More Photos from the 2012 Reading: A Family Affair!

March 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on More Photos from the 2012 Reading: A Family Affair!
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Another big thank you to everyone who attended the 6th annual Reading: A Family Affair.

Make sure to read our previous blog, which also highlights Reading: A Family Affair: Thank You for Supporting RAFA.

Also, visit the Literacy Council’s flickr to see more pictures of our programs and events: LCNV Flickr Photostream.

 
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Thank You for Supporting Reading: A Family Affair!

March 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The Literacy Council’s Reading: A Family Affair is always a fun event, but there was something special about this one.  Maybe the rainy, cool weather brought more people inside, because the attendance was  higher than ever – over 600 people.  LCNV Staff also had the support of 56 volunteers and very engaged members of the James Lee Community Center staff.

Six years ago, when the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia started Reading: A Family Affair, the idea was to create a fund-raising event that was fun, accessible to our adult learners and their families, and promoted books and storytelling in an active, creative way.  LCNV was bringing books to life – for families – for free.

Reading: A Family Affair has really become a local community event:  showcasing local performing artists and storytellers; promoting one of the best community centers in Fairfax County; engaging volunteers and civic organizations, like Crystal City – Pentagon Rotary Club; and hosting Clifford the Big Red Dog, a celebrity from our local PBS TV station, WETA.  The Literacy Council has created an event that brings the community together to celebrate the joy of books.

This year was also special because our local elected officials attended, demonstrating  their vote-of-confidence in the Literacy Council’s contribution to the community.  Congressman Gerry Connolly was in attendance, and took the time to present the Literacy Council with a Congressional Commendation for  50 Years of Service to the community.  Delegate Mark Keam, representing the Vienna and Tyson’s Corner District in the General Assembly, attended RAFA and  Supervisor Linda Smyth, from the Providence District, made her annual visit.  It is always a privilege to see our community leaders engaged in local events, and with such busy schedules, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is honored that they chose to come to RAFA.

Thank you to all who attended, and particularly to Verizon for their signature sponsorship and long-time funding for Reading: a Family Affair. The Literacy Council also thanks WETA-Kids for sharing Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Target and Crystal City – Pentagon Rotary Club for their continued support.  Lastly, LCNV thanks Day and Night Printing, Jason’s Deli and Cosi for their in-kind contributions, as well as the many volunteers who gave up their Saturday. Thank you to all for making Reading: A Family Affair a big success.

Patricia M. Donnelly
Executive Director
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866
www.lcnv.org

Come to Reading: A Family Affair Tomorrow!

March 23, 2012 at 3:02 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Come to Reading: A Family Affair Tomorrow!
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Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) is just a day away! RAFA is a free family literacy day presented by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV). This event brings books to life through a variety of venues:

•   SEE a Book (on stage performances by puppeteers and musicians)
•   HEAR a Book (storytellers)
•   BECOME a Book (audience participation)
•   READ & WRITE a Book (reading/writing activities; book giveaways)
•   CLICK a Book (guided computer activities)

Reading: A Family Affair provides an opportunity to introduce kids and their parents to the literacy activities available throughout the community; it also has become a way for the Literacy Council to get the word out to potential volunteers, adults who need LCNV services, and businesses and individuals looking for a great mission to support.

Come and attend Reading: A Family Affair. The event will spotlight storytellers, musicians, dancers, and puppeteers from the greater Washington Metropolitan Area. Stories are told in many ways. Engage all of your senses in the magic of literacy!

EVENT DETAILS

WHEN: This Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 9:30 AM – 2:20 PM

WHERE: James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042

*Parking will be available.

*For safety and space reasons, baby strollers cannot be allowed at this event.

For a complete list of RAFA performers: http://www.lcnv.org/rafa/bios.cfm

For a complete schedule of events: http://www.lcnv.org/docs/RAFA_Schedule_2012_revised_3_13_12.pdf

Join the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia this Saturday and celebrate literacy.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 115
www.lcnv.org

The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Helping Local Nonprofits like LCNV

February 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Helping Local Nonprofits like LCNV
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The Catalogue for Philanthropy  helps raise funds for “the best small non-profits,” in the Washington, D.C., area. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is featured for the second time in the Catalogue  (2011 – 2012) as “one of the best small charities in the Washington, D.C., region.”

This past February 5, 2012, the Catalogue for Philanthropy was featured in the Washington Post article “Nonprofit’s giving portal aims to drive more donations to charities.” This article by Vanessa Small,  highlights the Catalogue’s new workplace giving portal, which aims to help generate corporate funds while emphasizing year-round giving. The portal also allows donors to control the allocation of their funds. The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is excited about the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s new online-giving portal. We hope it’ll generate more support while helping inform the public about the quality of our much needed services.

Take a moment to read this article. Also, visit the Literacy Council’s page at Catalogue for Philanthropy: LCNV at Catalogue for Philanthropy.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
at the James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 111
www.lcnv.org

Tutoring: Leaps and Bounds in Student Achievement

January 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Comments Off on Tutoring: Leaps and Bounds in Student Achievement
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Quarterly reports for the Basic Adult Literacy Tutoring Program are in! Quarterly reports provide great insights into students’ progress and the different ways literacy has impacted their lives. Take a moment to read what some BAL Tutors have written about their students’ progress, and the learning lessons that come from this one-on-one experience.

Sheka has been in need of a second job for some time. Over the summer and early fall, we completed many job applications. Sheka accepted a job at Arlington Hospital doing maintenance work overnight. Sheka now has two full time jobs. He does not want to give up tutoring nor does he want to give up contact with me and my family (the feeling is mutual). We will work it out. With luck, Sheka will be bringing his family here from Sierra Leone during 2012.
-Mary Anne, LCNV BAL Tutor

Arun has had a good end-of-the year experience: first, he passed the NOVA Accuplacer test, which he practiced with me on the computer; second, he took the citizenship test and interview. On January 3, 2012, Arun became a US citizen!
-Jill, LCNV BAL Tutor

The thing I like about Emelia is that she is always asking questions that lead to grammar, tenses, etc. I know this is helping Emelia. She told me a ‘friend’ took her to the bank and wanted her to co-sign a paper. Emelia told me the girl covered up the papers except where she was to sign. Emelia said she [the girl] knew she didn’t read well. Emelia uncovered the papers and saw the word LOAN. She immediately told her [the girl] how disappointed she was in her. When Emelia told me this story, I literally got chills. I knew our time, no matter how little, had made a difference.

Emelia is now working 5-6 days a week. She feels confident in herself. Emelia also tells me how she is helping her two-year-old with sounds. She is very proud of this.
-Jeanne, LCNV BAL Tutor

To learn how you can become a LCNV Volunteer Tutor inthe Basic Adult Literacy Tutoring Program or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Tutoring Program, please contact volunteers@lcnv.org.  Get involved or donate today, and support LCNV’s cause.

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042
703-237-0866 ext. 104
www.lcnv.org

Budgeting Challenges – Rely on the Mission

April 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Posted in Class, Community, Community Partners, Development, donations, Donors, ESOL, Finances, Staff, Volunteers | Comments Off on Budgeting Challenges – Rely on the Mission
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Watching the Federal Government struggling with budgeting challenges isn’t easy, but quite honestly it isn’t easy in any organization.  This is the time of year when the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is developing the fiscal year 2011- 2012 budget (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012), and we are making similar very difficult decisions.  In a small non-profit educational organization, such as LCNV salaries are the largest part of the budget.  Without the teachers, program support professionals, and administrative support, the organization would not function.  Non-profit salaries are considerably lower than public and private sector salaries for similar positions, and yet we need to be competitive to attract qualified candidates who live in this Northern Virginia region.  So, to keep expenses down, LCNV uses the support of AmeriCorps members, functions with a number of part-time positions, and supplements with volunteer office support as much as possible.   Program books and materials are a necessary expense and LCNV will not sacrifice the number of books, the quality of the materials, or the variety necessary to meet the need s of the range of adult learners in our programs.  This, too, is a large portion of our operating budget.  Then there are the operational costs like telephones and technology, building maintenance, printing, supplies and equipment, mailing . . . items that need to be paid to successfully run an educational service, but seem to add up to too much too quickly.  Where can we cut the budget?

Like the Federal Government, we also look at the revenue side.  Where does the money come from? In the case of the LCNV, it is primarily fund-raising income.   All of our grants, including state and local government funds are annual competitive grants, meaning every year we start from scratch raising necessary operational funds.  There are no guarantees in fund-raising and often private foundations or corporate giving programs change their funding priorities, or in a difficult economy, cut back their grant awards.  We do charge fees for volunteer training and fees for our adult learners (though scholarships are available for those in need), but added together those fees account for less than 5% of the operating budget.  Creating the income side of the budget requires strategic guessing, taking risks, and having faith in the kindness of others.

How do we balance the growing needs of the organization, fairly compensate the small staff, make sure our educational programs are cutting edge and responsive to the needs of adults in our community, while depending upon revenue that’s based on strategic guessing?  In some ways it’s a lot like the Federal Government:  there is considerable discussion and compromise.   For the most part, though, at LCNV we rely on the strength of the mission.  We believe there is no better cause than giving the gift of reading to an adult.  With the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking and understanding English, adults have the tools to launch a whole new future.   The LCNV budgeting process is to manage the expenses as close to the edge as is fairly reasonable, and talk about the importance of the mission over and over and over until the money follows.

-Patti Donnelly, Executive Director

 

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