Literacy Volunteers

Grant Name:  Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties

Project Size: $25,000 annually

Grant Amount: $5,000 (2016), $3,000 annually

Strategic Value:  Building literate communities

Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties (LVEF) is a charitable organization that helps adults achieve their personal goals through literacy.  Literacy Volunteers recruits and trains volunteers, and they attend an accredited training program which gives them the skills to effectively tutor students. They provide one-on-one or small group tutoring in four program areas: Basic Reading Instruction, English as a Second Language, Numerical Literacy, and High School Equivalency Instruction. LVEF primarily serves learners who function at or below a 6th grade reading level. These adults struggle to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve their goals, and to develop their knowledge and potential; they are functionally illiterate. In Essex and Franklin Counties, there are more than 9,000 adults who lack basic literacy skills. While most may be able to read a little, they do not read well enough to fill out an application for employment, understand a recipe for cooking, read a medical prescription, or help their children with homework. 43% of adults with the lowest literacy levels live in poverty.

In addition to serving the residents of Essex and Franklin Counties, Literacy Volunteers also work with offenders in local correctional facilities. 70% of those incarcerated can’t read above a fourth grade level.  This is a supervised peer-tutoring program that provides both needed educational support and a valuable opportunity for volunteering.

Grant Analysis:

 In 2016 LVEF supported 82 Basic Literacy Students, 28 English-as-a-Second-Language Students, and 35 pre-GED/GED students: a total of 145 adult learners.   Of the 110 students that were both pre and post-tested, 83 adults improved his/her literacy skills.  These learners achieved his/her personal goals that range from improving literacy skills, retaining employment, entering post-secondary courses or training, entering the workforce, being more involved in community activities, or becoming a US citizen.  Volunteers collectively put in more than 3,200 volunteer hours.