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Building Skills Partnership News l etter, Februa ry 2012

Dear Partner,

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Welcome to our February 2012 issue of the Building Skills Partnership newsletter. As with most organizations, we are faced with trying times that severely impact the services we offer and the communities we work with. During such times, it's easy to forget the faces behind the work that is happening and of those benefiting from it. Given such, we would like to highlight a few of the participants in our program and their stories. This month, we have featured three stories: Aldo and Blanca from Southern California and Sergio from Northern California. Aldo and Blanca each participated in BSP's ESL courses, coming from little or no exposure to the English language, and demonstrates the bridges possible when employees from the corporations we partner with lend a hand in volunteering for our programs and supporting us fiscally. With in-kind and fiscal support that comes from people such as Sergio, we were able to keep offering our services to around 2,000 workers statewide this year. We would like to recognize not only the generosity of such phenomenal community support, but also the bridges that are built through connecting communities. We hope that these stories will be inspirational. We also rely on various media avenues to exhibit the very best of what we do. In December 2011, Building Skills Partnership (BSP) was featured by Radio Biling端e, a non-profit news network recognized for being completely Latino-lead and for being the only one of its kind to distribute Spanish language programming on public radio. Radio Biling端e featured a segment on BSP entitled, "Next to the great inventors, janitors learn the ABC of computers in Silicon Valley." In this piece, Northern California's Silicon Valley computer classes, taught by highly experienced volunteers, were highlighted, emphasizing the skills the students acquire through these classes and again, the bridges and benefits enabled by them. Such members of community are true assets and the very examples we hold as exemplary of the services we provide. For access to the audio Spanish version, click here. For access to the English article version, click here. With that, we hope that you will enjoy this issue of our newsletter. Thank you for your generous and continued support to Building Skills Partnership.

Regional Offices Los Angeles


828 W. Wa s hi ngton Bl vd. Los Angel es , CA 90015 (213) 284-7744

Orange County

1200 North Ma i n St. Sui te 900 Sa nta Ana , CA 92701 (714) 245-9700 ext. 1102

San Francisco/East Bay 3411 Ea s t 12th St. Sui te. 200 Oa kl a nd, CA 94601 (510) 437-8116

Silicon Valley

1010 Ruff Dri ve Sa n Jos e, CA 95110 (408) 280-5329

Aida Cardenas, Executive Director Building Skills Partnership

Make a Donation Towards Scholarships The BSP is committed to supporting the children of low-wage property service workers in their pursuit of higher education. Since 2008, with the donations from individuals, employers, labor and SEIU-USWW, the BSP has provided over 35 scholarships to students. With the rising cost of education and diminishing public funding, these scholarships become even more critical. This year, our goal is to raise $20,000 to address the needs of our families' children who are increasingly finding themselves without a network of financial assistance. Through your generous support and commitment, the BSP is able to provide 100% of the proceeds towards scholarships to student seeking to reach their dreams of a higher education.

I encourage you to donate today and make education a reality tomorrow.

Volunteer at Google Sergio works as a staffing contractor at Google, and has been volunteering in Building Skills Partnership's Monday and Friday class (8:15-9:15 AM) at Google for the last seven months. Sergio's family is from Latin America, so he understands firsthand the language challenges that immigrants face. When asked why he volunteers as a classroom teaching aide for Google's janitors, his answer is short and concrete, "...because it is the right thing to do. It is a win-win situation." In addition to consistently helping in the classroom, Sergio has also gone above and beyond to help BSP Sergio Sanchez raise funds for its programs. When BSP reached out Volunteer at Google to its volunteer network for help raising 7.5 K during its 2011 holiday drive, Sergio jumped at the opportunity. Through his networks he raised $674 and, with Google's matching funds for qualifying donations, collected close to $900 total. When asked how he was able to raise these funds, he said that he sent an email to his twenty team members on Candidate Review at Google describing his volunteer work, the value he places in BSP's programs, and how the holiday drive was a good opportunity to be "Googley" [sic]. At the time he sent the email, his hope was to raise $100. He said he was overjoyed by the generosity of his team and managers at Google and even felt "kind of embarrassed" that he did not expect such a positive turnout. When we talked to Sergio in January for this story, he mentioned that he was eager for BSP's newsletter to come out so he could use it for one last pitch to "Googlers" (Google employees) with the hope of reaching the 7.5K

goal initially proposed during the holiday drive. BSP would like to take this opportunity to thank Sergio and all wonderful volunteers for believing in BSP's work and would like to encourage others to join them!

O.C. Student Highlight-ESL Student Aldo Amador I remember when I first heard of the opportunity of taking ESL classes (offered through Santa Ana College at the SEIU-USWW office) I was both nervous and excited. Although hesitant, I decided to register for the ESL class for the fall semester of 2010. I just started my second semester of ESL classes and have already noticed a big improvement. Before I began the ESL class I could barely communicate with simple words but now that my vocabulary has increased, it is a lot easier. My improved English skills have had a great impact at my workplace because they have facilitated communication with my supervisors and have OC Student, Aldo Amador made performing my duties much easier. Furthermore, I can now also help out fellow coworkers who do not speak English. That makes me feel really good. I would recommend the class to everyone. I feel that so many doors have opened up to me. Although it is a sacrifice and all of us are sleep deprived because of our night schedules, this class is a great opportunity and investment in our futures. My goal is to continue taking ESL classes and to become fluent in English so that I can get a better job in the future.

LA Student Highlight - Literacy Student Blanca Moran I started attending the literacy classes at BSP in July of 2011. When I came to the classes I didn't know how to read or write. I considered myself to be at level 0. Now, thanks to the classes provided to us by BSP, Centro Latino for Literacy, and the tutors, I have a better understanding of letters and words. The program follows my pace and it's now easy for me to respond to the questions that are asked. I truly appreciate this Blanca Moran and program especially since I can now write my her daughter. daughter's names, Mirna and Cindy, on my own. I didn't know anything then, but I'm learning more and more. I plan to keep going forward, even though I know it may be difficult at times. I will forever be thankful for this opportunity to learn how to read that has been given to me.

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