LVA-PW was formed in 1991 when a library patron asked a local librarian to teach him to read. She did and then gathered her friends, local teachers, and other librarians and incorporated what would become LVA-PW. Since 1991, LVA-PW has grown – especially in recent years with the downturn of the economy. LVA-PW has been able to meet the demand for adult literacy services because of the generous support from our community – both in terms of volunteers and funding support. LVA-PW has both the capacity for and the commitment to this program and to our adult learners’ growth and success – as is clearly demonstrated below:
LVA-PW works with the community to develop partnerships and programs to meet the individual needs of our adult learners as well as the needs of our community that this organization strives to serve. Examples of innovative community partnerships and programs developed to meet community and individual needs include:
1. LVA-PW offers on-on-one and small/large group tutoring to include the following areas: basic literacy, ESOL, ESOL civics (citizenship), reading, writing, and math improvement, computer literacy, pre-GED and GED, workplace literacy, and Tutor Training Workshops to train and certify new volunteer tutors.
2. The Prince William County Public Library System and LVA-PW partner together to bring books into the lives of our neighbors. LVA-PW volunteer tutors also conduct and lead three library sponsored English conversational classes held at the Chinn Park and Potomac libraries and also helped to develop the Bull Run conversational program.
3. Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) requires every student to pass the writing COMPASS entrance test in order to register for classes at NVCC. LVA-PW volunteer tutors have helped many of these college bound students pass this reading/writing exam and begin their college careers. This is an ongoing program.
4. At the request of the Virginia Employment Center (VEC), LVA-PW developed beginning and low-level reading classes at the VEC for adults who utilize the VEC to obtain employment but who can not read well enough to fill out a job application.
5. The Town of Dumfries asked LVA-PW to conduct ESOL classes for its citizens at the Dumfries Community Center. Classes began in October 2011.
6. The Cooperative Council of Ministries (CCOM) asked for help for clients at the Drop-in Center who want to obtain a GED in order to obtain employment – this class has been implemented.
7. LVA-PW was contacted by the Manassas Assembly of God (MAG) for guidance and training in implementing an ESOL program in Georgetown South. LVA-PW provided solicited guidance and a special TTWS for 24 (MAG) volunteers. This successful ESOL program has been implemented by the MAG in Georgetown South.
8. PWC Services often call upon LVA-PW to meet client needs with referrals from Social Services, PWC Community Services, and the PWC Court System. LVA-PW volunteer tutors have and are able to help these individual special concerns.
9. Obtaining U.S. citizenship continues to be a growing goal of many of our adult learners who utilize our ESOL services; therefore, LVA-PW offers ESOL/Civics tutoring to improve the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of our adult learners. This instruction is combined with civics, history, and government facts and information necessary to pass the U.S. Citizenship test. This is a very effective program as many of our adult learners have become U.S. Citizens.
10. LVA-PW offers Workplace Literacy Programs for local businesses. LVA-PW volunteer tutors actually tutor at the workplace to improve workplace skills, general literacy skills, and the English communication skills of the employees. These new skills enable the employees to better communicate with staff, management, and the customers that they serve. Like most literacy programs, workplace literacy programs frequently have numerous goals including improved work-related skills, general literacy skills, and improved overall life skills.
11. The LVA-PW program also strives to support the Governor’s Race to GED initiative by providing literacy services to adults who cannot be incorporated into the county’s classroom GED setting because of very low reading/comprehension skills. Evening and daytime classes are held to improve reading and comprehension skills as well as math literacy skills. Many of our students retain their LVA-PW tutors as their comfort level increases in the PWC Adult Education classroom setting, and some retain their LVA-PW tutors until they have actually “crossed the finish line” in their efforts to “Race to GED”. Many of our adult learners have advanced on to higher education or technical education opportunities. LVA-PW works with the Prince William County Adult Education Program in order to support this initiative, while working to eliminate duplication of services. LVA-PW offers a Pre-GED class for adults with low-level reading skills who want to obtain a GED, 1:1 GED tutoring, a GED class that meets two nights a week, and a daytime GED held at the CCOM “Drop-in-Center”.
12. LVA-PW conducts five Tutor Training Workshops annually in order to train and certify volunteers who wish to become adult literacy tutors. Special techniques for working with adults are shared and discussed during each 10 hour workshop. These workshops are conducted by certified volunteer trainers who are reading specialists, ESOL and disability specialists, teachers, retired teachers, and one staff member and were attended by 95 new volunteer tutors last year.
13. The Independence Empowerment Center contacted LVA-PW and LVA-PW was able to offer a volunteer tutor who taught writing skills to four members of the deaf community who wanted to improve their employability skills – this was accomplished with the assistance of a sign language interpreter.
14. The Prince William County Public Schools ESOL office asked if an LVA-PW tutor could help with their evening high school program two nights a week to help adult high school learners improve English reading skills. An LVA-PW volunteer helped two nights a week.
15. Hogar Hispano asked for help with adults with extremely low reading/writing skills and therefore could not be incorporated into their classes. LVA-PW volunteer tutors are working with these adults to improve their reading and writing skills so that they can be incorporated into the Hogar Hispano program. LVA-PW has also provided free literacy services to clients from the VA Home Based Counseling, the Carrington House, SERVE, ACTS, and local churches.
16. LVA-PW offers small group math and writing improvement classes to help GED and pre-GED students who have asked for extra help to prepare for the math and language/essay sections of the GED exam as well as for other adults seeking to improve overall employability skills.
17. Computer literacy tutoring- small group classes are offered to adults who want to learn computer skills while at the same time improving reading and writing skills.
18. LVA-PW was a pilot program for the Virginia Literacy Foundation’s Quality Adult Literacy Data software program. The pilot program developed a data-base software program that is used state-wide in an effort to standardize collection and reporting of adult education data.
19. LVA-PW offers assistance to adults who have been referred to us through the Wal-Mart “Help America Read Better” and Dollar General Literacy referral programs.
20. In-house computers are utilized by learners working independently to increase literacy skills. Programs available include Rosetta Stone, GED prep software, and typing improvement software. Staff provides monitoring and assistance to independent study learners.