Tag Archives: Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County

Literacy Volunteers hold annual picnic to recognize students and tutors

More than 80 people gathered at Breitbeck Park in Oswego Thursday, July 11 for Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County’s annual picnic and awards ceremony.

The evening began with Sarah Irland, deputy executive director of Oswego County Opportunities, welcoming all attendees. The picnic was an occasion for everyone to share their stories and have a good time.

“This event gives the organization an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of its outstanding students and tutors and to express appreciation to all of our supporters,” said Beth Kazel, education director of OCO. “The highlight of the evening was the enthusiasm of student Andrei Gunin and tutor Nancy DeGilormo whose speeches reminded us of what LVOC is all about.

“In the United States, the ability to read, write and speak in English are the most important skills needed in daily life, something many of us take for granted,” Kazel added. “Our students recognize the significance of these skills.”

This affair acknowledges the courage and determination of all of the students in pursuing the ability to read and the generosity of the volunteers for their time and dedication.

Over the past year, the program has grown serving almost triple the number of people compared to last year at this time.

From July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 volunteers tutored over 2,600 hours.

“It was extremely difficult selecting our award recipients this year,” said Meg Henderson, LVOC Program coordinator. “The program has expanded. We serve both Basic Literacy Learners and English Language Learners. We have greatly increased the number of students we provide literacy services to including people residing in rural areas of Oswego County.

“Many students made progress and educational gains,” Henderson added. “All of our tutors and students worked very hard and accomplished numerous goals.  Besides improving their reading, math, computer or communication skills; many gained or retained employment, were promoted, became actively involved in their child’s literacy activities and education, entered a secondary education program, obtained a driver’s license, and much more.” Henderson noted, “All of our tutors are devoted to their students and rejoice in their progress. We have recruited many new tutors this year to meet our growing demand. It is through everyone’s hard work and dedication that we have accomplished so much this past year.

“Everyone here is driven by their love of literacy, need to help, and desire to learn,” she continued. “We continue to learn and aspire to improve throughout our lifetimes. I am proud of every one of our students and I am very grateful to all of our tutors. Our annual picnic is a good time to honor all of them (students and tutors).”

Awards were presented by Henderson and Kazel. Award winners were presented with a commendation from Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay.

The Citizenship Award was given to student Cindy Jiang. Students recognized for completing the program were Mike Kemp and Yin Yin Sim-Fellows.

The top three BLL Students of the Year were Eric Lance, David Loftus, and Jennifer Pickard.  The top three ELL Students of the Year were Andrei Gunin, Jung Ha Lee, and Carlos Rodriguez.

The Spirit of Literacy recipients were students Steve Kirby, Patricia Mazzoli and Ndomba Tshiwabwa.

Tutors Vivian Anderson, Laurie Wood and Dianne Woods were given the Outstanding Dedication Award.

Tutors of the Year were awarded to Laura Bishop, Kathy Boutelle, and Bridgette Sequin.

Volunteers of the Year were tutors Nancy DeGilormo and Mary Stancampiano.

Scrabble Fest to benefit Literacy Volunteers

In the game Scrabble, the word literacy is worth 13 points. In real life, it’s priceless.

Friday, Sept. 21, Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County will hold its sixth annual Diane Falise Memorial Scrabble Fest.

“Scrabble Fest is much more than just another fund-raiser,” said Meg Henderson, LVOC coordinator.

“Scrabble Fest is also a way to raise awareness of LVOC and our efforts to combat the issue of illiteracy in Oswego County,” she added. “Currently approximately 20 percent of the adult population of Oswego County cannot read above the 5th grade level. The majority of LVOC clients are between the ages of 19 and 59, with the fastest growing age group entering the program being between 18 and 29.

“It is an issue that needs to be addressed, as these individuals are unable to do what many take for granted such as reading newspapers and magazines, medication labels, recipes and most books,” added Henderson. “LVOC offers the opportunity for them to gain the literary skills and computer skills necessary for daily activities and more.”

Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities, LVOC provides free, confidential services such as: basic literacy that includes writing and simple math skills; English literacy to improve English speaking, reading and writing skills along with some simple math skills; and computer literacy that uses computer stations in the LVOC office to teach basic computer skills.

The sixth annual LVOC Scrabble Fest will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Oswego Elks Lodge #271.

Teams of four will compete against each other in four 20-minute rounds. Team scores will be tallied and the top three teams will be awarded prizes.

Additionally, to add to the fun of the event, there will be prizes for best team uniforms, as well as the team and individual who brings in the most pledges.   “Whether you’re playing, or just rooting on your favorite team, Scrabble Fest is the great opportunity to get your friends, family or co-workers together for an evening of fun for a very worthwhile cause that can have a tremendously positive impact on a person’s life,” added Henderson.

In addition to the Scrabble competition, Henderson said that there will be a silent auction featuring some great items donated by local merchants who support LVOC and a 50/50 drawing.

The entry fee for a team of 4 includes light refreshments. There is also a separate cost for individuals wishing to attend but not compete in the event.

All proceeds from Scrabble Fest will benefit LVOC.

Those seeking more information or to register a team may call Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County at 342-8839.