A grandmother who is overcoming a lifelong learning disability will be honored by the Stanislaus Literacy Center as its Shining Star Award winner next month.
Stephanie Lee will receive the award at the fifth Wine, Jazz and Movie event Sept. 30 at the State Theatre.
Lee, who relied on her athleticism and personality when she was in elementary school, dropped out of school. Her inability to read and write proficiently led to a string of jobs in warehouses, where she did heavy lifting and coaxed friends or co-workers into helping her whenever paperwork was involved.
Recent surveys suggest that more than a quarter of applicants to manufacturing firms read at a fourth-grade or lower level. And nearly a quarter of the people in Stanislaus County don't have high school diplomas, compared with nearly 16 percent nationwide.
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Lee began in the Stanislaus Literacy Center's tutoring program two years ago, reading at a second-grade level. She now reads at a high-school freshman level, with plans to pass her GED and go on to college. She is leading the Adult Learner Leadership Institute, encouraging others to become leaders as adult learners.
The Sept. 30 fund-raiser begins at 6 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception and music by the Kyle Barker All-Star Jazz Band. The awards ceremony and a showing of the movie "Precious" will follow. Tickets are $30 per person. Contact Stanislaus Literacy Network at 522-0656.
Modesto's Diane Sharkawy is among a team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps workers helping to continue the rebuilding of New Orleans with the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching. A 2004 graduate of Beyer High School, Sharkawy is in a six-week stint working on the St. Bernard Project, rebuilding homes for families displaced by the hurricane. She is one of 219 people, age 18 to 24, who will spend 10 months performing public service in various parts of the country. She'll receive more than $5,000 in scholarships and living expenses for her efforts.
Sharon Sumner of Modesto won silver and bronze medals in bowling at the U.S. Transplant Games in Madison, Wis., early this month. Sumner, who had a heart transplant in 2005, and teammate Kathy Clark of Alameda placed second among women 50 to 59 years old in the doubles tourney. Sumner was third in the singles. The games, held every other year by the National Kidney Foundation, showcase the success of transplant surgery and the need for future donors. "It was an event that you cannot really put into words," Sumner said. "I'm glad I went, and I will be going again in 2012."
Modesto resident Ivonne Bachar, Stanford University's director of property management, has been elected to serve a second two-year term as vice president of membership for the National Property Management Association, Inc. She will oversee programs to promote and retain association membership. She's been a member of the association for 29 years.
Two valley Coldwell Banker real estate agents received distinctions recently.
Realtor Fred Miller was named realtor of the year by the Central Valley Association of Realtors. In his 33-year career he's served as president of that organization and has been a director on the California Association of Realtors. He also promotes the Realtor Musical Review, which will feature members of the community performing Sept. 11 at the State Theatre to raise money for Community Housing & Shelter Services. Tickets are $25 and are tax-deductible. Contact Miller at 606-9752 for tickets and more information.
Cindy Yoder, a broker agent with Modesto's CB Vinson Chase real estate firm, has been selected to serve on Coldwell Banker's sales associate advisory council. She will participate in the council's 2010 meeting in mid-October in Parsippany, N.J.
Two valley lawyers from the Herum Crabtree firm, Steve Herum and Brett Jolley, have been honored by legal publications. Herum Crabtree represents clients on land use and environmental issues.
Herum, for the fifth straight year, has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine. The magazine screened 47,000 lawyers and chose Herum, 57, among its top 5 percent. He was named California Lawyer Magazine's land use lawyer of the year in 2005.
Jolley, an attorney and shareholder in the Herum Crabtree firm, has been named a "rising star" by Super Lawyers magazine for the second consecutive year, honored as one of the top attorneys under 40 years old in Northern California. Jolley, 35, is president of the state bar's California's Youngest Lawyers Association. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his law degree from University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law.
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