Friday, May 25, 2012

Passionate Volunteer Brings Classes Closer Than Ever

The Career Development Program has been truly grateful for the energy of our newest volunteer, Nadia. Such energy and knowledge that she brings complements the already lively Career Development Program Manager, Romina. Putting her enthusiasm and expertise to work, Nadia jumped in to teach job preparation to the Career Track computer students. This series of in-class workshops, presentations and assignments will cover resume writing, an essential tool for our hardworking, computer-savvy, job-seeking students.  With a polished resume in hand, students will move on to tackle bigger lessons in customer service classes.

Nadia's first day with all of the staff.
All the students were very impressed and happy to meet Nadia, who has a great deal of experience as an instructor and business developer in her native Nicaragua. This is what students had to say after only the first class with Nadia, “This is the perfect complement to our classes to think and have a better picture of what is next,” stated Norberto, a Career Track student. This just shows how Nadia has really become the link that joins the Career Development and Technology Empowerment programs at the Chavez Center.

Our advanced class students will graduate in mid-June with great knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, customer service and their resume ready to start their job search. What an amazing experience to gain all of these skills in one class!

Interested in getting in on the next session of classes? Enrollment is starting June 18! Make sure you sign up! Call 925-682-8248 for more information.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day Cards

Intermediate Class shows off their Mother's Day Cards!

Instructor Fabiola Cardenas took our Intermediate class to Kinkos/Fed Ex Office on a field trip last Tuesday! The idea was for all the students to learn to use services and become more independent. In the introduction to Microsoft Word class, they had made Mother’s day cards and saved their work into their flash drives. After picking out their paper, everyone was able to print their work by themselves.

Fabiola explains, “to see my students fly with their own wings is the best compensation to my work. Our work is truly gratifying, no question about it!” Great job Fabiola, you’re great at inspiring your students!

Estela, an intermediate student, proudly shared her cards among family and friends. Then, orders started rushing her way. She now has two clients, one ordering a set of 50 birthday cards and a second person ordering 50 baptismal cards. Great job Estela, the Chavez Center is very proud of you and every committed, hard-working student!
Estela creates her famous card!
Students help each other learn to
work the printer for the first time
Proud students finally have their
work in hand!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Power Points and Professionalism

Right on time and dressed for success, last Wednesday our Microsoft Office students presented their formal PowerPoint slide shows.  Some were excited, some nervous, but everyone proudly shared their work. We started with Norberto who taught us how to manage our money and the importance of a budget.  Other presentations covered taking responsibility as a citizen, growing hydrangeas, El Salvador, Mexico, disaster readiness and many other great presentations.

It was amazing to see the students’ pride and how hard they are working. We’re all very thankful to their instructor Eduardo for his knowledge, dedication and great passion to each and every student. Career Development Manager Romina explains, “To see what our students are doing is really a great motivation for all the staff to wake up and drive to work with a big smile, knowing that what we’re doing is really transforming lives.”

- Written by: Elba Velasquez, Program Manager

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Welcome to the Team, Blanca!

After her welcome party, Blanca and some of the staff joined the
Cooking Matters class outside for some stretches and exercises.
 Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) is already
becoming a part of daily life here!

We are pleased to announce that Blanca Campos, a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Masters in Public Health, joined our team on May 7, 2012 as the Healthy Living Program Manager! Born in Mexico and longtime Concord resident, Blanca has spent her entire career promoting a healthy lifestyle to low income, Spanish-speaking communities. Locally, she has worked with the Monument Community for over 16 years, and is well known in the county for her nutrition education and physical activity workshops.

As a Senior Health Educator at the County Public Health Department, she coordinated a county-wide social marketing campaign, encouraging residents to eat fruits and vegetables and practice daily physical activity. At Cambridge Community Center, a large child care provider in the heart of the Monument Community, she kicked off the passage of a well-known Food Policy and multifaceted nutrition and physical activity program, eventually changing how parents and staff think about food as it relates to setting a healthy foundation for their children and families.

With Monument Community Partnership and the Chavez Center, Blanca will primarily working on the HEAL Zone project, which aims to make the healthy choice the easy choice for residents and businesses in the Monument Community.

Welcome to the team, Blanca!

Blanca (center right) started as our HEAL Zone
Healthy Living Manager May 7th 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tax Season's Over- Time to Celebrate!

Mariachi music filled the Chavez Center last week as we celebrated our 25 much appreciated volunteers who helped create the massive success for our part in the United Way’s tax preparation program, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! By providing low to moderate income households with free, quality tax return preparation, MCP and the Chavez Center were able to assist 381 community members, and bring back a whapping $552,176 to the Monument area.

IRS representative Katia O'Sullivan presented a certificate, thank you card, and United Way gift bag to each volunteer. Claudia Velasco, MCP’s Community Activity Coordinator who organized the program, expressed her gratitude: “I have no words to thank all the volunteers for all the work they did and really appreciate their time and interest in helping our community!”

County-wide the program was a huge success as well. Throughout the 18 sites, 3,209 returns were completed and $4.4 million in refunds were given back, a 32% increase over last year! Thank you to all the devoted volunteers who helped make this possible, and thank you to the United Way and their continual work to “live united!”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Taking Technology Above and Beyond

A group of technology students snuck across to the grocery store during break last week after finding out it was Elena’s birthday. Bringing back a beautiful cake, the class enthusiastically sang “Happy Birthday” to Elena, surrounding her with love and appreciation.

This gave their instructor, Elba, an idea. For their assignment that day, she emailed the class a picture of the celebration, and told them to crop their face from the photo and email it back to her. Well, Miguel did this right away, and then kept going. While the rest of the students finished up their assignment, Miguel got creative with some Word Art, Clip Art, borders and colors! When Elba went to check her email, both she and birthday-girl Elena had a wonderful surprise in their inboxes!

This sweet birthday wish is just an example of the family atmosphere of these classes, and how students who have never touched computers before are immediately putting their skills to work. “Miguel has such a great curiosity; he doesn’t let anything limit him. He makes no excuses and dedicates his time to go above and beyond what is expected of him.”

This is what inspires us.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exploring the Concord Library

Half a dozen Career Development students from around the world piled into cars with a few translators and headed to the Concord Library last Thursday. Librarian Chris Brown warmly welcomed our group to the library, showing us around. As we gathered around a table in the children’s section, Chris explained the many benefits of having a library card and utilizing the many library programs available. For example, they have free legal consultation nights, English as Second Language resources, children’s programs, DVD rentals, and computer and Wi-Fi access. The students were thrilled by how much the library has to offer and surprised to find out how easy it is to get involved.

Since most of the Career Development students hadn’t been to the library yet, Chris set us up on computers and within minutes Sandy had filled out her application and received her library card! As the rest of the group received their cards, Program Manager Romina Gonzalez explained that after seeing everyone's enthusiasm for getting out in the community, they would be doing many more field trips in the future!