Jimmy’s Story

November 15, 2017 at 8:56 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Although many doors open to language learners when they gain English skills, LCNV’s adult learners aren’t just learning for their own benefit. November is Family Literacy Month, a perfect time to focus on the significance of adult English education for all ages. When adults can read and communicate in English, their children succeed. LCNV learner Jimmy’s 2015 essay exemplifies this perfectly, as he reflects on his new bond with his grandson through reading. Read about his progress below.

“I have hopes and dreams to read to my grandchildren and read out loud in public one day. I have struggled with reading most of my life [but] I am making progress now and I can read short stories to my grandson. In the future I hope to read my birthday card out loud in public and read long storybooks to my grandchildren.”

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“My Hopes and Dreams”

November 8, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

LCNV proudly hosts two USCIS Naturalization Ceremonies annually. We are happy to welcome new U.S. citizens and to give our current learners the opportunity to observe the event. For some learners, the ceremony brings back memories of their own experience becoming a citizen, while for others it sparks a desire to pursue citizenship. In his 2015 essay, LCNV learner Maximino writes about his dreams of fatherhood, career advancement, and United States citizenship. Fittingly, Maximino ends his essay with his dream of strengthening his English skills. English literacy is a core component of not only U.S. citizenship, but all of Maximino’s dreams.

“By learning English, I hope to get a better job. My dream for my future is to be a father and to have children. Someday I hope to buy a new car. My dream is to become a citizen of the USA. Another hope I have is to be helpful to people in my community. I want to be a volunteer. Another dream I have is to speak, learn and write English very well.”

“My Life”

November 1, 2017 at 8:32 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LCNV learners are tenacious and dedicated, pushing themselves to reach their ever expanding goals as quickly as they can. This drive to learn, acclimate, work and achieve is what keeps our classrooms buzzing and our learners succeeding. LCNV learner Fatima recalls the many goals she has reached since arriving in the United States, one of which is gaining her United States citizenship! If you would like to celebrate learners like Fatima, attend the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Naturalization Ceremony on November 8, 2017 in Falls Church, VA. For more details click here.

“Since coming to this country I have been dreaming about many things. Now my life is getting better. Before I came to the United States I was thinking that the United States is going to be easy but it wasn’t for me because I didn’t have any education, job experience or speak any English. The first year was very hard for me. After that I met a friend that helped me a lot. She saw me very homesick so she told me about this school. Then I registered for the LCNV school; the school gives me a teacher. First, she started the alphabet with me. Next, I started learning speaking, reading, and writing. Next I started looking for a job and I got one. Now I have some work experience. Later, I asked my teacher to learn about citizenship. She agreed and I started working on becoming a U.S. citizen. Mrs. Ruth started teaching me the history and government of the United States. Next I took the test and I passed. Then they sent me a letter to go to a ceremony and I got my citizenship certificate. I was so happy. Now we are working on the driver learners permit. One thing that I would say to everyone is that if you work hard you could or will achieve your dreams and will have a successful life. Now I’m so happy my dream came true. I’m thankful to my teacher Mrs. Ruth for all the hard work she did with me. I’m very thankful to teachers Connie and Mickey. Finally thank you to Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for the best program ever. God bless America. Thank you again.”

Celebrating Citizenship

October 25, 2017 at 7:50 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will be hosting a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Naturalization Ceremony on November 8, 2017. In anticipation of this upcoming event, this week’s blog highlights the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. LCNV learner Hawa writes about her experience with the interview process of naturalization in her 2012 essay, and the joy she felt after passing her exam. If you would like to take part in celebrating a dream realized for new U.S. citizens, click here for more information about the upcoming event.

“I got my citizenship in December 2010. When I went to the interview, I was scared about the questions. When I got there and the interviewer asked me to read and write and answer questions, I said everything I knew. Then she told me, ‘You passed!’ I celebrated inside myself. I was happy and I could not believe it! I said to myself, ‘Really? Is she joking?’

Karen, my ESL tutor back then, called to find out if I passed. She said, ‘Hawa, you passed?’ And I said, ‘Yes!’ To celebrate, I took the flag they gave me and put it on my wall. I still have it.

When something good happens, I celebrate.”

“Alexandria is Changing”

October 18, 2017 at 8:39 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Part of LCNV’s curriculum focuses on helping learners increase their engagement with the local community. In Northern Virginia, English language provides the key to understanding local history and the changing landscape. LCNV learner Shahnaz shows just how powerful English can be in understanding the reasons behind development and a shifting community with her 2013 essay, “Alexandria is Changing”. An Alexandria, VA resident, Shahnaz writes about the changes she has seen over a twelve year period near her home, and the pros and cons of these changes. Living in a growing region can present new challenges and opportunities, and the ability of LCNV’s learners to voice their thoughts in English makes for stronger communities.

“Alexandria is a very old city in Virginia. It was established in 1749. There are a lot of historical places in Alexandria, such as the George Washington Memorial. I have lived in Alexandria for about twelve years, and I have seen a lot of changes in the city.

Old Town is a very beautiful part of Alexandria. There is a dock because the city is by the Potomac River. There are many restaurants, shops, and an art center called the Torpedo Factory. The area is more popular now than when I first moved here. Parking in Old Town is very expensive now and harder to find than before. There are also more people and it is busier.

My neighborhood has changed, too. They have built more houses and added more traffic lights because there are more cars, buses, and trucks. In the twelve years since I have been here, I have seen many changes. I like the development in Alexandria, but I don’t like the traffic. Even with the traffic, I am happier here than in my country.”

“Learning English Makes Me Feel Good”

October 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Between July 2016 and the end of June 2017, 84% of LCNV’s learners achieved two or more of the goals they set for themselves at the start of class. These goals could be personal/intangible, or could include increasing community involvement or advancing in employment, just to name a few. The hard work that these learners do to reach these goals can’t be overstated, and the satisfaction they feel when discussing these achievements is immeasurable. In the words of LCNV learner Reena, “Learning English makes me feel good.” Read her 2017 essay below:

“Learning English makes me feel intelligent. Speaking English is important in every country. Speaking English makes me friendly. Learning English solves my problems everywhere. Learning English makes me feel good.”

Community and Confidence

October 4, 2017 at 8:02 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does “community” mean? For many, it’s a sense of belonging and comfort; a safe place or group in which one is able to both contribute and receive support. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is a community of learners. New English speakers learn to communicate and express their thoughts. Volunteers and teachers learn new ways of teaching and involving beginning-level adult language learners. Everyone benefits from their connections with and among each other – inspiring new cultural understandings and new friendships. For LCNV learner Liliana, community means having the confidence to participate in class, in church, in the market, and in the workplace. Read her 2017 essay, “Learning Gives Me Power”, below.

“Speaking English gives me the power to communicate and interact with other people such as neighbors and new friends. I can go shopping, to the grocery store, bank, restaurants, pharmacy and church. I can get a job or get a better job. I can participate in the community. I feel better and part of society.

It is good learning English because it is the language of the USA, my new home.

Thanks to my teachers, Valerie and Jody, for teaching me with love every day.”

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

September 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

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.”

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