Join the movement to help learners like Olga

November 30, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Posted in Student Stories | Leave a comment
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Olga

Do you know what struck me on the first day of arrival in America? The willingness of people to help, good will, openness. These qualities do not cease to surprise me still.

The second discovery for me is the volunteer movement. In Ukraine, it has just begun, and I hope it becomes large like in America.

For you, the concept of freedom and democracy are not empty words. You have fought decades for them. The same thing is happening in my country which is struggling for its freedom and independence.

My dream is a strong, independent and democratic Ukraine – the same as America.

– Olga, LCNV learner

We invite you to join LCNV in the Giving Tuesday movement and help learners like Olga! We couldn’t do what we do without the help and generosity of so many others, and during this season of thanks we are especially grateful for our all of our volunteers, supporters and community. On December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

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Mo Kam’s Story: “My knowledge became wider, and I became more generous”

September 16, 2015 at 3:59 PM | Posted in Student Stories | Leave a comment
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mo_web

My dream for my future is to speak English fluently, to read a lot of books, and to take some special classes such as computer or sewing. They will affect my decisions for the future.

In the past, I learned English to help myself to live with my family in the USA. I didn’t know how to improve my English for many years. But now I know, after studying the books… at LCNV, I feel as though my English is not the same as before. Through stories I have learned a lot about different countries and cultures. My knowledge became wider, and I became more generous.

Right now I hope my English will help me take some computer and sewing specialty classes. I’m suggesting more people to join the LCNV programs, and they’ll have a chance to fulfill their dreams like mine.

– Mo Kam

Please consider purchasing an item off of our wish list from September 21-25 through Fall into Giving, an online donation drive, to help learners like Mo Kam achieve her dreams! Thank you.

Huong’s Story: “I’ll Try and Try”

August 21, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Posted in Student Stories | Leave a comment
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My name is Huong. I’ve lived in the U.S. for four and a half years. My parents, my brothers and my sisters have lived here for twenty five years. They have succeeded in their lives. Before, I didn’t go with them, because I got married with a good man. We have two children. My son is 24 years old. He’s studying IT (Information Technology). He’s in his second year at NOVA. He’ll enter George Mason University next year. My daughter is 22 years old. She’s studying electrical engineering. She’s in her third year at George Mason University. I hope my children will be successful and happy in their lives in this free country.
Huong

When I was in my country, I had my own business cutting and selling glass and mirrors. I also made aluminum doors, cabinets, and wardrobes. My business was growing and I had a lot of customers. One day, my husband and I changed our minds. We decided to move to the U.S. for my children to have a better future.

When I was in my country, I had almost many things. Such as, I had a good job, a few homes and several vehicles. When I came here, I didn’t have anything. It was too hard for me. But I didn’t get discouraged. I kept trying to make my hopes and dreams become true.

At first, I studied, I got a driver’s license. I bought an old car later two and a half months I came here. And then I looked for job and I studied, I got a cosmetologist license. After I lived here three years, I bought a small townhouse. Now, I’m learning one hundred questions for the citizenship test. I hope I’ll pass citizenship this year. Then, I’ll go back to my country to visit my family in law and my friends.

I continue to study English even though I’m so busy. I hope my English improves. I’ll enter NOVA Community College. If I can, I’ll get a medical assistant’s license. I hope I’ll have a good job and good benefits future. I hope my dreams to come true. I’ll try and try.

– Huong

A Good Match

April 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Tutoring, Volunteers | 1 Comment
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Student Laura and tutor Paula

Student Laura and tutor Paula

The first thing I notice about Laura every week is her sparkling eyes and infectious smile. No matter what challenges she has faced since our last meeting, Laura never misses a tutoring lesson. I think of our time together – mostly in the small meeting room at Westover Library in Arlington – as her “clean, well-lighted place,” a place where Laura can sit down, open up her Laubach book and focus on the week’s lesson.

Since we began meeting in 2012, first at a Falls Church library that is temporarily closed for renovation, I have seen Laura gain confidence in herself and an improvement in her reading level. She is currently looking for a second part-time job. The main challenges in finding one are her current job schedule at a major grocery chain and the time she spends caring for her aging father. However, no matter what trials come her way, Laura never gives up. It is a joy to know her and see her every week. Not only is she an eager student, Laura has become my friend.

Written by Paula Cruickshank, LCNV Tutor

LCNV ESOL Classroom Student Essay

July 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Posted in Class, ESOL, Student Stories | Leave a comment
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One ESOL Classroom teacher kindly shared one student’s essay (with approval and with the teacher’s corrections).  The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English in order to empower them to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. LCNV students are beginning English language learners who read at or below a sixth grade level.

This student essay serves as a great reminder of why LCNV is here to serve its learners. (Click on each page below to enlarge it.)

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

LCNV ESOL Student Essay 2_Page_1 LCNV ESOL Student Essay 2_Page_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LCNV ESOL Classroom Student Essay

April 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM | Posted in Class, ESOL, Student Stories | Leave a comment
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One ESOL Classroom teacher kindly shared one student’s essay (with approval and with the teacher’s corrections).  The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English in order to empower them to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. LCNV students are beginning English language learners who read at or below a sixth grade level.

This student essay serves as a great reminder of why LCNV is here to serve its learners. (Click on each page below to enlarge it.)

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

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New Year, New Citizens: Helping Adult Learners Achieve

January 16, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Tutoring, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Candelario Chavez _Bob Stump

(l to r) Candelario Chavez, student, and Bob Stump, tutor

The Literacy Council is pleased to report that last year thirty students passed the citizenship exam and/or were sworn in as citizens last year. Each naturalized student undoubtedly came away from the ceremony with his or her own memories of the most meaningful part.  For Candelario Chavez, this moment occurred at the end of the ceremony when the song “Proud to Be an American” was played. “It’s a beautiful song, and I never heard it before,” recalled Candelario.  “It stabbed my heart.” Given the amount of material to master, preparing for the citizenship test can be an arduous process for those students who began their tutoring with limited oral English and/or no reading and writing skills.  “It’s  hard work to learn all that,” Bob Stump, Candelario’s tutor reported.  “The tutor has to be very patient, and the student has to work hard.” Our naturalized students generally believe that the rewards  of having become citizens more than compensate for all the effort involved in becoming one.   For Seetha  Perumal, Brenda Franks’s student, becoming a US citizen fulfilled a dream.  “This 4th of July she waved her naturalization ceremony flag and celebrated her first Independence Day,” Brenda reports.  Candelario feels that he now receives more respect from people with whom he comes in contact.  “People give immigrants (who are not citizens) a hard time,” he said.  He is especially looking forward to voting in the next election, as is Maha Emara, Kate Radkowski’s learner. Mickey Sweeney shares that her student, Salwa Sherwany, is “happy and thrilled,” having obtained the goal of citizenship. “It will make life easier for her, especially arranging her trips to Kurdistan to visit family,” Mickey says. She adds “And, being the positive person she is, I think she will be a wonderful US citizen.”

Passing the test can radically change individuals’ sense of themselves.  This was recently the case for one of our tutoring students who had extremely low self esteem because he had been told all his life that he was not smart enough to learn anything.  When he passed the test with no trouble, his confidence and feelings of self-worth soared. Tutors’ admiration for their students’ citizenship achievements shine through their reports. “Faraidoon is a very basic literacy student,” Ed Faggen wrote.  “He exhibited a remarkable memory…He worked diligently, learning to recognize the words for reading and how to write the needed vocabulary…I am very proud of him.” Tutors are often surprised to find how deeply the experience of helping their students achieve this milestone has affected them.  As Kate Radkowski wrote, “After Maha passed her citizenship test, it really allowed me to see the power of an individual helping someone else achieve something so important.”

Interested in helping an adult learner, visit the events page to register for the next tutor training workshop.

Reprint/revision of original article by Elise Bruml, former Director of Tutoring
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

Katherine S. Lee: Student Story

November 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Original photo: “Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Ying Lin,” on culturedart.blogspot.com

We honor our veterans every year on Veteran’s Day. My father is one of the millions of veterans who fought and served their country. My father is an Ex-Navy Seal who fought in the Vietnam War in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was drafted at a young age due to only being a part-time college student. My father never speaks about his time in Vietnam and will never to anyone. No one except for our family even knows he is a veteran. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, or Atheist you probably know a veteran. Whether you are pro-war or against war, you probably know a veteran. I am proud of my father’s service.

Sometimes we never really see the other side of a war when we are in armed conflict; this  can become a pretty ethnocentric experience. One of my students grew up in Vietnam during the war. She is an extremely bright, curious, and amazing student that loves to learn and challenge herself. One day, in class, we were speaking about childhood and she shared her experiences with the class. She told us how she would hear bombs, gunshots, and fields burning every night. Her parents only allowed her to go to school and back home. She never had any friends, she never went out, and she never was allowed to do any activities. It was too dangerous to go outside; she had to stay inside and would complete her homework. On numerous occasions, the front line would get too close and she would have to go in the safe room, which her family had built in their basements. One day, she came home from school and no one was home. She waited for hours for her family to come home, but no one did. Her brother was actually severely injured in a bombing that happened in his work building. Her family was at a hospital because they saw her brother’s building collapse after the bomb. Thankfully, the brother survived. He still has large burns marks and scars down his shoulder and back. My student said that this was her childhood. She would not change it for anything because it is hers; it wasn’t pleasant, but this is what made her what she is today.

This week we honor those who have served; those who have witnessed; those who have experienced; those who have died; those who have survived; and those who have so much to share of their experiences.

Katherine S. Lee, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 108
www.lcnv.org

It’s not too Late to Register for Class!

September 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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DOWNLOAD the Late Registration Flyer

Every LCNV ESOL Learning Centers or Family Learning class turns into its own little community, and every community is like a family.  Lorton Senior Center is one of our healthiest class sites, and I’m certain it’s because of the strong sense of community  among the students.  This past Monday, we had a really great registration, students were lined up outside the door an hour before start time.  Luckily, several of our volunteers arrived a few minutes early to help with forms, testing, and payment.

I believe that sense of community starts with a smile and an inviting gesture to join and share.  One students, who I had taught when I was an AmeriCorps Instructor, arrived at registration with two of her beautiful brown-eyed little boys in tow.  The student’s name is Ceci, and I remember her as the family stone of our class when I taught at Lorton’s former site, Grace Bible Church.  Ceci is an avid smiler, hand-shaker, team-worker, and laugh-sharer.  She constantly stretched her English speaking skills to communicate with classmates from different countries and on many occasions arrived at class with a new student to recruit for classes.

Ceci demonstrates exactly what kind of student our programs work for. Monday was her first time back at class in years, but this is because she took on new opportunities to work, birth a new son, and help her family through some  adjustments.  She still has a complicated life and a limited budget, but we’re still here to help her.  Now, she’s back because she still needs low-level English and LCNV still meets that need.  I know she’ll probably test out of our classes soon and be able to move on to new opportunities, but for now, I’m excited to see her grow and progress and help other students in her class.

You can help us meet the need of other learners and fill all of our other classes, too.  Take a look at our website to share our late-registration information at a grocery store, library, or other community location near you! Late registration will be held at LCNV’s headquarters located in James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042 on Saturday September 29nd  from, 3-6pm.

Katie Beckman
Program Assistant
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 116
kbeckman@lcnv.org
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

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