Five UWNNM Board members visited Rio Arriba Adult Literacy Program as a part of their Community Action Fund Grant Site Visits. In attendance were David Trujillo, Joseph Sanchez, Manuel Valdez, Don Cobb and Liddie Martinez.
Present representing the organization were Program Director Beverly Post and board members, Catherine Avila and Susan Roybal.
They toured the space, which is donated by the City of Espanola in the public library. This space represents an increase in space from their previous location of about 200%. They discussed the existing referral network among area non-profits and their invitation from McCurdy to partner in their community services endeavor.
Currently the Adult Literacy program has 50 volunteers whom provided 1:1 tutoring for 66 students last year. The breakdown of services between programs is 66% ESL and 33% Adult Literacy.
“With a budget hovering around $50,000 a year, their biggest challenge is not being able to afford a full time paid staff person,” said UWNNM Board Member Liddie Martinez. “They are currently working with two part time staff people and keeping regular office hours, which is challenging and can impeded outreach opportunities. Right now the NM Coalition for Literacy funds about 50% of their program and receive small grant from Dollar General. “
Additionally, small private donations were up last year at about $9K.
Their training has changed in the last 18 months from a 2 day training to 1.5 days to now 1 full day. It was thought that a more condensed training would help increase participation of new volunteers as many had issues with taking two days off work to train for a voluntary position. They expect to see volunteers increase this year.
The average student is paired with a tutor and receives 2 hours per week of tutoring for at least 6 months. They are working on establishing a vetting system to increase retention as a 6 month commitment is required to have positive outcomes.