Literacy Council of Northern Virginia Named Honorable Mention Recipient of The Washington Post 2013 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management!

May 29, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
A few of the LCNV staff and board members at the award ceremony: Erin Finn, Kitty Porterfield, Elise Bruml, Anne Spear, Suzie Eaton, and John Odenwelder

A few of the LCNV staff and board members at the award ceremony: Erin Finn, Kitty Porterfield, Elise Bruml, Anne Spear, Suzie Eaton, and John Odenwelder

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia was recognized on Thursday, May 23, 2013, by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement and The Washington Post as the 2013 honorable mention recipient of The Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.

“The Center’s Selection Committee of experts was fascinated by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s strategies and attention to practices including volunteer management, respect of and support for diverse cultures, and strong collaborations with other organizations,” said Center CEO Glen O’Gilvie. “We appreciate Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s partnership with the Center through this competition and the inspiration their best practices will provide all nonprofits.”

Now in its 19th year, The Washington Post Award is a competitive program open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the Washington metropolitan area. Candidates are judged in the areas of fiscal management, communication, organizational and resource development, planning, human resources, risk management, and use of technology.

This award is a program of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, sponsored by The Washington Post, with additional support by the Rotary Club of Washington, DC and Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership’s Nonprofit Executive Certificate Program.

The award winner is selected through a three-step judging process including a two-part written application and a site visit.  The Washington Post Award Selection Committee is an all-volunteer committee selected by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.

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. LCNV is at the forefront of bridging the gap between workers who need vital literacy skills and our region’s job growth.

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement strengthens the capacity of nonprofit organizations throughout Greater Washington, D.C.  The Center directly partners with nearly 1,000 nonprofits helping them achieve their missions through training and technical assistance programs, networking, advocacy and group buying power. For more information, visit www.nonprofitadvancement.org.

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Thank You, Giving Circle of HOPE!

May 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Giving Circle of Hope - May 2013On Tuesday, May 21, LCNV and 10 other local nonprofits were honored at the Giving Circle of HOPE‘s Grantee Celebration and Volunteer Recognition Event. The Giving Circle of HOPE helps people in need in Northern Virginia by issuing annual grants, providing direct service through ongoing service programs, and hosting community events to benefit nonprofit partners. The Giving Circle of HOPE was founded in January 2004 with four members. Since then, membership has grown to 100+ individuals.

The Giving Circle of HOPE accepts grant applications in August. All applications are reviewed by the grant sub-circle, and liaisons from this sub-circle conduct site visits with the top contenders. Applications are then summarized and forwarded to the general membership for voting at the quarterly meeting in November. This year, the Giving Circle of HOPE reviewed 36 applications! LCNV is honored that the Giving Circle of HOPE  chose to contribute to its Family Learning Program, which provides beginning English language and literacy instruction to immigrant parents and caregivers while providing their children with an opportunity to work on guided reading and writing activities or their homework.

To get involved with LCNV’s Family Learning Program, go to http://www.lcnv.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities, and to get involved with the Giving Circle of HOPE, go to http://www.givingcircleofhope.org/.

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Suzie Eaton, Senior Director of Development
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
http://www.lcnv.org

LCNV Celebrates Mayors Day with Alexandria’s William D. Euille!

May 21, 2013 at 5:45 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Cities of Service, the National League of Cities, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. This event united mayors across the country to spotlight the impact of national service and honor those who serve.

City of Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille graciously accepted our invitation to participate and visited one of LCNV”s two classes in the City of Alexandria, at the Lincolnia Senior Center. Our Lincolnia class is broken into three small groups based on the learners’ English proficiency, and Mayor Euille took time to visit in each classroom and talk with each learner.

The City of Alexandria has been LCNV’s constant partner, contributing to the overall success of the organization, its students, and their families with over $200,000 of financial support over the course of a decade through its Fund for Human Services competitive grant program. In addition to being a reliable partner in financial support, the City of Alexandria is also a very real partner in service delivery, providing adult students with a wide variety of quality educational programs. Upon graduating from LCNV’s beginning level programs, many learners continue their education with Alexandria City Public Schools Adult Learning Center, which provides intermediate and advanced curriculum, such as GED preparation, adult high school completion, and technical skills training.

In addition to recognizing Mayor Euille at Mayors Day, LCNV will honor the City of Alexandria as one of its outstanding Community Partners at its Annual Recognition Event on Thursday, June 20, from 7 – 9 pm. Please join us for this special event!

Suzie Eaton, Senior Director of Development
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

LCNV Makes the Top Five!

May 20, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ThePostAward2013

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is a proud finalist for The Washington Post 2013 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management! The five finalists include: Carpenter’s Shelter; Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services;Literacy Council of Northern Virginia; PRS, Inc.; and Young Playwrights’ Theater. The winner will be announced during the Center’s annual Best Practices Celebration on Thursday, May 23 at The Washington Post. It’s an exciting event, and we hope that you will join us and cheer on LCNV!

Registration for the event closes at noon TODAY (Monday, May 20), and limited space is available! Make sure that you’re part of this free celebration: http://www.nonprofitadvancement.org/bestpracticescelebration2013.

The Washington Post Award is a competitive program open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the Washington metropolitan area. The Center presented the first award in 1995. During the 2013 selection process, the committee reviewed applications from 48 organizations. Candidates are judged in the areas of fiscal management, communication, organizational and resource development, planning, human resources, risk management, diversity/inclusiveness, evaluation and use of technology. The award is a program of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. It is sponsored by The Washington Post with additional support by Rotary Club of Washington, DC and Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.

Suzie Eaton, Senior Director of Development
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Requiring English Language on the Pathway to Citizenship

May 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Web_Candelario_StumpLong awaited comprehensive immigration reform is finally becoming a reality. While the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia supports immigration reform, it is a bit daunting. It is likely that any piece of legislation around immigration reform or a pathway to citizenship will include an English language requirement. There are thousands of adults living in Northern Virginia who will suddenly be very interested in learning English. And LCNV is very happy to teach them! Can our 15-member staff and 700 volunteers meet this demand? No. Even today we cannot meet the demand for adults seeking beginning-level English. There are over 80 adults on our waiting list. LCNV has the experience and the desire to teach everyone who wants to learn, but what we lack are resources. LCNV needs financial resources to grow its programs to meet the existing need and what could become a staggering need for adult English language instruction. With the hope of comprehensive immigration reform, comes a greater hope for increased funding, awareness, and support for beginning-level adult English language instruction.

Literacy Means Business, LCNV’s April 18 conference, drew together a distinguished group of panelists from business, government, and policy. Our tutors and students know full well that the work of literacy is serious business. Illiteracy, as the business community knows all too well, affects the ability of workers with low-level language skills to perform adequately and to advance on the job. Experts agree that the solutions will require the collaboration of the business, government, and education sectors. LCNV is eager to find more ways to partner with business. Our new Workforce Literacy Project will work with representatives from business, our board of directors, and staff to promote effective partnerships. Our primary focus will be to create a campaign to interest more companies to support literacy education for their employees, to promote tutoring opportunities for employees, and to obtain more corporate funding. Please contact us if you are interested in getting involved!

Patricia M. Donnelly, Executive Director,
and Carol Ashworth, LCNV Volunteer Basic Adult Literacy Tutoring Placement Advisor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Sunmi: “I Don’t Give Up”

May 15, 2013 at 4:07 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Rachel and her students practice English after class over coffee

Our students are amazing, dedicated workers who are passionate about their studies and the new opportunities that open up to them through learning English. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. This is something you often hear teachers say, but in our classrooms it has never felt more true. Our students are from all over the world (85 different countries!) and they share their language, their food, and their culture with us every day. I feel inspired by their experiences and love learning more about their personal journeys.

Below is a short essay written by Sunmi, a student in our ESOL classroom program. Sunmi writes about learning English, her struggles with the language, and why it is important for her to keep trying.

English starts is difficult, but I am living in United States because I have to do study English. I would like to share the talk with the other people, but the English study doesn’t easy. I do the studying English every day. However I forget studied one every day. If the other people talk to me by English, a fear gets through me. While however I took to the English class. It was much comfortable with a teacher. A teacher understands my body language. It is so nice of teacher to understand me. So, I start the studying English again. I am yet bad but I would like to do English well on the next time. I don’t give up and makes the next English class.  Maybe I’m greater student will become to the next. 

Sunmi, you already are a great student and I love having you in my class! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Rachel Conn Martin, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Salonissima Book Group supports LCNV!

May 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

book group cake

In 2003, my book group, Salonissima, read Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by investigative journalist Barbara Ehrenreich—who lived and worked as an unskilled worker at below-poverty wages for over a year. Our discussion led to the idea of donating as a group annually to help others.  For several years, we assisted one young woman studying at George Mason University whose family could not help financially. In 2012, we wanted to support a group that supports reading.  Since I was tutoring a student at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, LCNV was an easy choice!

LCNV reached out to me recently to learn more about Salonissima–now 25-years old. One question:  how did we come to name ourselves Salonissima?

In 1987—before the popularity of book groups—several friends who work in development started a monthly book discussion group. The first book selected was Erica Jong’s Serenissima, which was very forgettable, except for the name. Later, when email and online meeting notifications became more common, we formed a Yahoo group listserv to communicate with each other. We needed a name and merged our first book’s title with Salon—to arrive at Salonissima. Salon is a good description of the wide-ranging discussions we enjoy each month in members’ homes; salon used to be a common term to describe a gathering at the home of an inspiring host to enjoy one another’s company and to learn through conversation.

Two of the original members continue to participate; one moved away for several years and is now back in the D.C. area. Approximately 18 members are active and 30 have participated over the years.  We observed our 25th anniversary in 2012.

Since 1987, the group has selected and read at least 300 books—fiction, non-fiction, short-stories, and some poetry.

We evolved from a weeknight meeting with snacks to a Sunday evening with dinner.  Typically, the hostess provides a main dish and members fill in with sides, dessert, and wine.All members seem to have loved reading since childhood. This shared love of books has fostered a community for many book group members.  We’ve shared births, deaths, divorces, marriages, hip replacements, job losses, marital infidelity, book publishing, cancer, court cases, public acclamation, graduations, and more.  Thanks to the listserv, it’s easy to remind members of monthly meetings as well as mobilize in a crisis or for a celebration.

We can recommend a very efficient book selection process. Members bring up to two recommendations they have read (and can vouch for) at a January meeting and we vote until we get 10 books; we can now do this in about 90 minutes. Selected books are assigned a month/date; members volunteer their homes to host the meetings; the person who recommended the book leads or kicks off the discussion. Reading a book is not mandatory for attendance.  The discussion often entices reading.

salonissima book club

Margaret McBride, Salonissima Book Group Member and LCNV Volunteer
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
http://www.lcnv.org

 

A note from LCNV: Thank you to the Salonissima Book Group for its generous donations to LCNV, totaling over $500! This amount will support a mother and her two children through a 12-week Family Learning class, which includes professional English instruction and books to take home that will form the base for their at-home library collection.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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I teach a class in Herndon that is part of LCNV’s Family Learning Program, which provides beginning English language and literacy instruction to parents and caregivers while providing their children with an opportunity to work on reading and writing activities or their homework. Twice per month, parents and children engage together in exercises that reinforce what they studied separately, which is called a PACT activity – Parents And Children Together.

My Family Learning class consists of only women. After getting to know them a bit more, I realized the majority of them are either mothers or have children in their lives for whom they are caregivers, whether they be relatives or friends. With Mother’s Day soon approaching, I want to take this time to recognize the mother figures in my classes and the work that they do.

As most people know, being a parent is hard work and very time-consuming. Having young children can be stressful and a lot of work. For parents that aren’t able to speak English, I can’t imagine the frustrations that they may have. Despite the commitment that these mothers have to their children, they also find the time to attend English class twice a week. After speaking with most of them, I find that they don’t want to learn English for their own gain, but primarily for that of their children. There is a strong need to learn English in order to help their children in school and to provide a better life for their children. They want to be able to communicate with their children’s teachers and to learn in order to find the best opportunities for their families. These mothers are some of the hardest workers I know, and I want to applaud their work in English class and show appreciation for all that they do both in and outside of class.

Katie Trizna, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Citizenship In-Service and Panel Discussion

May 9, 2013 at 6:08 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CitizenshipOn Tuesday, May 14, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Gloria Williams-Brevard from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will present an overview of the naturalization process and of the citizenship test. She will be joined by a panel of LCNV tutors who will provide tips on how they successfully prepared their students for the test. Questions and answers will follow. Light refreshments will be provided. If you are planning to attend,  please RSVP by May 10 to Natalie at 703-237-0866 or info@lcnv.org. This in-service will be held at LCNV’s main office at the James Lee Community Center.

Natalie Espinoza, Executive Assistant
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

WA TESOL Conference

May 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On April 27, I attended the AUTESOL – WATESOL Joint Spring Conference. The conference was a collaborative effort between American University’s TESOL program and WATESOL, a nonprofit association for Washington, D.C. area teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The focus of the conference? Collaboration in teaching and learning. Which just so happens to be one of the core values of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. Being an AmeriCorps member here, I could not pass up the opportunity of attending.

WATESOL’s membership comprises teachers in K-12, adult education, and higher education, so the conference offered a variety of discussions and breakout sessions catered to each area.

A highlight for me was the NEST-NNEST Caucus discussion. Erroneously, native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) and non-native English-speaking teachers are believed to be better than the other in certain language areas – NESTs in teaching speaking and listening, NNESTs in teaching grammar. The main crux of the discussion was that NESTs and NNESTs can work together to provide effective instruction.

Panelists during the discussion offered several examples of making NEST-NNEST collaboration happen. One such example was offered by an instructor at a Maryland community college. She talked about how she mentors novice instructors and instructors new to teaching a particular class. That she herself learned English as a second language matters far less than her experience and ability to foster new instructors. To recognize and build on each other’s strengths is the goal.

An attendee, a TESOL instructor in her native Brazil, shared her wish to have an American accent. Panelists and fellow attendees were quick to point out her ability to relate to her students on a level NESTs never could. She, like her students, wasn’t born speaking English. She learned it. She serves as a realistic non-native speaker model of highly intelligible spoken English to which students can aspire. And, anyway, to the ears of everyone else, she had a beautiful “accent.”

I was fortunate to be able to go to a conference to speak with others in the field of English language teaching. But the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia offers many trainings and in-services right here in Falls Church for your enrichment. Check out our website, www.lcnv.org/events, for more information!

Xavier Muñoz, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

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