(March 5, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Roopal Mehta Saran, Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Northern Virgnia (LCVN), about the numerous programs and services being offered in the Northern Virginia area. They are joined by Amy Tristan, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, in the last segment where they discuss the numerous ways individuals, organizations and companies can engage with LCNV.
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is 55 years old, and Roopal Saran has been at the helm of the organization for the last six months. There are over 36 million American adults that don’t have literacy, writing or math skills above a 3rd grade level. Some those adult learners are native English speakers and some are native speakers of many other languages. The Northern Virginia area is multiculturally very rich with over 100 languages being spoken in classrooms and homes around our region. Adults learning English as a second language may or may not have literacy skills in their native language. LCNV’s Beginning-level English classes teach the foundational skills adult English Language Learners (ELLs) need to learn to speak, understand, read and write English.
Classes are taught in multiple locations – in places such as the James Lee Community Center where LCNV has offices, in schools such as Crestwood Elementary, and spaces provided by collaborating non-profits such as Connections for Hope in Herndon, VA. The idea is to take the classes to meet the people where they are and where it’s easy to get there using public transportation. There will be new classes starting out in the Centreville area in early 2018.
LCNV is also collaborating with local companies in workforce development training through increased literacy that is both industry and company specific. Destination Workforce® training for B.F. Saul Hospitality Group’s Doubletree by Hilton at Tyson’s Corner focused on their housekeeping and banquet employees. The program provided instruction on language and cultural tools to provide better staff interactions with customers through the B.F. Saul “Know Your Hotel” framework. LCNV has also partnered with Goodwin House in Bailey’s Crossroads and with other local business to craft specific literacy programs that are job specific. The Destination Workforce® program is also working with the City of Alexandria to help newly arrived refugees with basic English literacy in preparations to more quickly prepare for entry level job opportunities.
Amy Tristan spoke about the hundreds of literacy volunteers that make their programs possible. Many have been with LCNV for over a decade and they are always looking for new volunteers who are interested in taking the training to be classroom instructors, to offer small group tutoring and also conversation classes. There are programs to meet that time and location preferences of a variety of volunteers and they welcome companies who encourage their employees to engage in community volunteerism. LCNV also welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations and non-profits who serve clients with basic literacy needs.
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia was named Parade Magazine’s 2017 Outstanding Charity in Virginia: “Last year, 1,551 students from more than 90 countries (including the U.S.) participated in LCNV Programs.”
Like all non-profits, LCNV relies on individual donations and corporate partnerships. More information can be found at the LCNV website: www.lcnv.org or by calling them at 703-237-0866. They can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @LCNV