Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley Joins NRCC’s Office of Transitional Programs
|At a recent meeting, the Board of Trustees for Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley (LVNRV) voted unanimously to merge with the Office of Transitional Programs at New River Community College. “This decision was based on the need to decrease the management cost of the program and to focus more heavily on programming and services for learners as opposed to fund-raising,” board chair Toni Cox stated. Cox, who is the director of the Radford Public Library, added, “Being positioned in Transitional Programs at NRCC gives the organization the opportunity to operate under the leadership of NRCC’s Transitional Program’s director, Jenny Bolte.”
“This decision will definitely strengthen the organization,” said board member Sally Warburton, director of the Pulaski County Library System. “The board will work with Jenny (Bolte) to secure grant funds to continue to have the downtown Christiansburg office and a program coordinator.”
Janet Kester of Pulaski County will serve as the organization’s coordinator and will have a presence in each of the jurisdictions in the New River Valley. “We want to make sure that each of the jurisdictions is positively affected by literacy services,” Bolte stated. “We know that there is definitely a literacy need in all five of our jurisdictions, so we want to make sure that each area is served adequately. In having the organization merge with Transitional Programs at New River, we can also make sure that Adult Education students with literacy needs greater than what we can accommodate in classes are supported with a literacy tutor so they can attain their educational goals. It is definitely a win-win for Adult Education, LVNRV and the region as a whole.”
Bolte noted that literacy skill development is critical to the economic welfare of the region. According to the American Community Survey Five-Year Estimate (2011), over 11,000 citizens ages 25 and over in the New River Valley have significant literacy needs. Kester plans to increase service in each of the localities to show a greater impact in each community. The two program areas, Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language, are the main focus of LVNRV. Both of these programs are important in helping citizens raise their skills to be able to attain employment with family sustaining wages. When asked about her next major task, Kester responded, “Right now we need to find additional tutors—particularly in Pulaski, Floyd and Giles—who are willing to volunteer at least two hours each week so the learners can advance their skills at a good pace. We are also continuing to seek out additional grant funding opportunities to sustain the program.”
The organization is submitting grant applications to the local United Way agencies, the Virginia Literacy Foundation, and several local jurisdictions. It plans to redesign the Main Street office in Christiansburg so that the organization will have a library, computer lab, classroom space and an area where tutors and their students can meet comfortably over coffee. When operating in each of the other jurisdictions, Kester will share the Adult Learning Centers with NRCC’s Adult Education staff.
“The changes are exciting and very much needed,” Paula Alston noted. Alston, director of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, has served on LVNRV’s Board of Directors as the organization’s secretary for many years. She, along with the other board members, is optimistic that LVNRV will be stronger and show a greater impact this coming year.
Those interested in making a financial contribution, volunteering with the organization, serving as a tutor, or otherwise volunteering with literacy services may contact LVNRV of New River Community College by calling (540) 392-7295 or by emailing LVNRV@nr.edu.