Eric’s Story

Eric chuckles when he recalls his jail cell. “I had books stacked everywhere on my bed. I spent all my time reading about careers and work, and preparing mentally to get out and get better.”

He eventually left that cell behind, strongly motivated by his hopes and dreams. While living at a halfway house, Eric realized, “I needed to rebuild my life from the ground up.”

Although he was able to get a part-time contract job with the help of a friend, he said it just wasn’t enough. Eric discovered Digital Literacy during a visit to Lincoln Branch Library on Joseph Avenue in Rochester. He spotted the Computer Help Sign and introduced himself to a Digital Literacy volunteer navigator.

The navigator and Empire State College intern, Tricia, worked closely with Eric. By the end of their first session, Eric had a new resume and email account, had applied for several jobs, and explored websites for SUNY schools and civil service jobs.

Over the following months, Tricia and Eric continued working together. Eric learned new computer skills, applied for more jobs, and researched careers. He obtained a Lifeline cell phone, received a driver’s permit and will soon get his license. He also acquired two jobs.

Best of all, Eric now has options. He lives in a home of his choosing, and has decided on a career path. He will be starting Sterile Processing Technician classes at Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in a few months. “I want to be excellent and irreplaceable, so I’m going to study hard and throw everything I have into this career.”

While he trains, Eric will continue working at Community Lutheran Ministries. And, he’s organized a “Board of Directors” for his life. One of the members of his board is Tricia.

“Digital Literacy volunteers are phenomenal, willing to share their talents, and very much appreciated. I plan to continue to use their services, and highly recommend others use them as well.”

I truly believe

My name is Alejandra Céspedes and I have been a Board member of Literacy Volunteers of Rochester for the last six years. I joined LVR because I have personally experienced the struggles of not being able to speak, read or write English.

I came to this country at the age of 15 from Costa Rica with no English skills. I was immediately enrolled in high school where I struggled to learn the new language. I remember the frustration of not being able to read or write a simple sentence. It was paralyzing to not be able to communicate.

I had the fortune of being able to take many English classes where I eventually learned. Not many people have this opportunity. For example, my mother has lived in this country for the last 26 years and her English is not just extremely broken, but she also depends on my sisters and me to read and write any communication.

I truly believe in LVR’s mission. It warms my heart to hear so many success stories where parents can help their kids do their homework; individuals filling out job applications or feeling confident enough to enroll in school to learn skills to better their lives.

Add your voice to Aley’s. Donate now!

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As someone who came from a family of immigrants, I echo the sentiments expressed by Aley. She is a dedicated volunteer who personally knows and understands the challenges our students experience. Aley, along with hundreds of other individuals who support our instructional work in English, reading and math, and our community-based digital and family literacy programs, are the backbone of our organization. Please make a gift today. Your financial support is more important than ever!

 Margaret Sánchez, President, Board of Directors

Family Fun Camp

Family Fun Volunteers

Parents, grandparents and kids attended Family Fun Camp at Greece Community Education. Volunteers worked with families to model educational activities that parents or grandparents can do at home using ordinary household supplies. The camp’s aim is to help parents and grandparents support their children’s learning.

This one-week long camp focused on Science, Math and Geography activities. Campers were led by LVR’s Program Coordinator, Jennifer Eaton. Pictured at left are Jennifer with husband, nieces, nephew, and brother-in-law, who volunteered during the week.

The camp is conducted in partnership with Greece Community Education at its Alcott Road Facility in Greece.

Interested in volunteering? Click here

Can’t volunteer but want to support LVR? Click here