By Samantha Tirrell

 Each year, the Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC) hosts a fundraiser called the Famous Ladies Tea, a luncheon designed to celebrate the successes of historic women and share the details and impact of their successes with a captive audience, all while raising money for their non-profit organization. As a volunteer with LVORC, I had the pleasure of attending the Famous Ladies Tea and observing the methods by which the organization seeks to continue providing critical service while adhering to the core sentiment of its mission statement.

 The mission of the LVORC is broken into three parts — to teach, to empower, and to educate. While the proceeds of this fundraiser are used to provide free literacy programs to children and adults, the fundraiser itself was a display of what the LVORC believes in and seeks to accomplish as an organization. The event is designed as entertainment, but the premise of the tea is to teach the actress about an important woman in history, to empower and embolden each actress by allowing them to embody these women and to share their stories, and to educate the audience by sharing the influence that each woman has had on history and what we can garner from these experiences.

 The mission statement of Russell Sage College, an institution for women, is also in three parts — to be, to know, to do. The opportunity to volunteer with an organization whose mission aligns so closely with that of my institution and to help with projects that seek to foster what I believe are important moments of connection and encouragement between women of influence is an experience that I will carry with me as I seek to apply these critical foundational actions–to be, to teach, to know, to empower, to do, to educate–to life after graduation.

 The LVORC provides a critical service to a population of learners who will value the knowledge that they acquire in these classes and conversations as they gain literacy and use it as a tool for life. But the leaders and volunteers at LVORC are learning just as much, with their work allowing for an exploration of the far-reaching impact of education and how individuals can play a role not only in their greater community, but also within the lives of one another.



With a $2,350 grant from CEO’s Seeds for Success, Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County is serving adult basic literacy learners in a new weekly tutoring program, the Literacy Study Circle. While LVORC aims to pair adult learners with individual volunteer tutors for help in reading, writing, math and computer literacy, the number of learners consistently surpasses the number of available volunteers. Currently there are 25 adults waiting to be matched with a tutor for reading and writing and another 27 waiting for a math tutor. The waiting list grows by the day. Many times we find that students get discouraged while waiting and lose the motivation that brought them to LVORC in the first place. We want to be able to capture this interest and provide support much sooner, and the Literacy Study Circle fills this need.

The Literacy Study Circle allows learners to start working on reading, writing and/or math skills in a safe and confidential learning environment while they wait for their own one-on-one tutor. With funding from CEO’s Seeds for Success, LVORC provides trained tutors who work on literacy skill development once a week in a group that can accommodate up to 20 adults. The funding also provides materials for students and tutors, as well as learning resources and support from LVORC staff.



Annual Appeal Letter

January 26, 2017

September 2016 Dear Friend of Literacy Volunteers, September for many of us is typically a time of renewed energy, anticipation and new beginnings as children and others return to school, new friends are made, new classes are taken and new goals are set. The adult learners and children who Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC) […]

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There’s Still Time to Share Good Karma With LVORC

March 2, 2016

“Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag Program to Benefit Literacy Volunteers through March 31st LVORC has been selected again to be a beneficiary of the “Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag Program featuring the bright blue Good Karma bag.  The program which began on October 15th has been extended through March 31st, 2016. For every blue “Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag purchased at […]

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Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County Selected as “Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag Program Beneficiary

October 16, 2015

 Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County has been selected as a beneficiary of the “Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag Program featuring a bright blue bag.  This innovative program was designed to create revenue streams for deserving local nonprofits such as Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County. For every blue “Hannaford Helps” Reusable Bag purchased at the Lansingburgh, N.Y. Hannaford […]

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Working to Address the Adult Literacy Crisis

September 3, 2015

On September 8, the world will mark the 48th annual International Literacy Day to remind us all that reading, writing, and basic math remain an elusive target for nearly 800 million adults around the globe, including one in six adults in the United States. In Rensselaer County, thousands of adults struggle with low literacy, leading […]

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Please Welcome Our New President

August 31, 2015

Caitlin Stein-Miner has been elected to serve as President of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC). She has served on the Board since 2011, attaining the position of Vice President in 2013. She has been active in the many events that financially support LVORC including chairing the Literacy 5K in […]

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Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County’s Everybody WINS! Power Lunch Program Receives Funding from First Niagara

August 31, 2015

Troy, N.Y.: Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County’s innovative literacy and mentoring program for children, Everybody WINS! Power Lunch, has received a $900 grant from First Niagara. This funding will allow children in area schools to be paired with volunteer reading mentors during the 2015-2016 school year.  Everybody WINS! Power Lunch increases children’s chances for success […]

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Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County Awarded a ProLiteracy National Book Fund Grant

June 23, 2015

  Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County is pleased to announce it has received a $910 award from ProLiteracy’s National Book Fund. The National Book Fund provides adult education and literacy programs throughout the United States with grant awards to help purchase high-quality educational materials and resources needed to support their literacy initiatives. Kevin Morgan, president […]

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Famous Ladies’ Tea Promotes Women, History and Literacy

March 11, 2015

If you love to learn about women’s history and want to support literacy in Rensselaer County, this is the event for you. The third annual Famous Ladies’ Tea will be held on Sunday, March 22nd from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 235 Hoosick Street, Troy. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased in […]

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