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2 posts from January 2012


California Human Development Presentation at La Luz Center

CHD (California Human Development) will be giving a presentation here at La Luz Center in Booker Hall on January 30th, 2012 from 6-7pm.  We are very excited about this presentation since few in the community of Sonoma Valley have much awareness about CHD's wonderful programs and the training opportunities which they provide eligible farm workers, though they have been successfully providing these services throughout Northern California for over 41 years to over 15,000 individuals annually.

In light of the current economy and difficulty for vineyard and farm workers to secure employment, these programs have become crucial for those workers looking to secure better labor opportunities while transitioning out of farm labor, those displaced by lack of available work, and others interested in improving their overall scope of job skills.  Hispanic workers here in the Sonoma Valley have not been very informed about CHDs offerings in the past, and we here at La Luz Center are working hard to collaborate with CHD to bring access to their services closer to this very isolated and under-served pocket of the population in Sonoma County. 

Michele Alba

Community Outreach & Vineyard Worker Services Coordinator


English Classes in Full Swing


Many new students have enrolled in morning English language classes provided by Sonoma Valley Adult School, starting in on their New Year’s resolutions.  There are many levels of instruction going on simultaneously in Booker Hall every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and instructor Kate Willmers makes good use of her five volunteer aides so small groups can learn together and practice their English.  Paulette Ross evening instructor enjoys a more intimate class with a smaller class size of 12 students.

There are 40 students enrolled now, and they carefully juggle their jobs, family responsibilities, and transportation issues to be present twice a week. 

Moises, who has lived in Sonoma for 16 years and works in landscape maintenance, has returned to English classes because, as he says, “Now I have a goal” —to study Landscape Design and start his own company.   He has a steady job and a family, and has now made a commitment to perfect his English.

Berenice, his wife, works as a house cleaner.  She took La Luz classes 12 years ago, but couldn’t fit it in once she had her children.   Now, she too has resumed her studies with a goal:  she wants to be able to communicate with her children’s teachers and be more active in their schools.  “We always listen to the TV news and movies in English,” she says.  “We try to learn at home.  But we need to invite more Latinos to come here.  I was translating for a friend, but then I told her she needed to go to La Luz.   She got a little mad at me!” Nonetheless, this is why it is tremendously important to support and encourage the student that by setting short term goals they can learn English and that is what do here at La Luz Center “states Maricarmen Reyes  La Luz Center Coordinator of Educational Programs.

“One big roadblock we have to overcome, once we find the extra time to come here, is the vulnerability we feel in exposing our lack of English skills,” she explains.  “We are afraid people will laugh at our mistakes even though we know they aren’t meaning to make fun of us.  I think it’s probably a cultural thing, but we need to get over it!” 

In addition at La Luz Center we believe in complimenting  the ESL program with an enriched child care for parents while learning English. The “ Little English Learners” program supports parents access to ESL classes, parents are then able to focus on their goals in learning English besides providing a preschool environment to children whose parents may not have the ability to introduce them to a preschool before kindergarten.

For more information about ESL classes please call 707-938-5131 or email to maricarmen@laluzcenter.org