For more than 50 years, Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County has helped to build a more literate society by providing free, confidential tutoring to adults and out-of-school teens in reading, writing, and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
1962: Ruth Colvin founded the first Literacy Volunteers of America organization in Syracuse.
1968: Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA)-Troy area was founded under the sponsorship of Church Women United by four women, Leslie Dickin Burr, Marian Baker, Lona Moore and Bea Peterson. Leslie Dickin Burr, President of Church Women United was the Chairperson and a workshop leader of Literacy Volunteers for many years. At this time, the organization existed solely of volunteers.
1977: LVA-Troy was granted a Vista Volunteer through the Literacy Volunteers State Office to administer the program. Joan Rumball Winhold took on the position and grew the program to 46 tutors and 68 students, working from the office at the First United Presbyterian Church in Troy. When the grant ran out in 1980, LVA-Troy took on the responsibility for Joan’s salary.
Early 1980’s: LVA-Troy set up a satellite in Berlin, N.Y. and received the first New York State Annual Founders award in 1983. Barbara Bush was the speaker at the conference and several of our members had the honor of being photographed with her.
1986: In June of 1986, LVORC hosted the first NYS conference of Literacy Volunteers at Russell Sage College. LVA-Troy had grown to 109 tutors and 160 students; 2 paid employees, a full-time coordinator/director and a part-time office manager/assistant director. That year, Executive Director Joan Winhold was awarded the “Unsung Hero” award by the Troy Rotary Club and LVA-Troy was nominated for the NYS Eleanor Roosevelt Community Service award.
1990: The first Family Reading Circle program was conducted in conjunction with Head Start. Elsie Clickner, an LVA tutor, was recognized as educational volunteer by the Rensselaer Volunteer Center.