Literacy Volunteers was founded by Ruth Colvin in 1962 in Syracuse, N.Y., to combat illiteracy in her home community. Mrs. Colvin worked with professional reading consultants to develop a training workshop that would equip volunteers to tutor adults and teens in basic reading and writing. The movement soon spread to other New York State communities as the effectiveness of the program became widely recognized. In 1967, Literacy Volunteers was chartered in New York State as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation with a volunteer board of directors.
In 1972, with a total number of LVA affiliates reaching 40, Literacy Volunteers Inc. changed its name to Literacy Volunteers of America Inc. to emphasize its growing aspirations to focus increased literacy in the United States. In 1974, the English as a Second Language tutor-training program was developed to help immigrants in response to requests from affiliates.
Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County (LVMC) joined 125 affiliates of Literacy Volunteers of America in 1983 as Literacy Volunteers of America – Monmouth County. We have been serving adult learners who need English literacy skills since that time and we celebrated our 30th Anniversary in 2013.
In 1998, Literacy Volunteers of America and Laubach Literacy International, the two major volunteer literacy programs in the United States that addressed the literacy needs of adult learners, merged to become ProLiteracy. LVMC was asked to drop the name, “of America”, and we simply became Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County. Today, ProLiteracy is the largest volunteer-based adult literacy organization in the United States. It supports more than 1,200 local literacy programs throughout all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County is a nonprofit, 501c3 charitable organization registered with the State of New Jersey under Literacy Volunteers of America – Monmouth County. With the exception of 4 part-time professional staff members, LVMC is a volunteer-based organization. Our organization is funded by grants, donations and our annual fundraising dinner.
In the fall of 2003, Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County successfully applied for and was granted accredited status with ProLiteracy. In 2006 and 2010, we applied for re-accreditation and once again met all of the requirements of a quality, volunteer-based literacy program. We proudly list our organization as an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy. In addition, we are an affiliate-in-good-standing with our state literacy organization, Literacy New Jersey. It likewise has a list of organizational requirements needed to meet its standards and it provides the training manual and certification for our tutor-trainers. Literacy New Jersey serves as the coordinating agency for 22 affiliate organizations throughout New Jersey and it is responsible for the accredited training of our tutor-trainers. In addition, Literacy New Jersey provides all of our students, tutors and other volunteers with an annual conference where they can meet other tutors, students and volunteers who support our mission of a literate society.
Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County provides an 18- hour tutor-training for volunteers, aged 18 years and older, who have completed high school and who wish to address the low level literacy needs of adults in Monmouth County. We strive to meet the literacy needs of adults born in America and other English speaking countries (Basic Literacy) and the needs of adult immigrants for whom English is not their native language (ESL). Our volunteer tutors do not need to know another language in order to help our ESL adult students.
Once our volunteer tutors have completed their training and are approved by their tutor-trainer, they are assigned to an adult student. We have many venues for tutoring: one-to-one, small group and classroom participation. We ask our trained volunteers to commit to tutoring an adult for 2 hours per week, once or twice a week, for one year. Tutoring takes place in public areas such as libraries, churches, schools and coffee shops in locations convenient to the tutor and adult student.
Our tutors are offered on-going professional in-services/workshops aimed at supplementing their tutoring skills. In addition, our certified tutors are invited to attend the annual Literacy for Life conference offered by Literacy New Jersey as well as the annual ProLiteracy Conference.
There is no charge for adults needing literacy tutoring. Our tutors, as LVMC volunteers, may not solicit money, goods or services from our students, nor may they represent themselves as trained, for-hire tutors.
LVMC also offers opportunities to volunteer that are not connected with tutoring. Some of these include office work, library assistants, public relations and special events.
For additional information on Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County, please visit our website at www.lvmonmouthnj.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comcast interview with Executive Director Rebecca Lucas, February 1, 2012