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

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

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.


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:




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:

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.

Literacy and the 30 million word gap

Jeremy A Cooney“Studies show that the average child on welfare is exposed to 616 words per hours, a child in a working class family is exposed to double that (1,251 words per hour), and children in professional families experience 2,153 words per hour.  … Vocabulary development during the preschool years is related to success in school.”

(This excerpt was originally published in The Daily Record on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Click here for full article.)

LVR a Matchstick Prize contestant

2016-04-21 LVR at CauseWave event_Susan and Bob-1The Digital Literacy program at LVR was a finalist for the 2016 Matchstick Prize, given by Causewave Community Partners (formerly the Ad Council of Rochester).

Digital Literacy was one of 5 finalists among a total of 54 submissions for the prize. Sponsored by the Democrat & Chronicle Media Group, the prize includes $5,000 in cash and $25,000 in ad space in the newspaper. It is available to nonprofits with a smaller than $1 million budget to support an innovative or creative project. Finalists were selected based on their ability to demonstrate work which had resulted in meaningful and measurable impact on the Rochester community.

Next year, LVR hopes to launch a Digital Literacy Movement that will raise awareness about the growing digital divide, engage large numbers of volunteers and advocates, and implement achievable solutions.

Over the years, LVR has evolved its understanding of adult literacy. In addition to English language literacy, LVR supports math literacy, family literacy and digital literacy. For more about the Digital Literacy Movement, email Brian Kane at

The other finalists for the prize included NAMI Rochester, Gilda’s Club, Angels of Mercy and Compeer Rochester. NAMI Rochester was awarded the prize on April 20 at a Causewave breakfast including more than 520 people.

To volunteer with LVR, click here to connect the Preview Session calendar. Attending a Preview Session is the first step to becoming a volunteer.

To donate to LVR, click here.