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) serves are able to experience this excitement of September any and every month of the year thanks to your friendship and support.

Your most generous support makes it possible for Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County to continue its mission of teaching adults to read, write and speak English and as importantly to provide new beginnings and more productive lives for those we serve. This past year, Literacy Volunteers with the help of 245 volunteers provided literacy services to 255 adults and 116 children. The help given has been invaluable to our learners, improving their literacy skills, making them better prepared for entering or retaining employment and making life better for them overall. We are proud also to share with you that seven of our students became U.S. citizens in 2015.

“W.M.” is one person whose life has been dramatically improved thanks to your support. “W.M.” is a young woman who left her native Burma under duress, endured the challenges of living in a refugee camp, and came to the United States with only her determination to make a better life. She found work with an area employer who hosted one of LVORC’s workplace literacy programs. She went on to enroll in additional English classes with Literacy Volunteers that assisted her in learning her new language and gave her the means to navigate the many complicated systems of life in America. LVORC’s citizenship preparation class gave her the skills she needed to pass the U.S. Naturalization test and interview. She is now happily studying to become a cosmetologist. She continues to be most grateful for the support and help she has received from Literacy Volunteers and for the tutors who have enabled her to reach her goals thus far.

There are many others just like “W.M.” who will come to Literacy Volunteers this year seeking a chance to make their life better by improving their ability to communicate with others. LVORC’s volunteer tutors work with adults who are learning to speak English as well as those who want to be better able to read and write. The need for improved literacy skills continues to be great. You may be surprised to know that in the U.S. more than 36 million adults cannot read, write or do basic math above a third grade level; that in New York State 2.7 million adults need basic literacy, math and employment skills; and that in Rensselaer County tens of thousands of adults and out of school teens struggle with low reading and math skills, which leads to limited access to employment and other opportunities. Another fact is that only 3 million of the 36 million who need literacy help will be lucky enough to get it. (

You can help more people like “W.M.” by making a donation to Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County’s 2016 Annual Appeal. Your donation will help provide tutor training, support a tutor/learner match, and fund other programs offered that include workplace literacy, conversation class, Everybody WINS! Power Lunch, citizenship preparation, and financial literacy/math tutoring.

Your donation will make a difference for a student who comes seeking to improve their ability to read, write and/or speak English. If you are willing to help, please complete the form enclosed and return it in the envelope provided.

We presently have nearly 55 adults waiting for a tutor. If you would like to learn more about how you can also invest your time and talent as a tutor or volunteer, please contact the literacy office at 518-274-8526 or use the contact link on this website.

Literacy Volunteers’ volunteers and staff work diligently every day to lessen the literacy crisis. Will you help Literacy Volunteers to raise adult literacy rates in Rensselaer County? Your financial support no matter the amount is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for making it possible for others like “W.M.” to have a happier and more productive life because of improved literacy skills.


Judith A. Smith, Executive Director

Caitlin Stein-Miner,  President, Board of Directors