The mission of Literacy Volunteers is to empower adults through literacy.
Literacy Volunteers was incorporated in 1976. It is an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy America, the national literacy organization, with 8 paid staff--4 full time and 4 part-time. The agency has four offices, 4 Science Park in New Haven, 20 Church St. in New Haven (ESL Center at Gateway Community College), 415 Howe Ave. in Shelton (Valley Adult Education) and 14 West Main St. in Meriden. In 2014-15, free classes for adults were provided at 36 different sites throughout the community.
Goals for 2015-2016:
Literacy Volunteers plays a critical role in this community, where structural issues like adult literacy consistently provide obstacles to personal and community growth. The numbers are staggering—30% of the adults in New Haven county, more than 200,000 people, struggle with literacy.
Funding is always at the center of Literacy Volunteers ability to help more adults. We are proud that our 241 volunteer tutors helped 1,396 adults in 2014-15 , 8% more than the prior fiscal year. We are encouraged that so many funders and donors recognize the positive impact that our services have in their communities. Grant dollars grew, in fact, by 10% last year. That support must continue to grow if we are to reach more of the adults who need to improve their reading, writing and speaking skills, with FREE classes taught 100% by trained volunteers.
Illiteracy is a costly problem. Adults with low literacy skills have difficulty finding jobs with adequate pay. They lose income as well as the opportunity for self improvement. They cannot help their children succeed in the school system because they are unable to read to them and help them with homework. When prescriptions cannot be read, illiteracy can cause costly medical problems. Businesses lose money through accidents and errors. But, illiteracy is a solvable problem. Every day we see the positive difference that tutoring makes with our adult students. The volunteer tutors are creative, energetic and supportive. Classes are small and confidence grows as new skills are learned. Learning is celebrated. Friendships are formed. Curiosity is rediscovered and ideas are discussed. Referrals are made for job training, US citizenship, and further study. The students are motivated to learn and testing confirms that they have made significant improvements.
As the students and their types of need have changed over the years, the tutor training and the resources we use have also evolved. The goal, however, of Literacy Volunteers remains the same: to improve people’s lives in every way by teaching them to read and speak English. We know that the efforts of this agency and the service delivery model we use are making a difference and that the students are achieving long term, positive changes. It is a privilege to be part such an organization and I am passionately committed to helping Literacy Volunteers continue to move forward in our communities and empower adults through literacy.
Donna Violante, Executive Director
Whether being a part of the board or staff, or a volunteer, all of us at Literacy Volunteers share a common mission - 100% literacy. We know that literacy empowers adults; adults in the United States who can read and speak English are more productive in their family and community; their children are safer and more successful as they develop. Our board is a diverse group of professionals and retirees who represent our community and our constituents. We are passionate about our mission and continue to take steps to improve our programs.
We continue to operate Literacy Volunteers in lean economic times, but insure that we provide an infrastructure that is aligned with our student and tutor needs. We manage an operations budget that is advised by the Finance Committee and reviewed at each Board of Directors meeting.
We continually review our community needs and look for ways to maintain a growing base without significantly increasing funding. Students have grown 59% (575 to 1396) in the last five years, but tutors have only increased by 25% (181 to 241). That means we have maintained our programs and our success rates without significantly increasing operational expenses through tutor retention, best in class training/development programs and tutoring methodologies. And we continually evaluate ways to reach potential new donors, sponsors and tutors. All these efforts assure us that our spending is aligned with our commitment to improving literacy in the greater New Haven area and operating the most efficient and effective programs that we can.
Janet Ryan, Board President
The following are samples of essays that Literacy Volunteer students wrote for the 2015 edition of "Hear Our Voices."
How My Life Has Changed Since Coming to Literacy Volunteers
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
A strong economy begins with a community that supports its people. When you support workforce training, financial literacy and public transportation, you enable individuals and families to work where they live, increasing their chances of economic success.
Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06150
(203) 777-2386 giveGreater@cfgnh.org
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