NEW in 2019!

Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance (BPLA) has made some significant changes in recent weeks.  Steven “Yata” Peinovich has after serving for four years as our organizations President has stepped down.  The new BPLA President is Sarah Sabelko, a teacher at the Durand-Arkansaw School District.  Filling the office of Vice-President is Marilyn Sinz, a retired teacher and recipient of the BPLA Volunteer of the Year award two years ago for her work as a tutor.  Taking over the responsibilities as Secretary is Rita Magno, the Alma Public Librarian.  Remaining as the BPLA Treasurer is Carol K. Bauer, who has held this office for seven years since retiring from the Pepin County Clerk’s Office.

Gwen Sweeny, who has served for the past three and one half years as the Director and Outreach Coordinator, will take on the new role of Coordinator of Academic Achievement Testing beginning in January.  Filling her position as BPLA Directdebhead18or and Outreach Coordinator is Debra Fisher.

Debra (Lauer)Fisher returns to Pepin County after a 23 year leave of absence.  Debra holds a B.A. in Theatre and Speech Communication and a M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.  She splits her time between the BPLA and substitute teaching for local school districts.

Debra, Gwen and Sarah will be meeting this week to discuss  future plans for the BPLA  in 2019.



Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance Gala

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On the evening of Friday, June 9th Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance hosted a Recognition Gala at the Danzinger Winery in Alma, WI. BPLA was honoring all of our supporters and donors. All of the appetizers were graciously provided by our volunteers. It was a beautiful night and many wonderful individuals attended! Music was provided by Yata, Yata! THANK YOU TO ALL ATTENDEES!

Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance recognizes learners, tutors, and volunteers

By Laura Berndt
The Courier-Wedge

 The Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance (BPLA) hosted Annual Recognition Luncheon at the Cell Block in Durand on Friday, March 31. That afternoon, the group recognized the some of its dedicated learners, tutors, and volunteers.

That afternoon, 19 people were in attendance. The fourth annual luncheon began with a call to order and welcome by Yata Peinovich.

“Today’s focus will be those of you who have been successful in your learning, and we want to recognize your hard work,” said Peinovich. “We also want to recognize the tutors who have helped you along. We’re here because we believe in the value of good education, and language skills, financial skills, and all the things that come with that.”

Peinovich added that many adult learners face challenges as they balance their education, family life, and careers. He encouraged the learners in attendance to keep in touch with the BPLA, even after they have reached their initial goals, and stated that the BPLA is happy to help in any way possible.

The group then took time to recognize award recipients. First, Peinovich presented the Outstanding Student Award to David Opell, and the Outstanding Tutor Award to Opell’s tutor, Suzanne Ebersold. After working with Ebersold, Opell has earned his GED.

Next, the BPLA recognized the Outstanding Partner Agency, Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Lima, the site for a weekly English Language Learning (ELL) Center. Tutors at this location are Linda Schaub, Carol Bauer, and Luz Oritz, and the three tutors were recognized at the luncheon. The group meets on Sunday after mass. (Currently, the group usually meets from about 5 to 6 or 6:30 p.m.) There are different levels of study, ranging from beginning learners to more advanced learners. The learners study English, grammar, and basic math/money skills. On occasion, speakers also attend and share their knowledge. A program focusing on health literacy is currently in the works.

Bauer noted that she and the others greatly appreciate the church’s support. Oritz also thanked BPLA for the services they offer.

Next, Miguel Hernandez and Luisa Teople each received Outstanding English Language Learner awards. Both have recently advanced to the next level of their studies. Bauer provided an overview of the many areas that the learners have studied, and expressed her appreciation for their hard work.

Hernandez thanked Oritz, Bauer, and Schaub for their time and help. “They have helped us to learn English, and communicate better,” he said. “I am very thankful for the support.”

The group then recognized Outstanding Volunteer, Pete Adler. Adler volunteers each week in the Pepin County Jail, teaching a course on Financial Literacy. Adler shared that the experience has been educational for him, as well, as he connects with the inmates and learns about the struggles they face.

Following the award presentations, Treasurer Carol Bauer then gave the Treasurer’s Report, and noted that the BPLA is grateful for its many donations. Peinovich also gave a report on grant applications, and expressed gratitude for the Committee members who worked on grant writing. He also extended thanks to Outreach Coordinator Gwen Sweeney for her continued efforts.

Peinovich gave an update on recent BPLA activities and initiatives, including the BPLA’s recent move to the second floor of the Pepin County Government Center.

Before adjourning, the group also discussed goals for 2017. Goals include developing an ELL Learning Center in Alma, exploring a new location where childcare can be provided for learners, beginning job seeking classes in the Buffalo County Jail, and an upcoming fundraising activity (date to be announced.)

The next BPLA meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 8, at the Alma Library at 10 a.m.

The BPLA is a non-profit organization designed to provide literacy services to Buffalo and Pepin County, Wisconsin adults. For referrals or more information, contact 715-672-8859.

Annual Recognition Dinner

Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance holds an annual recognition luncheon to show respect and support to our learners, tutors, volunteers, and local supporters. This year we will be recognizing:

David Opel- GED Learner of the Year

Miguel Hernandez- English Language Learner of the Year

Luisa Tepore- English Language Learner of the Year

Pete Adler- Volunteer of the Year

Suzanne Ebersold- Tutor of the Year

Lima Church- Community Partner of the Year

Thank you everyone for your hard work and dedication to the literacy program in our area! We are making a difference together!

Local Donor Support

Buffalo Pepin County Literacy Alliance (BPLA) would like to thank and recognize all of our local donors~ We truly appreciate the funding support from all! This is how we are able to help and make an impact in our communities!

Thank you to the following businesses and individuals:

Xcel Energy

James and Shaun Duvall

Nelson Communication Cooperative

Bautch Insurance

Eau Galle Cheese Factory

Security Financial Bank

Richardson Electric

Bob’s Auto Body and Frame Shop (Cochrane)

Wisconsin Literacy and Anika Paaren-Sdano

St. Croix Valley Foundation

Castlerock Foundation, Inc. and Judge Schlosstein


Riverland Energy Cooperatives

Friends of Alma Public Library

Fedie Enterprises, LLC.

Jeannette Ruff

Carol Bauer

Buffalo Pepin County Alliance Makes a Difference! Support your community organization!

Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance’s (BPLA) mission to provide literacy education services to our community has evolved during the past several years. We have developed a three prong approach to include individuals in our corrections systems, members of the general public, and English language learners.

  • Corrections: Focus is on General Education (GED) and High School Equivalency (HSED) Diplomas, career counseling, and health literacy. BPLA currently serves ten individuals. We have had one HSED and one GED graduate.
  • English Language Learning: English Language classes and tutoring are held in the basement of Holy Rosary Church at Lima every Sunday; serving eight-to-ten learners.
  • General Public: Focus is on vocational and health literacy and academic preparation. We have served twelve learners during the past year (2016).Literacy impacts the lives of adult learners! The potential annual earnings of an individual with a GED is nearly $10,000 more than someone without a GED; $25,000/year versus $15,000, according to a 2012 Survey of Incomes by the U. S. Census Bureau. Improved reading comprehension and writing skills can also lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. Adult learners become more productive members of the community resulting in lower taxes due to reduced crime and incarceration rates, less reliance on entitlement programs, lower health care costs, and fewer individuals and families living in poverty. As baby boomers retire, the need for skilled and educated employees is growing. BPLA teachers and tutors focus on the core skills employers need such as writing in English, reading comprehension, math skills and use of computers. Dwindling education resources have left many adult learners behind. BPLA is here to meet their needs, but we cannot do it without the help of people like you.Please consider making a donation to the Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance (BPLA). We are a non-profit, tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization, so your gift is tax deductible.. ACT NOW! Thank you for your support.

BPLA Office Moving!

For your information, the Buffalo Pepin County Literacy Alliance Office will be moving to the Pepin County Court House. We will update everyone with the address and information as soon as we have an update.

Thank you for your patience!

BPLA Board Meeting

Buffalo Pepin County Literacy will be holding our next board meeting on Monday, January 9th from 9-10:30 am. Please come and join us and learn more about BPLA and what we do for the community. Our meetings are held at the Pepin County Job Center in Durand.

Donate Today!!

Buffalo Pepin County Literacy Alliance is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. We enhance our everyday community lives annually from your generous donations! Please take the time to donate to our community and change the lives of everyday people and our society!