On Tuesday, October 15th, Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County brought together many of our learners, tutors, staff, friends and family at Pat’s Barn to celebrate our experiences with literacy. CAP COM Federal Credit Union employee and LVORC Board member Cassandra Gazeley served as M.C. In her introduction to the evening, she said “CAP COM has been a sponsor of Literacy Volunteers since 2001.  I have served on the Literacy Volunteers Board for two years and I am so pleased and excited to be part of this Authors’ Night event because of the participation by the students, tutors and other volunteers who tell their stories.  I admire the courage that it takes for the students to stand up in front of the room and read what they’ve written.  I admire the work and time that the students have put into learning to read or speak English or improving those skills.  I admire the volunteers who give of their time and expertise and who care so much about those they work with.”

Guest author Wayne Brott had encouraging words for all of our learners. Wayne is a retired elementary school teacher and former principal at School 16 in Troy. A graduate of SUNY Cortland, the Sage Colleges, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, he is married with four children and two grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way. He recently published a children’s book called Shoes! with Mascot Book Publishing.  He spoke about the process of learning to speak a second language (American Sign Language) as an adult, and how he respects the challenges that adult learners face. He spoke about the importance of setting expectations, embracing learning enthusiastically and not being hard on oneself about making mistakes. He stated that he found listening the most valuable way of learning. “I will learn from each one of you tonight. Tonight you will teach me.”

Authors’ Night 2013 gave thirteen students and tutors a chance to share their own true stories. The students included Zakia Aillam, Mayumi Amano, Karen Chandler, Mahgoub Idris, Manjural Islam, Clement Niangoran, Rosalie Nianoran, and Jessica Repka. The volunteers included Jane Ginsburgh, Judy Lynch, Diane Morgan, and Pat Ward. Project Coordinator Linda Feldmann represented the LVORC staff.

Thank you to all who made the evening possible, including CAP COM Federal Credit Union, Blasch Precision Ceramics, and IBT Hamilton. Refreshments were provided by Francesca’s Restaurant and Hannaford. Board member Shay Harrison served as event chairman.