We hope you enjoyed hearing the selected student essays at the 2015 Annual Recognition Event as much as we did!
Lorena Lemus de Hernandez
When I came to United States three years ago I was so excited because one of my dream was to work as a nurse, but I never realized that it would be so difficult. Why? Because I didn’t speak English as well as needed to work as a nurse I was so desperate for a long time. One day I said to myself I’m going to improve my English no matter how hard it is and one day I’m going to get my goal because “English” will open the door. So I started to look forward to where and who can help me I kept going. The teacher that Literacy Council got me is the best. She is not only my teacher she is my friend who I can trust she helps me a lot. My English is getting better now little by little and one day my dream will come true.
My name is Nansy. I am from Sudan. In my home country I went to school and after school I got married. I love my country because I had a beautiful family. People in country are very nice. In my country people eat fresh food every day. Everybody is friendly in my country, but there is no freedom for women. In my country the freedom is only for men. Women can’t speak up. You can’t make decisions if you are a woman or a girl.
I came to the U.S. for a better life. Life over there is very hard. Sometimes people can’t finish their education because they have no money. Here you have an opportunity to go to school and to eat whatever you want in this country. I want to go to school. I want to be proud when I go back to my country and show them that I got a degree from America. I want to open a school in my country. The first thing I would like would be to open a shelter because now some children don’t have food. That is my hope for my future and it begins with English class.
Don’t Lose Hope!
I was a teacher for 22 years in Bolivia. When I came to USA in 2007 I wanted to work immediately as my parents always did. After 2 months I found a job in Hyatt Hotel in Reston as a dish washer. I tried to do my best in this job but I never lost my hope of returning to work with children. Also, I was pretty sure that I have to learn English first. Then after one year I found on the internet a job as a teacher assistant in the Argentina school in Maryland. Was far for me because I was living in Reston, but my hope to work as a teacher was bigger than the distance. I went to just one time as a teacher assistance then the principal offer me a job as a Spanish teacher of first grade. It was wonderful! I worked in this school around 2 years. The most important thing to me was I don’t need English for this position but I learned that I need English for communicating with the parents because most of the parents didn’t talk Spanish. Since then I try reading everything that I saw. Also I went to some Church to learn English. I used youtube to find some grammer classes in English. After that in the Craiglist website I found another job as a leader teacher in preschool in Falls Church. This was near to my house. For this reason I decided to change jobs.
Now, I work in Communikids as Spanish teacher around four years. And also I moved from Reston to Vienna. Now my job is near to my house. Also I give tutoring classes for reading and writing in Spanish for kids.
I know I don’t have enough time to learn and practice English but I try everytime that I can. I know learning English is too hard for my age but it is not an obstacle for me. My goal is to learn English well. I want to say to everybody that nothing is impossible, yes there are things along the way like the English language, but you can study. Now I feel better than seven years ago. I just want to say thanks for my job, thanks for my health, and thanks for knowing Dorothy who is my English tutor and thanks for my family.
See the full program book with even more student essays, the list of volunteer service anniversaries (ranging from 5 years to 30 years of service!), those recognized as volunteer of the year, and all of the nominations for outstanding student, teacher, and tutor.
Click on image to download pdf version.
Tags: Family Learning, thank you!
This FLP academic year was full of changes for me. Change, even when it’s positive, can be very stressful and I’d like to take this time to reflect on this past year and thank all of you who have been involved in the Family Learning Program. In July of last year I embarked on the adventure of parenthood. I left work on a Thursday afternoon, thinking my task list for Monday. Monday arrived and instead of tackling work tasks, I delivered a baby boy, Alexander. I didn’t return to the LCNV office until mid-October and during my maternity leave whatever was on my task list and other work-related items were long-forgotten. I returned to work having missed the intense back-to-school frenzy that I’d grown so accustomed to experiencing: a new group of AmeriCorps members arrived and were trained and FLP registrations happened. I can say with certainty that the Family Learning Program was different for me this year which meant it was probably different for others too. In addition to missing the beginning of our FLP “school year” I spent the remainder adapting and adjusting. Although I believe (at least I hope) that I provided appropriate support to the parents we serve prior to becoming one, now that I am a parent I can relate even more. Now that I have done my fair share settling back in, I hope this coming school year will be dedicated to program improvement and I am very much looking forward to it.
Thank you to everyone that supported me and the program this part year: Minta Trivette, for filling in for me during my maternity leave and doing such an amazing job; Erin Finn, for working closely with and guiding Minta; the lead FLP teachers, for their exceptional teaching and their flexibility (Elizabeth Magee, Serife Turkol, Sanem Cardin, Sheila Weiss); the children’s teachers (Beverly, Virginia, Nancy at Crestwood, Mirna, Nancy at Woodlawn, Josephine, Ysabel, and Shahida); the FLP volunteers, for their time and talent (Jessica, Marla, Jeff, Fred, Veronica, Judy, Vicki, Stephen, Maria, Kristen, Samantha, Judy, Amy) and a very special thank you to this year’s AmeriCorps members (Alicia, Jose, Kerrin and Sara) who all taught FLP classes, managed paperwork, participated in projects and did so in such a professional way. And thank you to anyone else who I may have left out.
-Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Specialist
I started my time with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia in February 2007 as many do, by training to become a tutor in the Basic Literacy Program. Since that time, I have been assigned three students, and my current student is on his way to becoming a United States citizen. Tutoring is very gratifying, and I have enjoyed all of my students.
In October 2007, I also began volunteering in the LCNV office. This is work that I also find gratifying and interesting. The tasks that are assigned are varied and range from entering data from the tutors’ Quarterly Reports and information on new students and tutors to assisting in the preparation for tutor training sessions.
One of the most interesting tasks that I have been assigned is typing the students’ essays as a part of the publication for the LCNV Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony. Each year, the theme for the student essay contest differs. For 2010, the theme was “We Help Each Other.” The students’ essays were heart warming and instructive, and it was a pleasure to be able to read them all. Take a look at the latest LCNV report on the 2010 Annual Meeting and you will see what I mean.
The LCNV office is a pleasant place to volunteer, and the staff is very helpful. If this is the type of volunteer work that you find interesting, I urge you to come in and help out in the LCNV office. There is a lot of work to do, and I am sure that you will find it a rewarding time.
~Lynn Gallagher, LCNV Volunteer
LCNV’s Annual Meeting is 7-9pm this Thursday, June 17th at the James Lee Community Center! All volunteers and students are invited and welcome to bring their families and friends. All evening classes on June 17th will be canceled for the meeting. We hope to see everyone there!
I am attending two high school graduations in the next two weeks, and the Literacy Council is hosting its own version of a Commencement Ceremony on June 17th. June is an exciting time for transitions and celebrations. I often compare The Literacy Council’s Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony to a high school graduation because there are definite similarities and yet, distinct differences between the two as well.
High school graduation ceremonies celebrate the successful completion of 12 years of education and the beginning of life as an adult with choices about continuing education. The event is filled with emotions of excitement, anticipation, and finality as young people face the new reality of days not filled with school, homework, and a built-in social network. The young graduates are finished with one chapter of their lives and now will choose a path to advance to the next, whether it’s for work, travel, college, or family-a world of opportunities to grow and learn. It’s definitely a cause for celebration any way you look at it.
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s event celebrates success but not necessarily completion. More often, for Literacy Council learners it’s only the beginning of their educational journey. The same emotions of excitement and anticipation fill the space but not the finality of a required education. The excitement and anticipation speaks to how much they have accomplished to date and how eager they are to learn more. Education is choice. Most of our adult learners are making tremendous sacrifices to attend class or weekly tutoring sessions. And it is not days filled with school, but days filled with work pressures, family obligations, and balancing time constraints; school is squeezed in as a luxury.
LCNV’s Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony is a big celebration, too. Literacy Council learners have made an important and life-changing choice. We celebrate their progress, their sacrifices, their persistence, and hopefully provide the encouragement they need to keep learning and growing.
Congratulations to successful learners of all ages.
~ Patricia M. Donnelly, Executive Director