“I must improve my English and finish my University.”

October 30, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I must improve my English and finish my University.”


Our understanding of literacy today encompasses much more than the language ability to read and write. According to UNESCO, literacy is further defined as skills enabling access to knowledge and information in specific contexts, such as technological, health, information, media, visual, and scientific. As a survival skill, literacy is important in many aspects of life. In Fatima’s story, when she first came to the United States, the difficulty she faced was not only due to her language incompetence, but are also due to her lack of knowledge in a greater, social level:

“I came to the United States on February 11, 2016. When I arrived, I was faced with lots of problems such as purchasing food, going to the supermarket, and speaking with people. Also, I didn’t know how to take a taxi, bus or Uber. It was very tough for me.

I didn’t have credit cards. I couldn’t buy anything on credit. After a few months, one of my neighbors told me about credit cards and I went to Bank of America to open a credit card for myself.

I tried to go to the park but the park was very far from our house so I couldn’t go. In addition, it was difficult to ask anyone how to get there because my English was not good.

In conclusion, from the day I arrived in the United States until now, I have problems. I must improve my English and finish my University. Thanks.”

When a student comes to us and say “I want to learn English”, we understand that they are not only wanting to know the correct grammar and phrases to make sentences, but are also looking for the proper channel to communicate a certain message. That’s why during our English classes, we are integrating many other aspects into the teaching process, such as cultural knowledges, career education, and computer skills. By teaching English language literacy together with practical life skills, LCNV helps learners to improve rapidly and become self-dependent. If you believe in our cause, support us by volunteering with us or make a donation today!

“I definitely have the desire and willingness to share everything I leaned”

October 23, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I definitely have the desire and willingness to share everything I leaned”


Language barrier is one of the most formidable difficulties met by people who come to settle down in the United States. Sometimes, even simple interactions might seem like daunting feats due to the lack of language skills. That’s why learning English and becoming proficient in it can sometimes be a change maker for many individuals and families. This week, we would like to share Sylvia’s essay with you. It is inspirational to see her strong will in improving English and actively using it to share her life with family and friends (and that helps her to improve too!).

“During the different studies in English classes and institutes, I recognize that I have had good teachers and excellent friends. I have learned the meaning of many words in English. However, I need to learn more about the grammatical structure of the language, and to educate my ear to the language. Therefore, I am focusing on developing the skills [in my] courses and [viewing] films and other materials.

I definitely have the desire and willingness to share everything I leaned from a basic level with the different people in my community and in all social, professional and family activities.

My goal is to learn English, tailored to my time and possibilities. I would love nothing more when the day comes when I master the English language which will help me develop myself personally and professionally.”

By teaching English language literacy together with practical life skills, LCNV helps learners to improve as well as break through barriers and anxiety. If you believe in our cause, support us by volunteering with us or make a donation today!

“It is very important when I can speak with and understand other people.”

October 16, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “It is very important when I can speak with and understand other people.”


LCNV learner Norma knows the importance for her to learn English. Norma used to feel frustrated when communicating with people during work or shopping, and needed a translator when she went to the doctors. However, when Norma joined LCNV’s classes, she felt her life take on changes – changes that make her feel “confident and happy”. Read her story below to find out how English changed Norma’s life.

“I like to learn English because it is very important. I can speak with other people and I can find a better job. By learning English, when I go to work or go shopping, I feel more relaxed. I don’t feel frustrated. When I go out and have to ask people for something, I can communicate better. The best part is when I go to see the doctor with my kids, I don’t need translators. Learning English makes me feel more confident and happy. Since talking English classes, I have been able to understand my children, watch English movies, and have helped my children do their homework.

I hope to continue with my classes [with LCNV] because it is very important when I can speak with and understand other people.”

At LCNV, we believe that English is a survival skill for a person to live freely in this country and fully participate in the community. If you believe in our mission and would like to help us make a bigger impact, vote for us for the Catalogue of Philanthropy Changemakers’ Choice Award here and help more people know about us!

“Learning English is something that is within reach for anyone”

October 9, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Learning English is something that is within reach for anyone”

LCNV Resource Library.JPGYanira is one of our most highly motivated students. Being passionate about English from her childhood, her motivation comes from curiosity of the English language itself, and that’s what brought her to our English classes. In her essay, she has also talked about how self-learning is important and has provided several tips for people who are motivated to learn English but do not have the luxury of living in an English environment.

“Since I was little I always felt the curiosity of learning English. I watched movies in English. I did not understand anything and I wondered how it would be to learn this language well. Living in the USA helped me learn naturally and that learning English is something that is within reach for anyone. In my country, El Salvador, it is very difficult to learn English because of lack of opportunities but in high school they taught us a little and my teacher motivated me to continue learning English and I owe a lot of the interest I feel in the language to her. Undoubtedly the most decisive moment of my relationship with English was two years ago when I arrived in this country. Thanks to the efforts of my brother I could come here and discover the outside world and understand that your knowledge of English can help you. From that moment studying and perfecting English was not a dream but a necessity.

I started to practice all kinds of activities in English such as reading and watching TV [and] movies. I was improving and I felt the desire to go further. As I get better there are better opportunities to continue progressing in the language. I think that if you really want to learn English you have to live in the English language as much as possible. Of course the best thing is to live in this country but if that is not possible there are many ways to learn English. For example, change the language on your cell phone, listen to the radio or YouTube, and watch TV in English. Today everything is in your reach. We never had it so easy. This self-learning is fundamental but I reached a point where it was difficult for me to go further. For that reason I enrolled in English classes [with LCNV] at Lorton Senior Center that allowed me to acquire more skills, especially vocabulary. In any case, if you want to learn English, any quality course with good teachers can be very helpful for your learning.

The result of all this process will lead me to more advanced knowledge of the language, but above all I have opened many doors personally and at work. Now I can work in a place I never thought I would, make medical appointments, talk with my lawyer, my neighbors and my colleagues, and I can teach English to my children. I am proud of the effort I am making and the satisfaction of answering ‘yes, I do’ when someone asks me ‘do you speak English’ wherever I am.”

To support our learners, LCNV is always striving to provide a variety of resources to support our learners’ learning process, such as the Learner Network and a variety of skill-based and need-based classes. This fall, we proudly present our distance learning program, English on the Go. Combining traditional classroom education with distance learning materials offered by Cell-Ed, the program is designed for those who want to learn English but have a busy schedule and cannot attend class regularly due to work or family commitments. If you or someone you know is interested for the program, come to register on October 21 at James Lee Community Center.

“She said you have a teacher who believes in you and that touched my heart.”

October 2, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “She said you have a teacher who believes in you and that touched my heart.”


Alexandra Trenfor says, “teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see”. Teachers not only provide us knowledge and education, but also give us the passion to explore and encourage us to go through difficulties. LCNV is extremely thankful to our instructors – without whom, our impact and mission will be rendered impossible. As World Teacher’s Day is approaching this Saturday, we would like to share a story about Awa and his teachers with you.

“I was born in the Ivory Coast. I came to the United States of America with my family. I had never been to school in the Ivory Coast. I started school in the United States for the first time in my life. I started learning to read and write. I started in Chicago, IL with a tutor. She helped me [and] it was with [a literacy organization] in Chicago that I started reading for the first time. It was not easy. Sometimes when I would say to my teacher that I don’t feel good, my teacher always tells me to not drop out of school. It is very important to come to school. My teacher continued to push me to study. Now I have moved from Chicago to Virginia and have to go to school with a new teacher who does not know me. I need to tell them my story that my first time going to school is in the USA. I am a slow reader and learner and sometimes I don’t want to go to school. I feel like I am not learning. One day I was supposed to take my citizenship test and the immigration officer asked me to read and write in English. I said to myself “Awa, what are you doing here”. Then I said to myself “Oh my God, I passed my test”. That day I know I was reading in English. The immigration officer said congratulations, you passed your test. That day my dream came true. I told my teacher before I left that I would call her if I passed my exam and if I did not call, I did not pass my exam. She says you will pass your test because you are Awa and you are smart. She said you have a teacher who believes in you and that touched my heart. When you have a good teacher in your class, you enjoy coming to school.”

At the end of this essay, we want to reiterate our thankfulness to all the teachers, class aides, and instructors that are working or have worked with us. If you feel inspired and motivated by this noble mission, volunteer with us to support our over 1,500 learners today!

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