Published on February 18, 2014
Welcome to the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s Volunteer Orientation! LCNV * 2855 Annandale Rd * Falls Church, VA 22042 * 703-237-0866 * www.lcnv.org
Our Mission The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English in order to empower them to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. The LCNV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves Fairfax and Arlington Counties, as well as the Cities of Falls Church and Alexandria.
Our History • 1962: Mid Allen Ries founded the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, a volunteer-based initiative, with the Basic Literacy Tutoring program. • 1976: LCNV started the ESOL Tutoring program to respond to the needs of a dramatically increased immigrant population. • 1993: ESOL Learning Centers established to better meet the needs of a growing ESOL population. • 1999: LCNV created the Family Learning Program in response to student demand for family-oriented programs. • 2007: Launch of the first annual Reading: A Family Affair to promote family literacy. • 2012: Celebrating its 50th year, the LCNV is a professional non-profit leader in its field, serving over 1,500 learners each year through its four educational programs. Mid Allen Ries Founder of LCNV
Who We Are Find out more about us on our website under Staff Bios!
Adult Literacy In the US, “literacy” refers to an individual’s ability to read, write, understand, and speak in English at levels necessary to function at home, on the job, and in society, and to develop one's knowledge and potential. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found: • 14% of adults demonstrate “Below Basic” levels of prose, document, and quantitative proficiencies. Adults in this level range from having no literacy skills to being able to locate the time and place of a meeting on a form. • Another 29% of adults demonstrate a “Basic” level of literacy proficiency. These adults are able to read and understand simple, short, everyday prose (e.g. a pamphlet). The study found that 129,000 adults in Northern Virginia lack basic literacy skills.
Our Students Each year, the Literacy Council serves over 1500 adult learners who represent 89 different countries and 56 different languages. The majority of our students are between 25 and 44 years old. Most of our students come to us through word-of-mouth, while others are referred to us from higher level educational organizations, whose services do not meet the needs of the beginning level adult learner. Upon enrollment, the Council assess students for placement in the best program and level to suit their needs. They are also asked to pay a $50 tuition fee, which includes the cost of their first set of books. Full and partial scholarships are made available for those who require financial aide through our Student Scholarship & Advancement Fund.
Our Volunteers From the beginning, with its “each one, teach one” philosophy, the LCNV has placed volunteerism at the center of its work. Actively involved in implementing the Council’s 4 educational programs, volunteers work closely with Literacy Council students, building relationships and promoting literacy in their communities. Over 800 volunteers each year participate with the Council, providing direct educational services to individuals and groups of students, as well as critical support to LCNV’s office, events and fundraising activities.
Our Programs 4 Educational Programs • • • • Basic Literacy Tutoring ESOL Tutoring ESOL Learning Centers Family Learning Program
Tutoring Programs Tutoring Programs provide individualized, goal-oriented instruction to adult learners. • Basic Literacy Tutoring – Serves English speakers whose reading and writing skills are below the fifth grade level – Served 237 students in 2011 – Over 76% are native speakers of other languages • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) – Serves adults learning to speak, understand, read and write English – Served 297 students representing 45 countries in 2011
Volunteer Tutors The Literacy Council trains* volunteers to provide individualized instruction to adult learners. Trainings are held 4 times a year for each Program. Once trained, tutors enjoy considerable flexibility! • Tutor-student pairs set their own schedule to meet for 90 minutes each week at a convenient, public location. • Utilize a mix of the resources LCNV provides and individual ideas to prepare personalized lessons. • LCNV tutoring staff, placement advisors, volunteer networks, and continuing training opportunities provide ongoing support. *A one-time $50 training fee applies.
Classroom Programs Classroom Programs provide beginning level ESOL instruction to groups of learners on a semester basis at a number of locations throughout the area. • Learning Centers – Classes to help students improve their English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. – Theme-based lessons acquaint students with American culture and life skills important to the workplace, community, and family. – Served 618 students in 2011. • Family Learning – Classes to promote learning in the home and parental involvement in their children's education. – An environment for families to learn without having to worry about childcare for their younger ones. – Served 185 students and 127 children in 2011.
Classroom Volunteers LCNV recruits and trains* volunteer Teachers and Class Aides for 3 Learning Centers sessions and 2 Family Learning sessions each year. Volunteers choose their preferred program, position, and location. Trainings are held 3 times a year. See our current class schedules online. • Teachers are responsible for lesson-planning and recordkeeping. • Class Aides assist the teacher with instruction and help students with class work. • Classroom volunteers enjoy a dynamic and collaborative atmosphere. *A one-time $50 training fee applies.
Classroom Volunteers: Student Assessment Specialists LCNV also recruits and trains* volunteers to assess students for placement in our classes and to evaluate progress. Testing involves interviewing methods developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics. The Literacy Council hosts a one-day training to prepare Student Assessment Specialists. This is a great opportunity for volunteers who are interested in our educational programs, but have a limited schedule! • Once trained, volunteers choose when and where to serve. • Testing happens 4-8 times throughout the year at LCNV’s class sites, and requires volunteers to commit a few hours a month for one academic year. *Training is sponsored by the State of Virginia
Our Events LCNV hosts a variety of events throughout the year – with a lot of help from many volunteers! • Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) brings books to life for the broader Northern Virginia Community to enjoy. • Annual Recognition Event and Holiday Pot-Luck Party joins students, volunteers and staff together to recognize student achievements and celebrate our diverse community. • Other activities include fundraising runs & walks, unique outreach events, and one-day educational opportunities for our learners.
Other Opportunities Interested in our behind the scenes work? Consider these flexible non-teaching opportunities to connect with LCNV staff, volunteers, and students: • Student and Tutor Registrar to assist enrollment in classes and trainings • Office assistant to help LCNV with program administration • Community Liaison to promote LCNV volunteer and education opportunities throughout your neighborhood • Librarian to manage and track LCNV’s extensive resource collection
Frequently Asked Questions • • • • What kind of commitment are volunteers asked to make? LCNV’s volunteers are a very dedicated group of people who are interested in advancing the Council’s mission. Each volunteer opportunity requires a different level of commitment. For instance, tutors are asked to commit to 9 months of volunteering, while teachers and aides are asked to commit to at least one full class session (2-4 months). For more details, read about the position on our website, or contact the Director of Volunteers. What are the qualifications to be a volunteer? Just as each opportunity requires a different level of commitment, each position also requires different qualifications. However, all Classroom and Tutoring Program volunteers must be 18 or over, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, be able to speak, read, and write English fluently, and be able to provide their own transportation to and from their volunteer activities. I don’t have any teaching experience or foreign language skills. Can I still volunteer in LCNV’s Educational Programs? YES! We will train you to get you started and support you along the way so that you can help adults in your community gain critical English skills they need to succeed. Besides continued training, what are the ways the LCNV supports its volunteers? When you begin volunteering, you will meet your program supervisor and other volunteers who will support you throughout your experience. They will be your first point of contact to share your successes and help you along the way. The LCNV also holds various continued training opportunities throughout the year. These in-services are geared to help volunteers expand their skills and knowledge around adult English and literacy education. Throughout your volunteer experience, you will also be invited to participate in various volunteer networks and LCNV events, which provide opportunities to connect with the broader LCNV family of staff, students, and volunteers.
Frequently Asked Questions cont. • • • • As a volunteer tutor, teacher, or class aide, I’m giving my time, skills, and energy to the Literacy Council. Why am I asked to pay a $50 training/materials fee? The Literacy Council wouldn’t be effective without our volunteers. The Council trains and supports volunteers to be the English instructors to our students. In doing so, the Council provides our volunteer instructors with the materials and books they will need to effectively work with their student(s), along with many other resources and continued training opportunities. Volunteer LCNV instructors are eligible to take any VALRC class for FREE, have unlimited access to the Literacy Council’s comprehensive Library of over 4,000 ESOL and Basic Literacy resources, may participate in any of the LCNV’s other trainings and volunteer opportunities, and are provided with regular in-service opportunities, hosted by LCNV, our partners, and other experts, where LCNV instructors can learn more about adult English education in Northern Virginia and further develop their skills. The one-time $50 fee our volunteer instructors pay contributes to the costs of all of these training opportunities and resources that your affiliation with the Council offers. How do I become a volunteer? Complete LCNV’s Volunteer Application, or contact the Director of Volunteers with any questions. Are students charged a fee to enroll with the LCNV? Students pay a $65 registration fee, which includes their first set of books. Partial and full scholarships are available. I know someone who I think could benefit from your services. How can they enroll? Prospective students are invited to call or visit us at our office at: James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042; ph: 703-237-0866.
Other ways to Support the LCNV Inspired by the LCNV’s mission, but not sure you have the time to volunteer? Consider making a donation! As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Literacy Council depends upon financial contributions to survive. Your tax exempt donation to the Literacy Council helps to provide quality education for adults in need, providing them with the skills to succeed and the hope of a better life.
Thank you! Thank You for completing the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s Volunteer Orientation! – Read what others have said about their experiences with LCNV on our website and blog. – Complete our Volunteer Application to get involved! – Contact Ruba Afzal, Director of Volunteers, with any questions or to discuss your interests: firstname.lastname@example.org 703-237-0866 ext. 111 We look forward to hearing from you!