Camden County Library gets grant from TD Bank Charitable Foundation for ESL Conversation Class

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The Camden County Library System’s Literacy Volunteer program has received a grant from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation for the English as a Second Language Conversation Class. The Literacy Volunteers of Camden County and its fundraising wing, Literacy Now, provide free one-on-one tutoring in reading, math and English as a Second Language to Camden County adults.

“The Literacy Volunteers of Camden County offer an extraordinary service to our residents of who are eager to learn,” said Freeholder Ian Leonard, liaison to the Camden County Library System. “The volunteers provide access to numerous opportunities for their students and expand their world.”

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Illiteracy is not a problem that only poor countries face. Reasons why illiteracy exists are often not limited to a lack of educational resources, but include social and cultural triggers that prevent vulnerable people from acquiring indispensable life skills. According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the United States cannot read.

“It is imperative that anyone who wants to learn how to read be given the opportunity and help to do so,” Leonard said. “This service is invaluable and can be a matter of raising the standard of living for residents providing them a lighthouse into new opportunities.”

Residents lacking functional English literacy skills are often impeded in their ability to get jobs, assist their children in school and become more active members of their community.

“This grant will enable us to offer services to the local immigrant community beyond our free one-on-one tutoring instruction. People studying English need opportunities to practice their language skills in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Denise Weinberg, director of LVCC. “We have wanted to offer a Conversation Class for years, but could not obtain funding for the staffing and materials. We feel very fortunate to be building a partnership with TD Bank. It is gratifying that its Charitable Foundation recognizes the issue of illiteracy in our community and has chosen to support this project.”

LVCC, accredited by Proliteracy and Literacy New Jersey, trains local volunteers to instruct these adults in ESL using a flexible, learner-centered approach. Based in the Camden County Library System, LVCC currently has over 150 volunteer tutors working with 235 learners. For more information, visit www.lva.camdencountylibrary.org or call 856–772–1636 ext. 7331.

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