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Literacy Center opens in Pulaski

PULASKI — The Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley are working towards making a stronger impact on Pulaski County.
While LVNRV has previously offered tutoring at locations such as the Pulaski Public Library, Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church and First United Methodist Church in Pulaski, the organization took a major step in becoming more visible to local citizens by opening a new Literacy Center at 246 N. Washington Avenue in downtown Pulaski.
All of the instruction offered through LVNRV and the Literacy Center in Pulaski is learner-centered and learner-led, and is based on the specific goals of each individual, whether they simply want to be able to read to their children and grandchildren, read a newspaper, or successfully complete a job application, explained Donna Webster, executive director of LVNRV, who noted that 21 percent of the adult population in Pulaski County is functionally illiterate.
At this new center, free and confidential tutoring will be offered to help adults who read below a fifth grade reading level learn to read better. In addition, for those who read above that level, tutoring will be offered for other short-term literacy goals, such as test taking, resume writing and job interviews in relation to literacy.
For families, LVNRV center in Pulaski can help parents become partners in their child’s education. In addition, the center will offer free computer classes and an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program to help foreign-born adults speak and converse in English in order to navigate their local community.
As 25.8 percent of the adult population in Pulaski County lacks a high school diploma or GED, Webster said the LVNRV hopes to play a key role in helping these adults reach their potential through beginning literacy instruction. She said LVNRV has a close working relationship with the GED program and plans to continue to strengthen that relationship through referrals.
There are more than 100 trained literacy volunteers, but about 45 trained volunteers actively tutor each year, Webster said. Fifteen-hour training sessions for tutors are held four times per year: two sessions for basic tutoring and two for ESOL.
As for the students, Webster said they currently range in age from 23 to 68, and generally, they meet with their tutors for two hours each week at a convenient time and location.
Along with Pulaski County, the LVNRV’s main office is located in Christiansburg, with other tutoring locations in Blacksburg, Floyd, Pearisburg and Radford.
“A struggle for us has been to not simply focus on Christiansburg, so this is a great way for us to reach out to the Pulaski community,” said Mark Williams, president of the LVNRV Board of Directors and vice president of commercial lending for FNB. “We’re really excited to be here, and we recognize the challenge ahead of us. We’re hoping to fill a niche and to reach out to those people in the community who are in the shadows.”
Ben Dixon, vice president of the LVNRV Board and retired vice president of multicultural affairs at Virginia Tech, said, “I’ve been amazed by the numbers who need this service.” He said he believes there are a lot of people in the community who could provide this service as well.
“So many tutors say they get more out if it, seeing those they are helping move from level to level.” He added, “if nothing else, the success stories are why we ought to be doing this.”
Dixon also mentioned that during the three and a half years he has been involved with this organization, he has learned quite a bit about illiteracy and its connection to issues with economic development and access to employment opportunities.
Dixon also said he believes that literacy can play a large role in helping citizens to become equipped with the tools to participate in the democratic process and making those decisions for themselves without relying on what they see on television.
Webster said with the opening of this new Literacy Center, “the timing is just so right for Pulaski County,” particularly with the current unemployment rate and state of the economy, and the general perception that because of those issues, many people are getting involved in helping the county move in a positive direction.
She said it was thanks to funding from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that LVNRV was able to open this new Literacy Center in Pulaski.
For information about volunteering, to find a tutor or to make a donation, contact (540) 980-1388.

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Literacy Center opens in Pulaski

PULASKI — The Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley are working towards making a stronger impact on Pulaski County.
While LVNRV has previously offered tutoring at locations such as the Pulaski Public Library, Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church and First United Methodist Church in Pulaski, the organization took a major step in becoming more visible to local citizens by opening a new Literacy Center at 246 N. Washington Avenue in downtown Pulaski.
All of the instruction offered through LVNRV and the Literacy Center in Pulaski is learner-centered and learner-led, and is based on the specific goals of each individual, whether they simply want to be able to read to their children and grandchildren, read a newspaper, or successfully complete a job application, explained Donna Webster, executive director of LVNRV, who noted that 21 percent of the adult population in Pulaski County is functionally illiterate.
At this new center, free and confidential tutoring will be offered to help adults who read below a fifth grade reading level learn to read better. In addition, for those who read above that level, tutoring will be offered for other short-term literacy goals, such as test taking, resume writing and job interviews in relation to literacy.
For families, LVNRV center in Pulaski can help parents become partners in their child’s education. In addition, the center will offer free computer classes and an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program to help foreign-born adults speak and converse in English in order to navigate their local community.
As 25.8 percent of the adult population in Pulaski County lacks a high school diploma or GED, Webster said the LVNRV hopes to play a key role in helping these adults reach their potential through beginning literacy instruction. She said LVNRV has a close working relationship with the GED program and plans to continue to strengthen that relationship through referrals.
There are more than 100 trained literacy volunteers, but about 45 trained volunteers actively tutor each year, Webster said. Fifteen-hour training sessions for tutors are held four times per year: two sessions for basic tutoring and two for ESOL.
As for the students, Webster said they currently range in age from 23 to 68, and generally, they meet with their tutors for two hours each week at a convenient time and location.
Along with Pulaski County, the LVNRV’s main office is located in Christiansburg, with other tutoring locations in Blacksburg, Floyd, Pearisburg and Radford.
“A struggle for us has been to not simply focus on Christiansburg, so this is a great way for us to reach out to the Pulaski community,” said Mark Williams, president of the LVNRV Board of Directors and vice president of commercial lending for FNB. “We’re really excited to be here, and we recognize the challenge ahead of us. We’re hoping to fill a niche and to reach out to those people in the community who are in the shadows.”
Ben Dixon, vice president of the LVNRV Board and retired vice president of multicultural affairs at Virginia Tech, said, “I’ve been amazed by the numbers who need this service.” He said he believes there are a lot of people in the community who could provide this service as well.
“So many tutors say they get more out if it, seeing those they are helping move from level to level.” He added, “if nothing else, the success stories are why we ought to be doing this.”
Dixon also mentioned that during the three and a half years he has been involved with this organization, he has learned quite a bit about illiteracy and its connection to issues with economic development and access to employment opportunities.
Dixon also said he believes that literacy can play a large role in helping citizens to become equipped with the tools to participate in the democratic process and making those decisions for themselves without relying on what they see on television.
Webster said with the opening of this new Literacy Center, “the timing is just so right for Pulaski County,” particularly with the current unemployment rate and state of the economy, and the general perception that because of those issues, many people are getting involved in helping the county move in a positive direction.
She said it was thanks to funding from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that LVNRV was able to open this new Literacy Center in Pulaski.
For information about volunteering, to find a tutor or to make a donation, contact (540) 980-1388.

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