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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Literacy Connections

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education

Mission: Helping people to read, write, and reach their potential.

Results: Every day we see people achieve their goals. Our students obtain driver's licenses, technical skills, higher education....and their children have a brighter future. We can stop the cycle of multi-generational poverty by ensuring that all people have the opportunity to learn.

Target demographics: We serve adults who are 16 and over and no longer in school. We also help children who are struggling with reading through Book Buddies, and we encourage younger children to learn to love books through Classroom Book Buddies.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 200 plus

Geographic areas served: Dutchess, Columbia and Greene Counties in New York.

Programs: One to one tutoring for adults, small group drop-in learning centers, Book Buddies and Classroom Book Buddies for children.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for 3 years with book buddies. It is a rewarding program to be able to help young readers enjoy reading. You get to know the children which helps you find books they will like and encourage them to read.
The coordinator is very helpful and positive in making suggesting and having books available. It is great to see the smiles on the students faces as they look forward to reading a favorite book.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Literacy Connections' Book Buddies program for two years in my local primary school. It is incredibly rewarding to connect with students and see the progress they make with their reading during the school year and see them enjoy reading more as their skills develop. I recall one student, in particular, who 'hated' reading at the beginning of the school year. At the end of the school year, she declared she loved reading and wanted to continue reading past our allotted time. As a parent and community member, I know the value of developing reading skills early. The requests for Book Buddies have grown as teachers and schools experience the success of the program.

1 Donna254

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The people at Book Buddies are great to work with. I am a volunteer and help young readers who are struggling in a public school through this program. My contact person is extremely helpful and supportive, answer emails quickly, and gathers whatever materials I have requested. She is also available to discuss the students progress and suggests activities to use with them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with the Literacy Connections "Book Buddies" program for two school years. Once or twice a week, I spend 45 minutes reading with a second grader before I go to work. The kids love it, I love spending time with them, and it's a great help to the teachers. The Coordinator from Literacy Connections is a terrific support, providing special reading materials, games, advice, and anything else I might need. The teacher I help is also wonderful - she made me feel so welcome in her classroom, and is very grateful for my help. Our teachers deserve all the support we can give them!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Literacy Connections at 325 Main Street in Poughkeepsie was gracious to take me on as a tutor. The experience has allowed me to give back to society and learn about education and people in general. Some of these lessons are priceless. Everyone at Literacy Connections is very professional top down and my supervisors roll has been stellar. Without literacy, whether first English, but also math and functional life-skill literacy a person cannot adequately obtain employment, drive a car, read a Bible, excel in bettering ones mental health or fully read substance abuse literature to help sobriety. Also, the special little valuable moments and lessons are lost for the functionally illiterate. Thank you Literacy Connections!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Book Buddies is a very effective, one on one reading support program for elementary school age children who need a little extra help.

1 Regina L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This a fantastic organization. They put books in the hands of kids who struggle with reading and offer them support. What's better than that? In addition, Judy C was positive, organized and helped make made my experience a memorable one.

1 Muriel H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a book buddy since the spring. As a former reading and literacy teacher, I feel very comfortable in this program. Judy gives all volunteers the help they need. The classroom teacher with whom I work at times feels overwhelmed by the needs of the first graders in this extremely needy school. She and I have developed a good collaboration which I hope will continue next year. I am loving working with students one on one, and I feel the students really enjoy the extra attention they so need. I recommend more people get involved in this wonderful program that makes a difference in kids' lives. Muriel

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had 3 Book Buddies this year - 2 girls and 1 boy. They were all in the 2nd grade. Two of the three are going into 3rd grade but one of the girls came into the school year without reading. By the end of this school year, she was reading very tentatively but at least reading simple words. I think it will click for her the next school year. We had a wonderful time and we always started our time together by reading. This also went for my first student - a young man who read quite well and always brought his classroom book with him. After reading, we then played a game and they roared with laughter when they won. It was a fantastic year!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about Literacy Connections from an article in a local newspaper here in the Hudson Valley. After contacting Judy Connolly I was assigned to an elementary school in Poughkeepsie. Judy was very thorough in briefing me on how to work with the two 4th grade boys assigned to me, and was always available via telephone and email for questions and advice. One child, J, was clearly very intelligent and was fun to work with. Sadly, he began to experience attendance and discipline issues, but in the time I worked with him he was attentive and cooperative. I believe he found our one-on-one sessions helpful reinforcement of his worth. The other child, G, after enjoying working with him for a year, asked, supported by his mother and his teacher, if he could work with me again in 5th grade even though normally Literacy Connections reaches only as far as 4th grade. His request was granted. I enjoyed him occasionally telling me of his grand ambitions in life. Again, as with J, I believe he felt valued. The other child, H, was an extremely hesitant reader and interestingly, often unable to read out loud short words, but regularly read longer words with confidence. His attention span was very limited, so I tossed the prescribed books and bought a project book of cardboard models to be propelled by a balloon, such as a rocket, a helicopter, and a race car. The rule was that he was rarely allowed to view the construction illustrations, but had to read the written instructions. He completed all 5 models and over time his reading became much more fluent. His teacher told me he was no longer hesitant to read out loud in class. Aside from helping improve a child's reading skills, I believe the program gives the student greater confidence in his own worth. That, in my opinion, is a very worthwhile outcome.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with the Book Buddies program, but actually serve as a math buddy. This is truly a worthwhile experience for me, helping city kids who are struggling with school work. The teacher and kids are very appreciative. I thoroughly enjoy doing this. A very well run program.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I currently sit on the board. I have been on several other boards and have to say what a wonderful group of people. We all work well together and are respectful of each other. I look foward to our monthly meetings. I also am a Book Buddy. Loved it! Hard to believe that 45 minutes a week can be so effective. If you are looking to volunteer a small amout of time every week please contact Literacy Connections. It is a well run organization with an amazing director and staff.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a Book Buddy volunteer for Dutchess County Literacy Connections is one of the best volunteer experiences I have had.

The Book Buddies program matches an adult volunteer with a struggling and/or reluctant reader on the early-elementary level. I worked individually with a first grade student and with a second grade student. Both students came from non-English speaking homes. In addition to witnessing their progress in reading, it was so rewarding to see how their confidence as readers increased as well.

The program is particularly well run due to the efforts of the Book Buddies Coordinator, Judy Connolly. Judy communicated frequently with the volunteers, students and their teachers. She kept us informed with weekly e-mails. She also made many visits to the school to check on how her volunteers were doing, to answer any questions or concerns, and to rotate teaching materials such as books and games which were provided by Literacy Connections.

Working as a Book Buddy has been a highly rewarding experience for me. I look forward to participating again in the Fall!

1 Jay_51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sharing the ability to read is a gift to all involved. The satisfaction that I have drawn from my experience with book buddies is almost immeasurable.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a recent member of the board, I am constantly amazed at the dedication of the staff and my fellow board members. Literacy Connections is providing an invaluable service to the members of our community - literacy education. Not only do they serve adults, but the Book Buddies classroom program pairs volunteers with school age children to help support these young readers. As a parent of a new reader I see how important early literacy skills are and how a child can be disadvantaged by not being able to read at grade level. Book Buddies is doing a wonderful job of providing these young readers with improved reading skills. I highly recommend this organization and its programs.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An outstanding organization doing tremendous work in the community and the school. It is tackling one of the most challenging and untold problem in our poorer areas.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am an immigrant from Jamaica who was fortunate enough to latch on to the American dream through the help of various organizations. Literacy Connections helps people up the ladder to achieve this dream, and I am fortunate enogh to meet some of these people and their stories are unbeleivable. No matter where we are or who we are, literacy is the foundation for attaining success throughout the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered as a member of the Board of Directors for Literacy Connections for the last two years. I am proud to be affiliated with this great organization and I'm amazed at the dedication level of the staff and volunteers. The countless hours that are put in to satisfy the need for those that require help with basic reading and writing skills and in enhancing the learning experience of children in our community is evident in the success of the program participants.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had just returned to the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1986 after 2 1/2 years in Arizona. It was time to get involved with an organization, not an easy choice when you write news and a column - anytime you write about "your" organization someone will criticize playing favorites. Literacy was a perfect match for a writer/reporter. It was determined the best way to serve would be on the board and in a few years I became board president. I would leave the organization after bringing in new blood. I remained involved as a Spelling Bee team sponsor. Then last year, I was asked about returning to the board. I jumped at the opportunity. Back in the beginning of my involvement, I wrote a newspaper story about a public works employee who was a Basic Reading student. He was proud of himself - almost as proud as his 16-year-old son. Tears came to my eyes when this kid told me he was proud of his father learning how to read. They stil do. Over the years the importance of English as a Second Language to the community has soared.

1 George15

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a lifetime educator, my affiliation with Literacy Connections is a natural extension of my formal education. Having served on our local Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools (serving on the Literacy Board) invited me to join him there. Having served on several Boards I knew community service is necessary for quality living. As the years have passed, my tenure on the Literacy Board continues to be a valuable learning experience. Although I have served more than a decade, whenever our Executive Director (Margaret Pfaff) gives an orientation, I learn something new about the functioning of the organization. Literacy and comprehension is essential to our everyday living, and what is accomplished at 325 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY is beyond the ordinary. For our fellow citizens to achieve and enjoy the fruits of our country, they must be able to decipher what is happening around them on a daily basis. For those of you fortunate enough to be able to read and comprehend this, too many of you take it for granted. Many just assume since you went through a fine public education everyone around you reads and comprehends as you do. Illiteracy is not an illness, there is no quick fix prescription to heal it, and there is no visible campaign to raise funds to cure it. But it is a disability which the volunteers at Literacy Connections work day in and day out to correct and give our citizens, and those hoping to achieve citizenship, the means to read, write and reach their potential.