Focal Point: Literacy Rochester from the years 1974 to 1978

From 1974 to 1978, Literacy Rochester, known at the time as Literacy Volunteers of Rochester (LVR), continued to steadily grow with increasing volunteer numbers. During this time period, LVR received recognition from local governments, Literacy Volunteers of America, and the community. This era was led by Dee Jones and Nancy Rickard as both served as presidents. Read about this era in depth and explore the historic past of our organization. 


Starting in 1974, Dee Jones took over as president for Nan Oster who had been serving as president since 1970. This year brought about new opportunities for the community to get involved. Several workshops were scheduled for new volunteers to attend and receive training. One of these training dates was on Monday, March 4th, 1974, roughly 50 years ago this month.  

Dee Jones (pictured to the right) at the annual meeting 1976

During the 1974 annual meeting, it was reported that 99 new volunteers were trained, an astonishing accomplishment. More people were beginning to show interest in volunteering and supporting the cause. 

“So the important number to remember is 99, card-carrying literacy volunteers trained in the year 1973-1974″

LVR also hosted a student-teacher tea which celebrated volunteers and student accomplishments. This was one of the many recognition events that LVR hosted to honor the volunteers and celebrate the students they helped. The tradition of hosting a recognition event continued for many years and evolved into picnicks, dinners, and potlucks. 


1975 was a slow year for LVR but that didn’t stop or discourage existing members. New volunteers continued to be trained at scheduled workshops and the literacy mission was still strong.

An interesting fact was that in the Fall 1974 edition of LitBits, Jeanne Townsend noted that the official LVR logo was used for the first time in this edition. This information was shared at the 1975 annual meeting. LVR finally had an identity, and that identity was beginning to be incorporated into published works and becoming recognizable in the community. 

Finally, LVR expanded into the community and held a volunteer training workshop at the General Electric facility in Brockport.  The partnership allowed prospective volunteers to attend a workshop that would be closer to their homes or workplace.

Fall 1974 LitBits


1976 marked the new era with Nancy Rickard as president. This year brought about a major publicity push to recruit new volunteers. Volunteers and office staff wrote to local newspapers often to promote LVR and share stories about student successes and how people could become volunteers. 

Student and Tutor Match Making Process
LVR Library


The week of September 18-25, 1977 was proclaimed as Literacy Volunteer week by the New York State governor, Hugh Carey, and also by the mayor of New York City, Abraham Beame. Volunteer workshops continued to fill up and garner the interest of the community. Workshops were held all around the community in public locations, one such location was at Monroe Community College, as shown below.


1978 was a grand year for LVR as they moved to a new office space, won awards, received grant funding, and new people were attending volunteer workshops.

On April 1st, 1978, the LVR office moved to Anderson Hall, room 402, on 75 College Ave. LVR would stay there for ten years until 1988 when the office would move to Culver Road.

Furthermore, LVR won the inaugural “Connie Haendle Affiliate of the Year Award” from Literacy Volunteers of America. LVR was named Outstanding Affiliate of New York State. The Affiliate, the newsletter for Literacy Volunteers of America, featured LVR and congratulated the organization.

For quite a few years, LVR had been publishing their newsletter, LitBits, that featured updates about programs, informed volunteers of important news, and featured some student work. However, during this year the first edition of the student newsletter was published. The new newsletter originally didn’t have a name and a contest took place to name the newsletter. It eventually took that name, The Pupil’s Pride. This newsletter was exclusive to students and another resource that students and tutors could use during sessions.

Want to hear more stories? Over the years, thousands of subscribers received updates about the organization through LitbitsWe welcome new LitBits subscribers! Sign up now – Click Here or refer to the “Contact Information” section on this page. 

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