some more literacy conferences to attend this fall, and her memoirs will come out shortly.

“People think they should retire at age 65. But you have all this great knowledge; you should use it to do something worthwhile.”

What an inspiration. What a pleasure to be called a ‘young’ woman by my literacy hero. I rededicate my next few decades to the worthwhile cause of adult literacy in the U.S. Want to join me? Click this link to find out how and then select Get Involved!

Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.

Literacy Goals Achieved!

ReadWest Adult Students achieved a total of 721 of literacy goals during the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year. Among our ESL Students, 6 ReadWest Students and 8 First Unitarian Church students gained their US Citizenship this year.  Many of these students studied for their US Citizenship Exam with their one-to-one tutor. Others attended a 10-week course offered at ReadWest two times a year.  This course is taught by Lynn Simson and was originated by Barbara Kitchens. Both of these women are long-time volunteers at ReadWest.  The 10-week course will be offered again in the fall of 2019. Please contact us at readwest@readwest.org for more information or call 505-892-1131.

Pictured below is Cyndy Ratliff, ReadWest Program Coordinator; Marisol, ReadWest Student and new US Citizen; and Lynn Simson, US Citizenship Tutor.

Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.

ReadWest Used Book Sale Chalk Sign

Sunday is Funday

Got time? Got books? We are looking for volunteers to help staff the booth at Haynes Park on August 18th from Noon until 4 PM where we will be participating in the Rio Rancho celebration. We will also be selling used books again this year. If you have a box of books to donate, please drop them by ReadWest. If you want to help staff the booth, please contact us at readwest@readwest.org.

Learn more about Sunday is Funday.

ReadWest Used Book Sale Chalk Sign

Can You Believe It’s Been 30 Years?

Summer Greetings!

July is the start of another Year at ReadWest. This year is unique as we celebrate 30 years of providing literacy to adults in New Mexico.

Our calendar is filled with commemorative events. This month we rolled out our 30th Anniversary Letterhead and signatures that we will use throughout the year.  We will formally get the party started with our Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Dinner at San Ysidro Chapel in Corrales. Tickets for this dinner and silent auction will go on sale later this fall. In December our Annual Meeting and Luncheon will be a FREE 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring ReadWest Student Success Stories and a special guest. More celebratory events are planned, so stay tuned!

ReadWest experienced many changes last year. Our kind friends helped us settle in a new home after 22 years at our former address. However, one thing did not change. ReadWest Tutor/Student pairs met for literacy instruction continuously. Many group classes were relocated to senior centers and churches while we remodeled. Despite the facility move, ReadWest Volunteers logged 15,678 hours of service during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The Independent Sector estimates a volunteer tutor’s wage at $25.43 per hour. This means the ReadWest Adult Literacy Program contributed $398,691 of literacy service to our community. This impressive contribution was achieved by the dedicated volunteers at ReadWest. Volunteers are indeed the heart of our program. Thank you all for believing in our mission.

If you’d like to support our mission financially, consider joining our special anniversary 360° Donor Circle.

Sincerely,

Muncie Hansen
Executive Director

ReadWest’s mission is to provide quality one-to-one tutoring to adults seeking to transform their lives through enhanced literacy skills.

two hands holding a red glass heart

Corporate Employee Matching Gift Programs

two hands holding a red glass heart

For nonprofit organizations, every dollar counts. Corporate employee matching gifts offer the opportunity to turn one dollar donated by a match-eligible employee into two, three, four, or even five dollars!

In this article, we’re going to explore exactly what to expect when working with matching gifts and how to make the most of this incredible fundraising opportunity.

What are corporate matching gift programs?

Employee matching gift programs are a type of corporate philanthropy set up to encourage employees to give back to their communities. These companies encourage community outreach by making donations to the same nonprofits that their employees have donated to.

These programs have become quite widespread, but many donors have not heard of them or aren’t aware of their own match-eligibility. $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table each year, and we want to work with our donors to claim some of it.

The specifics of these programs vary from company to company, but the elements that shape these guidelines are always the same:

  • Match ratio: This defines what kind of donation the company will make in relation to the employee’s initial contribution. A 1:1 ratio indicates that the company will donate the exact same amount, doubling the contribution to the employee’s chosen nonprofit.
  • Minimum and maximum: The minimum refers to the amount an employee must donate to qualify for a matching gift. The maximum is the total amount that a company will donate in matching contributions per employee annually.
  • Employee status: Sometimes, the employee’s role at the company can affect the match that they qualify for. For example, Gap Inc. offers a $1,000 maximum to part-time employees and a $10,000 maximum to Senior VP’s.
  • Nonprofit eligibility: Some programs offer different matches based on the nonprofit being donated to. ExxonMobil offers a higher match for donations made to educational institutions than for donations made to cultural organizations.
  • Deadline: Every program identifies a deadline when the matching gift request must be submitted by the employee. This deadline can be either a firm date (December 31st is common) or a threshold based on the date of the initial donation (90 days after donation is made).

Thousands of companies offer matching gift programs. A few examples include:

  • Johnson & Johnson — Triples donations with a 2:1 match for current employees while also doubling donations (a 1:1 match) for retirees.
  • Bank of America — Matches donations 1:1 up to $5,000 annually per employee.
  • Home Depot — Matches donations 1:1 up to $3,000 annually per employee.

The impact of these programs can be substantial! Microsoft has been known to match over $48 million worth of employee donations to schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits in a single year. Did you know that more than 18 million employees work for companies with matching gift programs? You might be one of them.

Want to help ReadWest?

Increasing revenue with matching gifts isn’t too tricky, but we need your help.  You can help us reach our fundraising goals by contacting HR at your company to see if they offer an employee match-eligibility program.  If your company doesn’t have ReadWest listed and would like to, we can provide our information (Tax ID, address, fundraising contact).  We appreciate you taking a few minutes to double your donation!

Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Philip Banks Photography LLC

Spotlight – Todd Clark, Board President

Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Philip Banks Photography LLC
Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Phillip Banks Photography LLC

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Texas and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. I served three years in the US Army as a Medic. While stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, I developed a real affinity for exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures. After my discharge, I returned to Memphis where I earned a BA in History from Memphis State University. In 1978, I moved to Western Massachusetts where my first wife and I raised our daughter and son. While I have worked in a number of different fields, most of my work life was as a construction project manager and contractor.

In 2013, my second wife and I started traveling around the country. She worked temporary assignments as a Family Nurse Practitioner and I stayed busy volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and various local nonprofits. Our first temp assignment was in Gallup, New Mexico. During our six months there, we fell in love with the Southwest. After four more years of travel, we permanently relocated to Rio Rancho in 2017.

Biggest impact books:
Nonfiction – “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”
Fiction – “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Favorite genre:  Detective novels

Favorite author:  Tony Hillerman

What Inspires You: I’m inspired by working to make the world a better place.

Favorite quote: “All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell in “Animal Farm”

If you could have any one superpower, which would you choose? The superpower that I would choose is the ability to spread my arms and take flight. Whenever I have a dream where I can fly, I wake up with a feeling of contentment and joy!

ReadWest Receives check from NM Gas Company

ReadWest Receives Grant from NM Gas Company

NM Gas Company logo

January 29, 2019 – ReadWest, Inc. received a $10,000 grant from the New Mexico Gas Company – an Emera Company – to support its adult literacy services. Pictured below are NM Gas Company VP Operations and ReadWest Board of Directors VP Ray Sanchez, ReadWest Executive Director Muncie Hansen, ReadWest Board of Directors President Todd Clark, and New Mexico Gas Company President Ryan Shell.

ReadWest Receives check from NM Gas Company

 

About New Mexico Gas Company

New Mexico Gas Company cares. We believe in giving back to the communities where we live and work. Our employees do that through financial donations and, most importantly, by volunteering their time. Our staff participates in many activities that help communities across New Mexico.

For more information, visit  https://www.nmgco.com/

Celebrating Our New Home

On January 23rd, approximately sixty people gathered to celebrate ReadWest’s new home at 103 Rio Rancho Blvd NE, Suite A-5, Rio Rancho, NM 87124. Rio Rancho’s Mayor Hull provided a speech, noting that ReadWest had been a part of the city nearly as long as it had been incorporated. After his speech ReadWest Board President Todd Clark and Executive Director Muncie Hansen cut the ribbon. After the ribbon cutting and presentations, everyone was invited in to enjoy refreshments and tour the new facility.

Photos were generously provided by Barnes and Noble representative Howard George who also owns a photography business.

Under Charlie’s Covers Partners with ReadWest for #GivingTuesdayNM

Logo for Under Charlie's Covers Bookstore
ReadWest logo

We are excited to announce that Under Charlie’s Covers, Sandoval County’s largest bookstore, has partnered with ReadWest for #GivingTuesdayNM! They have generously agreed to donate 25% of all sales on November 27th. When we asked owner Lara Harrison about why she chose ReadWest, she said:

“Under Charlie’s Covers is committed to helping readers of every age. Adult literacy is an essential building block to future success.  ReadWest is providing a crucial service to members of our community and we are proud to contribute to their important mission.”

Executive Director Muncie Hansen was thrilled about the opportunity to partner. “Partnering with Under Charlie’s Covers is a perfect fit for us. We help adults read the books that they sell.” She also noted that it was excellent timing to receive additional funding to help with the challenges of moving into a new facility.

Under Charlie’s Covers is open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on November 27th. Be sure to stop by and stock up on books for your holiday gifts. Don’t forget to treat yourself to one or two as well!

 

Can’t make it to Under Charlie’s Covers on November 27th or are one of our out-of-area supporters? You can still make a direct donation or purchase a t-shirt and have it delivered directly to you.

#GivingTuesdayNM is not about just one sector, cause, or community. #GivingTuesdayNM is about New Mexico.
Together we can do more.

You can find the complete list of participating organizations at www.GivingTuesdayNM.org.