The Back-to-School season is always a busy time for the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, and this past quarter was no different. What has made these past few months more interesting is our outreach to new audiences through regional, statewide and national activities. Literacy is a national issue, with an impact on a broad number of issues including workforce training, economic development, social equity, immigration assimilation, U.S. citizenship, success in school, poverty, and on and on. It would come as little surprise that members of the LCNV Board and Staff would be asked to participate in many events and discussions, and the connections continue to grow.
The SkillSource Group and Northern Virginia Workforce Development Board hosted a discussion on Immigration and Jobs: The Attraction of Northern Virginia to Skilled Immigrants. LCNV was proud to moderate that discussion with professionals from Accenture, the National Immigration Forum, Upwardly Global and Prince William Office of Adult Education. Workforce Development is the new direction for adult education, so LCNV’s continued engagement on this issue is important.
The U.S. Department of Education hosted a National Symposium on Advancing Equity in Adult, Community College and Career and Technical Education. LCNV was asked to include a panelist for the Student’s Perspective presentation who represented the beginning-level English language learner in adult education. It was our great pleasure to showcase Nolberto Ballestero, a dedicated adult learner from Venezuela who has been studying English with LCNV for two years and has made remarkable progress. Mr. Ballestero represented our learners well and received accolades from the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, Johan E. Uvin.
Again, at the National level, LCNV is always honored to host a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony in partnership with the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This November ceremony welcomed 53 new U.S. Citizens and was graciously introduced by LCNV Board President, Anne Spear, who personally greeted each new citizen.
Two LCNV staff members presented at the Statewide Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference in Richmond, one presentation addressed the importance of Advocating for Adult Learners, and the other on creating a strong Family Literacy Program. As one of the leaders among community-based literacy organizations, the LCNV staff is often called upon to present at State and National Conferences. And, locally, LCNV testified at the Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Advisory Committee (CCFAC) public hearing to advocate for the needs of adult neighbors who understand little to no English in our community. The work LCNV is doing externally on behalf of our clients is as important as the work we are doing in the classroom. Please continue to support LCNV with your advocacy efforts.
Patricia M. Donnelly, Executive Director