L V S F N e w s l e t t e r #2
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Susan Rathjen and the New BL Tutors
Get to know the LVSF Staff and Board

As a recurring item, we will present brief profiles of an LVSF Staff and Board Members, so that you can get to know us a little better. If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, please check out our website for more information; if becoming an LVSF Board Member interests you, please contact Maria Padilla.
Susan Rathjen
Susan Rathjen, LVSF Basic Literacy Coordinator: Susan, standing in the photo above on the far right with the latest group of Basic Literacy tutors, has a passion for teaching. Since 1973, she has been a certified teacher at the secondary level (6th-12th grades) in Language Arts, Fine Arts, and Drama. While teaching at SFCC in the Adult Education division, she started working with LVSF tutors to have them provide additional support and instruction to pre-high school equivalency students. She found that the tutors contributed so much more to the students’ education beyond academic skills, helping them to acquire and refine life skills to succeed in the workplace, with further education, and in the community. When the position for the Basic Literacy (BL) Coordinator opened up almost six years ago, Susan applied and was readily hired. One of the innovations that Susan introduced to the BL programs was to screen all BL students, so that any visual, auditory, attention, or learning issues could be identified and remedied, and to identify successful learning strategies for each student. Read more about Susan’s innovative work with the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility (SFCADF) in this issue.
Arthur Panaro
Board Member
Arthur started as an ESL tutor, and joined the LVSF Board in April 2019. Arthur has a long-term interest in teaching and working with others. In 1971 he served as an English teacher with the Peace Corps at Kabul University, Afghanistan. He graduated with a master’s in counseling in 1994 from Southwestern College, Santa Fe.

Since 2001 he has been on staff at Life Link/La Luz. Arthur is also a writer and poet. He has published essays:  Back Stage: Unsolicited Advice and Opinions, which he classifies as philosophical humor; an autobiography, Scenes from a Life; and Untitled, a collection of his collage art works. He has studied performance art in New York City and Santa Fe.
Did You Know?
During the past 34 years, approximately 5,000 LVSF volunteer tutors have provided more than 500,000 hours of instruction to almost 14,000 students. To mark our 25th anniversary, LVSF commissioned a specially decorated city bus to raise awareness about the organization and what we do. In 2015, to mark our 30th Anniversary, LVSF held a citywide series of events called “Santa Fe Reads.” This 4 month long series of events started in February with a distinguished panel of Northern New Mexican writers; we chose a book, The House on Mango Street, and encouraged students, reading groups, and adult learners to read it; and in May, 2015, Sandra Cisneros came to Santa Fe to meet with various school groups and conduct a reading and a discussion. Please read below about some of the plans for our 35th anniversary and be a part of the celebration!
LVSF's 35th Anniversary
This year, LVSF will be celebrating our 35th anniversary and will hold several events to commemorate the occasion, including our major event, “ An Evening with an Author,” in October, featuring eminent author, Luis Alberto Urrea. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of non-fiction, The Devil's Highway, Urrea is also the bestselling author of numerous works of fiction including The Hummingbird's Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, Queen of America, and The Water Museum, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. He has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
Evening with the Author - Into the Beautiful North
Outstanding Student of the Year
Outstanding Student Juan Paniagua
LVSF ESL student Juan Paniagua is one of the 12 Outstanding Adult Education Students honored by the NM Legislature on Adult Education Day at the Roundhouse. In 2001, Juan, a graduate of Mexico’s National College of Professional Technical Education, began framing houses in the Santa Fe area. Over the years, Juan has leveraged his knowledge, skills, and abilities to rise to be a supervisor and has been responsible for framing over 860 residential and commercial buildings in Santa Fe. Juan reviews the construction plans, specifies the required building materials, marks the layout of the building’s exterior and interior walls, doorways, windows, and then supervises the construction from the rough framing to the interior details.

After working a long construction day, Juan attends a one-on-one ESL tutoring session twice a week with his LVSF tutor, Bob Dodge. Since he began in March 2019, Juan has never been late or unprepared. During the summer months, when there is still daylight left after his tutoring session, Juan returns to work until dark.

Juan is close to achieving his American Dream of becoming a NM licensed Framing Contractor and owning his own business. In addition to learning conversational English, Juan is learning how to understand the language of construction, safety and business regulations. Juan’s desire to communicate effectively with contractors, clients, construction crew members and his family drives his dedication to improving his English language skills.
The LVSF Workplace Program
Effective communication between co-workers, supervisors and customers is necessary for an efficient workplace. The Literacy Volunteers Workplace program prepares adult learners for success in the workforce and the community by placing tutors at the worksite, helping employees with the language skills or academic skills necessary to reach their goals. LVSF currently provides services in twelve businesses in the Santa Fe area. Employees participating in the workplace program have the support of their employers in studying to improve their skills. While needs vary within each worksite or occupation, some topics that tutors and students work on may include greeting co-workers, asking questions, reporting problems and progress, asking for clarification as well as following directions and instructions and job-specific terminology. Students may also work on job-related tasks such as reading manuals, communicating on the telephone, filling out forms, writing memos and reports, or doing job-related math computations.

In addition to ESL tutoring, LVSF volunteer tutors may also provide Basic Literacy tutoring to employees at their workplace. Employees can study and improve their basic academic skills in order to take the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam. Although HSE classes are offered at Santa Fe Community College, employees have the convenience of working with a tutor until such time as they are able to enter the HSE program. 

All workplace ESL and Basic Literacy instruction is learner centered. Learners are encouraged to take the initiative in choosing what and how they want to learn. If you are interested in tutoring at a workplace, please contact Mary DuBose at 505-428-1174 or at mary.dubose@sfcc.edu.
New Program with the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility
LVSF Basic Literacy tutors are working onsite at the SFCADF with both male and female inmates who are preparing for re-entry into the community. Tutors work one-on-one with individuals to improve reading, writing, and/or math skills. Justice–involved individuals include anyone who is currently or has been involved with the criminal justice system.  This includes individuals who are awaiting trial, convicted of a crime, on probation, under home confinement, incarcerated in jail or in prison, under community residential supervision, or on parole. Justice–involved individuals have many barriers to employment, so our tutors also focus on life skills and basic job skills.  

In this new program, LVSF brings testing, screening, and tutoring to the facility in an effort to make an initial connection. Inmates spend 4 sessions with Susan Rathjen, the Basic Literacy Coordinator. They are tested, screened for learning difficulties, and then have an intervention session, in which Susan and the students review their screening reports and test assessments. Susan supplies the students with templates to create their own learning and employment plans. They review sample plans that show how real students filled out a plan using information and strategies from his or her personal report. Inmates then spend numerous hours with LVSF tutors working in the Re-entry class on the academic skills and work/life skills necessary to be successful upon release.

Following release, inmates may continue to work on their individual academic and employment plans that they began with Susan while they were at SFCADF. Inmates will be more likely to come to SFCC to continue to pursue their tutoring or to sign up for a GED class because they know LVSF and the tutors. They know that LVSF offers help in navigating the re-entry and employment seeking processes. The whole academic scene is less intimidating for them because of our work at SFCADF.
Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe
(505) 428-1353