Focal Point: 1989 to 1993 History


This period of Literacy Rochester marked an exciting new expansion of literacy efforts as new partnerships evolved with local businesses and technology began to contribute a bigger role in daily operations.  

During the 1989-1990 program year, Literacy Volunteers of America – Rochester (LVA-R) received a generous grant from Citibank which was used to produce a series of videotapes used to train new tutors. Prerecorded videotapes were often used during tutor workshops as an introduction to the organization and serve as a tool for new tutors. 

As part of a campaign to spread awareness of adult illiteracy, LVA-R often partnered with local bookstores to host tables or promotions. One such bookstore was Kaufmann’s at the Irondequoit Mall. Community involvement was at its height during the early 1990s.

Furthermore, in the annual report, it was estimated that matchmakers teamed up about 200 student and tutor pairs, which was one of the highest amounts for one year. In total, there were 986 students working with tutors during this program year.


A new decade means new opportunities and ten years of literacy advancement in the Rochester area.

Here are some highlights from 1990.

  • LVA-R wins the inaugural Stella Award at the National LVA Conference for a promotional campaign to heighten awareness of illiteracy in Monroe County.
  • Nan Oster acknowledged dedication of workshop leaders during the annual meeting, “workshop leaders set the tone for the workshop sessions and LVA is a nationally respected advocate for adult literacy, which is a result of the superb abilities of our workshop leaders.”  
  • Tutor Recognition Reception at Rochester City Hall – Photos shown below.
  • On Valentine’s Day, students from the program wrote and sent the First Lady, Barbara Bush, Valentine’s letters. A couple months later, the organization received a thank you note from the White House. 
L - Mayor Tom Ryan & R - Hinda Miller


  • Pam Metzler was elected president of LVA-R for her first term.
  • LVA-R presented proclamation for Literacy Volunteers Week in Rochester.
  • In July, the highly anticipated new borrowing system for the library went into effect. After a couple years of organizing and cataloging, the library was evolving to become more modern with check-out practices. Additionally, soon people who were not Literacy Volunteers could borrow from the library as well with a system set up in the near future.  
  • The Hospital Awareness Committee was beginning work on creating materials to share with hospital employees. The 1991 Annual Meeting was adjourned early so that board members could watch the premiere of “Secret Survivors,” a video to inform health care workers of patients with low literacy levels. According to the annual report, an anonymous donor helped to fund the 16-minute videotape as well as fund the purchase of a television set for tutor trainings. The generous donation amounted to $8,800.
1990-1991 Annual Report - Workshop Information
1991 Annual Meeting - Watching the Premiere of "Secret Survivors"
From the 1991 Annual Meeting Minutes


  • November 1992 – LVA-R moved to Cornell Cooperative Extension, 249 Highland Avenue because the Industrial Management Council bought the 907 Culver Road location. But new location meant more space for the growing organization.
  • The LitBits editions had transitioned to be published every three months, “to keep our volunteers and learners better informed.” LitBits was published thanks to a team of volunteers who wrote, edited, printed, and mailed each edition to those involved with the organization. Today, LitBits is published electronically every month.
Administrative Volunteers Appreciation Luncheon


1993 was a special year as the first Judy Dauphinee Award went to Virginia Buechel. This award was named after Judy Dauphine, a dedicated volunteer who always went above and beyond. Annually, the award is given to a volunteer who made a major contribution to the organization. You can find the original plaque still hanging in the Literacy Rochester Office today.

Virginia Buechel spent 15-20 hours per week as a volunteer Office Manager at LVAR before any paid staff was hired. She also ensured a smooth transition between all volunteers to having employees. 

Program Stats from the 1992-1993 Annual Report
Virginia Buechel holding the plaque for the award

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