“Even though it’s hard, I would like to con­tinue”

September 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Even though it’s hard, I would like to con­tinue”

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s new semester is upon us! The start of classes brings new and returning faces to our various class locations, and with them, a range of literacy levels and educational backgrounds. While we often recall the success stories of our many learners who have achieved their goals, advanced their careers, or moved on with their education through literacy, it can be easy to forget the tremendous progress these learners make every day – and the effort it takes to get them there. The desire to learn, improve, and achieve a dream is what drives each learner to show up and speak up in class, to complete their homework, or seek out extra help in our supplemental tutoring program. LCNV learner Isata exemplifies this progress through her story of learning, and the challenges of becoming literate. Read her 2015 essay below:

“My name is Isata. I am from Sierra Le­one. I am a mother of five. It is hard to learn when you have kids. I work at Walmart as a sales asso­ciate. They offered me a position as a supervisor but I can’t take it because I need to read and write more.

By learning English I hope to become a bus driver. I just like to work for the County because I think that the County might pay better and have good benefits. To get this job I need to be able to read and write English.

I would like to thank the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. I remember when I started with the Literacy Council. I could not read or write. Today I can read and write and I would like to continue reading, writing and speaking. I’d like to thank my teacher who helped me to read and write. Even though it’s hard, I would like to con­tinue.”

“I have a job to help my family”

September 20, 2017 at 8:37 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I have a job to help my family”

For many people, taking on a new job can be intimidating. There are so many things to get used to: new coworkers, new responsibilities, or a quirky printer. Imagine starting a new job and facing all of these things without having the language to communicate effectively. Many of LCNV’s students enter classes hoping to improve their English to advance in their career, or feel more comfortable speaking English in the workplace. LCNV learner Nora describes the value of learning English for the workplace in her 2015 essay.

“I am from Peru. I lived with my family in the capital Lima. I lived with my husband Juan, my three daughters, Jeanette, Connie, and Angie. I worked for 31 years at a school. I taught elementary school, 1st and 2nd grade.
In 2001 my boss said, ‘thank you, no more job for you.’ I took a vacation with my last daughter to Orlando, Florida. I saw the people that had jobs and I thought, in the United States there would be a job for me. So I came back to the U.S. on June 21st, 2001, for a job. I need work to help my daughters study in school and university. I now work at Lincolnia Academy daycare. I worked there for 14 years. I’m responsible for the baby room. Thank you, God, I have a job to help my family. I love the kids and babies.
I’m in English class because I hope to practice English, to speak very well to communicate to other people. In my job, I have to speak to the parents. I teach and read history to the kids. Thank you, Literacy Council, for the teacher helping me learn English.”


“In America You Have the Opportunity to Change Your Life”

September 13, 2017 at 8:05 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “In America You Have the Opportunity to Change Your Life”

LCNV’s curriculum for English language instruction includes a focus on U.S. civics and culture – the opportunities, procedures, and duties of Americans. With learners from 95 different countries, LCNV’s classes touch upon different aspects of life in the U.S. Some learners are first exposed to an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as U.S. residents or citizens in the LCNV classroom.

In 2014, LCNV asked learners to write essays based around the theme “See America Through My Eyes”. Students had spent part of their semester learning what it means to be American, and now had the opportunity to share their experience of America with the world. LCNV learner Tigist writes about her perspective on America, and the opportunity and culture that she holds dear.

“What I want Americans to know about my life is that I am from eastern Africa. Ethiopia is the poorest country in the world. In Ethiopia we don’t have a lot of opportunity. In America there is a lot of opportunity that you will get. In my opinion, I see that in America you have opportunity to change your life. A day in my life in America, I feel so safe. I have freedom and there is peace and democracy. In this case I feel so blessed. My experience in America is everybody is equal, nobody is better than anybody, and democracy. In America you can speak whatever you want. You have freedom to speak or to write your feelings.”

“We Help Each Other”

September 6, 2017 at 10:19 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “We Help Each Other”

LCNV’s classes are filled with learners and volunteers of all backgrounds, professions, and interests. With all this diversity, one quality is constant: support. Each person supports the work of others in their class. When a learner is struggling at the whiteboard to write a sentence, other learners provide hints about the correct words. If a learner is tackling a difficult concept, they can get extra help in a small group before or after class. This willingness to help each other and work together to achieve success rings true to LCNV’s core value of collaboration, celebrated by everyone, from our Board of Directors to our students.

“I need the help of others and they are helping me,” writes LCNV learner Nonna. Her 2010 essay highlights the importance of collaboration, and the good things that happen when people work together.

“How do we help each other? When people are working they are already helping others. Some build houses, others live in them. Some work at the factory where they make clothing and shoes, others wear them. People cannot live without each other. They help others after work or when they do not work.

I think that I help others as best as I can. I can tell you how often others helped me. When I got sick, my husband, my children, and my co-workers helped me so that I would get better. The doctors helped me get better. When my husband passed away, I had help from my husband’s co-workers, my children, and from my friends. And when I was alone, my daughter asked me to come live with her so that I can feel better.

Now my children and my grandchildren are helping me. I look at my grandchildren and see that they are happy and I am happy with them. They help me in my life. My children live in the U.S.A. and I live here too. I need to speak English. My teacher, Dianne, is helping me with my English. She is a volunteer. I thank her for caring about me. My neighbors speak with me sometimes. And by this they are helping me. I need the help of others and they are helping me.”

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