Expanding the Scope of Literacy through Partnerships

Literacy Volunteers began over 50 years ago based on the concept of “Each One Teach One.” The program was based on a partnership of a learner and a volunteer, working together to help the world become more literate, one person at a time. The world, as we all know, is much larger and more complex in 2017 than it was in 1964. At Literacy Volunteers of Rochester (LVR) we continue to succeed because of our partners, and we’re pleased to share that LVR has a greater number of committed partners today who function in a wide variety of roles.

The base of our foundation are the partnerships that begin with program participants who are joined by dedicated volunteers. These volunteers include tutors, digital literacy navigators, class teachers and assistants, trainers, previewers, interviewers, librarians, family literacy assistants, board members, receptionists, fundraising event volunteers and everyone who helps support the literacy services we provide to those we serve!

In addition to the many volunteers are our program partners, community organizations, churches, school districts, libraries and fellow adult education programs who support our efforts. All organizations provide services and share resources in ways that support our goal of assisting adults to improve their reading, English language, math and digital literacy skills. These partners include Rochester Public Libraries, Rochester City School District, Greece Central School District, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center and Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.

Supporting these partnerships are those businesses and foundations throughout our community who have provided financial support of LVR and the work that we do. These partners include Wegmans, Paychex, Canandaigua National Bank, Thomson Reuters, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, Davenport Hatch Foundation, Wilson Foundation and Wilmott Foundation.

Behind the support of the mission of LVR and the cause of literacy are the leaders in our community. These are leaders in our organization (including our board and advisory board members) and in the community, who partner with LVR and others to help make Rochester a better community. For LVR, these leaders include Senator Joe Robach and Patricia Uttaro, Director, Monroe County Library System and Rochester Public Library, who have partnered with LVR and other community organizations to help make Rochester a more literate community.

This report and the accomplishments it outlines are dedicated to you, our friends, donors, volunteers, participants, and all our partners who are committed to literacy and who support LVR every day. Thank you for all you do!

Sincerely,

Margaret Sanchez, Board President
Robert Mahar, Executive Director

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Ruth Colvin, literacy pioneer, 101 years young

To Family & Friends, Happy New Year & Happy Holidays!

I’m now 101, well into the three digit numbers. I do count my blessings.

I continue my normal activities of being a life member of two boards (ProLiteracy and LiteracyCNY), in three book clubs, active in my church on the Mission Committee, gym twice a week, golf three times a week (when weather permits, higher handicap, shorter ball and even played with two of my doctors – I think they were curious to see if a 100-year-old could hit the ball), still teaching and doing research, travelled to the ProLiteracy national conference in Minneapolis and to California in February and March. And of course, lots of reading and now writing another book, looking back over my 100 Years of travel, my love, my life, and literacy, with hundreds of stories, personal and international.

The 100 birthday celebrations went on even at the ProLiteracy national conference, where I’m so proud to meet with so many dedicated students, tutors, and old friends. A most impressive celebration was when READ Santa Clara celebrated my birthday in California with a big cake, and instead of 100 candles they put 100 pencils in the cake, distributing them to students and tutors – what a creative group. And they skyped me, too, as they used my book “Off the Beaten Path” for their tutor/student book club. I’m delighted other affiliates are starting book clubs for tutors/students and using “Off the Beaten Path” as an opening door to learning of other cultures and people.

I’m working to keep a balanced life, as I write in my new book—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I’ll always repeat “Age is just a number. It’s what you do with your number that counts.” My number gets bigger and bigger, and I’ll continue to do my best to help change lives.

How fortunate I am to have a loving and supportive family, now welcoming my 8th great grandchild. Even though they are “coast to coast,” they insist I email them every morning, and they call me every day. I’m blest to have so many caring friends who not only check up on me but are ready to help me when and if needed. I count my blessings that I have an active mind, that I’m physically fit, and that I can continue to contribute to life.

Happy Holidays, and peace and joy go with each of you, Ruth Colvin

Follow Ruth’s example and DONATE or VOLUNTEER

Brain Game Breaks Record

Congratulations to Phillips Lytle LLP, winner of the 2017 Brain Game. The team toughed out serious trivia questions and bested more than 20 other teams to win the coveted Brain trophy.

And, Literacy Volunteers of Rochester (LVR) scored a major success as it surged passed it’s goal and set a new fund raising record. Over $45,000 was raised at the event.

LVR thanks its many sponsors and the over 300 people who attended the October 26 event.

Gold Sponsors

  • Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
  • Digital Literacy Navigators
  • SMP
  • St. John Fisher College

Silver Sponsors

  • NetApp
  • Pivot Point Security

Patron of LVR

  • Al Sigl Community of Agencies
  • Marathon Engineering
  • Roofing Innovations, LLC
  • Stantec

Team Sponsors: Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester; Avalon Document Services; The Bonadio Group; Brighton Securities;  EFPR Group LLP;  Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library; Harris Beach; Harter Secrest & Emery LLP; Monroe Community College; Monroe County Library System, Nazareth College; Nixon Peabody LLP; Phillips Lytle LLP; Rochester Institute of Technology; Thomson Reuters; Underberg & Kessler LLP; Wood Oviatt Gilman LLP

Here’s how you too can help: DONATE or VOLUNTEER

Trivia in Pursuit of Literacy

LVR Announces 2017 Brain Game

Rochester, New York. This fast-paced and high-stakes annual trivia game draws teams from across the region in support of a broad range of literacy programs. Literacy Volunteers of Rochester, Inc. announced today it will be holding its 2017 Brain Game on Thursday, October 26 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Holiday Inn – Downtown. The winning team gets a gold (painted) brain trophy!

“This event is such a lot of fun and our supporters ensure that we have a huge impact,” says Robert Mahar, LVR’s executive director.

Literacy Volunteers of Rochester has been serving Monroe County for more than 50 years. Its small staff and large pool of volunteers improves the reading, English language, math and digital literacy skills of adults in Monroe County. Volunteers support participants in achieving their personal goals to fully engage in their community as citizens, parents, consumers and workers.

During the past program year (July 2016 to June 2017), more than 450 LVR volunteers contributed nearly 17,000 hours of service and supported over 1500 individuals in our community.

There is still time to support this event. Become an event sponsor or buy an individual ticket. Visit our website at https://literacyrochester.org/campaigns/brain-game/

WHAT: 21 teams from across the region are competing in a fun-filled trivia game to support the cause of literacy.

WHO: Event Gold Sponsors include Bond Schoeneck & King Attorneys, St. John Fischer College, SMP and Digital Literacy Navigators. Silver Sponsors include NetApp, Pivot Point Security. Other event patrons include Al Sigl Community of Agencies, Marathon Engineering, Roofing Innovations and Stantec.

WHEN: Thursday, October 26 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Holiday Inn – Downtown, 70 State Street, Rochester.

Here’s how you too can help: DONATE or VOLUNTEER

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Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

Adult Education & Family Literacy Week (September 24-30, 2017) reminds us that literacy plays a vital role in the educational achievement, economic success and health of families. As many as 36 million American adults struggle to read, write, perform daily math and use technology above a third grade level.

By designating September 24-30 as national AEFL Week, LVR and other literacy organizations are seeking to raise public awareness about the impact of adult education and family literacy in order to expand access to basic education programs for low-literate adults.

Consider the following facts on the National Impact of Literacy:

  • A mother’s reading level is the single greatest determinant of a child’s success
  • Low literacy costs an estimated $230 billion in annual healthcare costs
  • Women with low literacy are twice as likely as men to earn less than $300 a week
  • Minimum wage workers increased wages by $18 to $25 within 18 months of exiting an adult education program
  • Low literate adults are less likely to vote or join community groups

A total of 3.4 million New York State residents are either functionally illiterate but fewer than 10% are receiving help for their literacy needs.

Low literacy affects every area of life, in New York State, and throughout the U.S.

  • 43% of adults with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty
  • 50% of the chronically unemployed are functionally illiterate
  • 76% of adults on public assistance are low-literate
  • 75% of prisoners fall into the lowest two levels of literacy
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems

Literacy Volunteers of Rochester is a leader in the cause of literacy. Our English language, math, Family Literacy and Digital Literacy programs are tackling core challenges confronting the Rochester community. Here’s how you can help:

VOLUNTEER NOW

DONATE NOW

 

International Literacy Day

This year, International Literacy Day (8 September) will be celebrated across the world under the theme of ‘Literacy in a digital world’. On 8 September, 2017 a global event will be organized at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, with the overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies, and to explore effective literacy policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.  Continue reading …

Kiva is a new partner

Rochester, New York. Literacy Volunteers of Rochester Inc. has partnered with Kiva Rochester to help spur small business development in the city through its Digital Literacy program.

Kiva Rochester itself is a partnership between Kiva, the San Francisco-based nonprofit, and the City of Rochester. Kiva crowdsources interest-free loans to small businesses or those individuals interested in starting a small business. Loans range up to ten thousand dollars.

LVR’s Digital Literacy is a 5-year old program that places volunteers in 8 community locations who assist people in learning basic computer skills or completing essential computer-related tasks. Those tasks include creating online accounts, seeking information, creating resumes, applying for jobs online and much more.

Digital Literacy volunteers are working with applicants to complete the online application, especially narrative sections that require a loan description, business description and personal story. Volunteers work at city libraries (Arnett, Lincoln, Lyell, Phillis Wheatley and Sully), Greece Community Education (200 Alcott Road, Greece), Veterans Outreach Center and LVR’s main office on South Avenue.

WHAT: A new partnership between LVR’s Digital Literacy and Kiva Rochester

WHO: LVR’s Digital Literacy, Kiva (a San Francisco-based nonprofit), Office of the Mayor/City of Rochester, Rochester Public Libraries, city library branches including Arnett, Lincoln, Lyell, Phillis Wheatley and Sully

WHEN: Volunteers have already been working with Kiva applicants at city libraries. See the Digital Literacy schedule of volunteer hours at community sites here: https://literacyrochester.org/schedule/

Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

Adult literacy intersects with almost every socioeconomic issue—parenting, health,
workforce development, and poverty. To address these issues effectively, we must
invest in educating parents and workers. Adult education helps break the cycles of
intergenerational illiteracy and poverty by giving adults the skills they need to be
successful as workers and parents.

The value of adult low literacy to our economy in additional wages and the reduction
in costs for public support programs is estimated at more than $200 billion per year.
Increasing adults’ level of education is a sound investment. Yet, public funding of
adult education has declined over the last 15 years. Most adult education programs
have long student waiting lists. They are able to serve only a fraction of adults who
need services.

Click for printable fact sheet

Secret Lives of Americans

ProLit(R)_4color_MemberOrgProLiteracy is excited to announce that the TV show Secret Lives of Americans has filmed an episode about an adult who struggles with low literacy skills. Secret Lives of Americans is a groundbreaking documentary series that takes an unflinching look at the secrets people keep and the strength that it takes to reveal them to friends and family.

Watch the story of Cleo, a loving and supportive mother from Alabama, who has always encouraged her children to pursue their educational goals—all while keeping a secret that’s been holding her back. Watch the episode on Friday, June 3 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Pivot TV, or watch a recording of the episode online.