As a Member of Project Literacy’s Board of Trustees, I see firsthand the incredible value this organization brings to our local communities. Living in diverse northern New Jersey, many people need our help in learning English and Adult Literacy and Project Literacy is there for them. Committed tutors and a committed board combine to make this organization a vital part of our local diverse world. We change one life at a time empowering our students with the speaking, reading, and high school equivalency skills they need to be informed and active members of their communities.
As a board member, I posted a review for Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County two years ago and continue to be consistently impressed by the training, volunteers' enthusiasm, and dedication of staff. Everyone connected to this organization is deeply committed to the goal of empowering people with the gifts of literacy and language. Here are just a few of the things people can achieve through Project Literacy - receiving a high school equivalency diploma, reading a menu, talking to a physician, passing a driving test, getting a better job, receiving a promotion, talking to teachers on Parents' Night, reading to children at bedtime and helping them with their homework, and becoming a citizen. These are just a few of the myriad of ways thousands of lives have been empowered by Project Literacy. Project Literacy doesn't have a big bankroll but it has a big heart.
I have been a part of this organization for two decades and have watched others come and go I think they have continued to operate since they have kept their focus on the adult literacy needs in the area. When I first joined there were many US born adults who needed help and Project Literacy focused its efforts on finding them, reducing the stigma for help and making them literate. Recently the need has come from immigrants who have come to the country and recognize the need to be able to learn and use English once they get here. Project Literacy is now finding and helping them. It has been heart warming to watch the new lives created by the work they have done.
This wonderful organization helps adults from all walks of life in achieving independence through literacy. I am proud to have been a supporter of Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County for many years, through donations of time, talent and treasure. Hearing the stories of numerous individuals who have overcome illiteracy with the help of Project Literacy of Greater Bergen is truly awe inspiring and humbling. For an individual who is struggling with literacy, learning to read and write can be a key to positive impact and can change the course of their existence.
I started as a volunteer in this organization. They do fabulous work and are an asset to the community. They have a waiting list of folks who need their services. They have not only changed the lives of many immigrants but also the lives of residents of Bergen County who had limited skills. The improved skill sets, improves the chances for job advancements and economic independence.
What an incredibly dedicated group of people championing for people who need literacy skills to succeed in our world. I have witnessed first hand the success stories that these dedicated volunteers have helped achieve. Consider volunteering your time to this wonderful organization.
Simply put, being able to read gives you options. Without it, you are limited in what you can do and the dreams you can achieve. Project Literacy has helped thousands, one person at a time. It's never too late to start and Project Literacy has the people and the tools to help. They are worthy of your support.
The phrase "Reading is Fundamental" couldn't be more true . Not being able to read reduces a person's life options. We support Project Literacy because they help their students change their lives and achieve their dreams.
I am honored to be a new member of the Board of Trustees of Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County. The work, the commitment to helping others, and the dedication of the volunteers and board members to the community and students are inspiring.
Literacy is a vital part of life. Project Literacy doesn't simply help an individual. Through literacy programs, entire families benefit. Each family member is able to live a healthier and happier lifestyle due to better job opportunities and life enhancing skills made possible by the gift of literacy. Truly the volunteers and the board members are making the dream of a better life a reality by the work that is being done here.
Learning English or advancing one's knowledge of the language, acquiring the ability to read and write fluently, and obtaining an equivalent high school diploma, are all skills that are taught here at Project Literacy in the Ciarco Center in Hackensack.
This non-profit organization has helped so many to achieve literacy and reap its benefits. I know that Project Literacy is continuing to keep its noble promise to future students.
Project Literacy's programs are unique in the Bergen County area. Their one-on-one tutoring provides help to those who need to learn and improving their English, reading, writing and getting their HSE (GED). They are the only ones around to provide tutoring in math for the HSE. Project Literacy's volunteers are dedicated individuals who put in great effort to move their students passed their barriers. Great organization always in need of volunteers.
Being an ESL/Project Liteacy Tutor is close to my heart, as I did not speak a word of English when I came to the United States in 1956. It took a good year and a half for me to understand, read and speak English, by hearing it daily in elementary school. Each and every student I've mentored has their own obstacles to overcome, as they strive to learn in our sessions. Whether they have limited or no literacy skills, their efforts are commendable.
For the past four years I have had the priviledge to get the support of and be assigned adult students eager to learn, by this wonderful, dedicated group of leaders; Christopher Stout, Antonio Brugnoli, Larry Braverman, at Project Literacy, for which I am most grateful. Thank you for allowing me to pay forward what I have experienced on my journey.
I was given the chance to partake as a tutor in this wonderful organization two and a half years ago, and I'm grateful daily for the opportunity to meet and work with students who are committed to developing their reading, writing, and language skills.
Chris Stout, Antonio Brugnoli, and Larry Braverman are dedicated in their mission to support both the students, and tutors in providing this quality service to the community. It is my pleasure to be a team member and take part in this mission. Martha Scannell, Volunteer/Tutor
My name is Hakan Cicek. I am 39 years old from Bursa, Turkey.
I have been in the USA since March 14th 2017.
When I first came to New Jersey I was alone. My family was back in Turkey because the US embassy rejected their visa application. My plan was to apply for a visa in the USA to bring my family over.
I found Project Literacy through their website. I applied to get English tutoring. A few weeks later, Antonio Brugnoli called me and said he found a tutor for me.
I met my tutor Tony on a Wednesday night. At first I was a little shy. But I spoke with Tony about my family and playing soccer with my son Husseyin, and I began to open up.
My lessons with Tony were 2 hours every week. I am a kitchenware distributor in Turkey, so we practiced writing business emails and making business phone calls. We also used a picture dictionary to learn about sports, food, and other vocabulary.
Tony helped me sign up for volunteer projects. I helped disabled children and seniors in the hospital and different places with New York Cares. I was alone in the USA, but I felt much happier helping people less fortunate than myself.
It really helped to have someone who could listen to my thoughts and feelings. Tony and I talked about our lives and we became good friends.
Tony even invited me to his house for Thanksgiving to meet his family. I tried new foods from the Philippines, and Tony tried new foods from Turkey. I told Tony that my dream was for his family to meet my family for Thanksgiving the next year.
In February 2018 my family had a visa meeting with the US embassy in Istanbul. My wife called me and said that their visa was approved. It was the happiest I had felt in months. I bought plane tickets for my family and one week later they were in Istanbul.
At the airport I brought a soccer ball for my son and flowers for my wife and two daughters.
Two weeks later, my tutor Tony had a party to welcome my family to the USA. My family finally met his family. My dream came true. I was with my family and new friends in the USA.
Project Literacy made me feel less alone in the USA. It helped me adjust to life in America and to make more friends. It gave me a map to understand American culture and people. I highly recommend Project Literacy to anyone who wants to improve their English skills and to make new friends in America.
The recent death of former First Lady Barbara Bush brought back to the public eye her concern for adult literacy. During her time at the White House she spearheaded nationwide activities to encourage adults to increase their education levels and that of their children. 30 some years later, the literacy movement continues strong but without a figurehead. Individual organizations around the country have kept the momentum going – one of them being Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County. In the highly literate communities in which they work, Project Literacy is the only community-based agency offering free 1-on-1 adult basic literacy to the less-literate. Their students love them and some have been inspired to use their example to pay it forward. Their student Roseta said “Being a student of Project Literacy makes me try to be a better person. Watching all these people who dedicate their knowledge, their time, their money, makes me ask myself: what am I doing for helping others? I try to help others even on everyday simple things. In the future I look forward to volunteering and maybe I can make a difference in someone else’s life. Project Literacy is a wonderful program.”
Anastasio was handcuffed in the courthouse, because he walked through a door marked “Do Not Enter”. A new immigrant, he couldn’t speak or read English, but after only one year working with a Project Literacy tutor, Anastasio now holds down a job and is studying for the New Jersey driver’s license test, all in English. This is an example of the fine work this group does for individuals and the communities in which they live.
Rozeta Tosuni, student
''Please let us know how we can be helpful''.
That's what they said when I first got in contact with Project Literacy. I was a student of this program for three and an half years and I finished last December. Words are not enough to describe how much they have done for me. At a difficult time when so much was mew for me and I understood so little of the English Language they were the source of support I needed.
Project Literacy is a wonderful program. Working one on one and focusing on student's individual needs makes this program a success. The dedicated staff members and volunteers are doing a great job of helping others. I am especially thankful for my teacher Mr. Paul Talarico. He is very kind and knowledgeable person who always encouraged me to learn more and work hard. Beside helping me to improve my English, he taught me about American history, different cultures and customs, how to behave at work and much more.
I feel thankful to have been a student of Project Literacy. It has made a big difference in my life, and I really appreciate everyone's help.
A senior citizen, I had no experience in ESL, but I wanted to try. Have always enjoyed meeting people from other countries and getting to know them and their cultures. The Project Literacy has been a wonderful experience for me. I've been with it for a little over a year and only regret that I cannot put more time into it. My students have been eager and very open. All the people running the Project and the volunteers have been encouraging and generous in their attitude towards both the students, and volunteer tutors like myself. As the Chinese leader says, "it's win win," all around. I thank everyone involved in the project and you, dear reader, for any support you are able to give.
Long ago when I learned of American born adults in our area who couldn’t read or write, I was quite surprised, and disturbed. This was over thirty years ago. I decided that I would like to do something about that and was put in touch with Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA). When working with this organization throughout New Jersey as a volunteer, and then a paid staff person, I learned to train volunteer tutors to work 1 – 1 with adults in teaching basic reading. As the years went by, people from other countries came to live in our country and many settled in our community. Of course these people lacked English-speaking skills, so I learned how to train volunteers to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Inspired by the adult learners and the enthusiasm of the trained volunteers, I soon began to establish LVA- approved affiliates in counties throughout northern New Jersey. After a while I decided that I wanted to strengthen adult literacy services in my own community of Bergen County. So I met with the director of the Bergen Community College Adult Learning Center in Hackensack, and the idea of starting Project Literacy was born. A task force was established which soon evolved into a board of directors and Project Literacy gained non-profit status. Under our leadership, the group undertook raising awareness of adult literacy needs and services in the Bergen County area. With the growing need to provide 1 -1 tutoring to adults in basic literacy, Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County eventually developed their own tutoring program, which was designed after the LVA model of quality training and support of the volunteer tutors and students.
At present Project Literacy’s dedicated staff works tirelessly in working to increase awareness of literacy needs and for a more literate Bergen County.
Needless to say there are expenses in order for the organization to function. The need for Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County is here to stay. There is a lot of work to do because there are a lot of adults in need of 1 – 1 tutoring in basic reading, writing, math and spoken English by trained volunteers. The tutoring sessions are free to the adult learner.
Now, when I visit the Project Literacy area, it is heart warming for me to see pairs of individuals sitting at tables and bent over a book, studying a paper, speaking softly – I recognize them as a tutor-student pair. But most of the time I cannot tell which one is the tutor and which one is the student. It is truly a beautiful sight.
I have been volunteering with Project Literacy for a year and a half. I'm working with an American born young man who , due to personal problems, had to leave school early in his middle school years. Because of that, this bright young man , needed help to improve his reading and writing with a goal of obtaining his High School Equivalency diploma.
As I work with my student I realize the great job that our public schools do in teaching reading and writing and how fortunate I was to be able to attend such schools. I no longer take that education for granted.
I look forward to our weekly sessions and take pride in the improvement that my student has made. He has passed the reading portion of his High School Equivalency and will be taking the other sections very soon.
I am fortunate to have worked with Project Literacy at two periods of my life, once as a young mother and now as a retiree. My first experience was with a Vietnamese family and now a with a woman from Syria. The value for me and I think for them has been very signifant. I have seen great progress with my friend and student from Syria. Though I have to give much of the credit to Bergen County Community College for their ESL program, I also feel the one on one contact has helped my student feel more secure with the materials presented from the college and helped her navigate day to day life with more confidence. It has been an enriching experience for me as I have had a personal look at what it means to be an immigrant coming to the United States today and the hardships people face as they try to navigate this country and not leave their families behind who are living in foreign countries. The staff in Hackensack have been very helpful in setting me up with a student and providing me with materials and information to proceed.
I volunteered with Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County during my mid 20s when I was searching for an outlet to somehow give back to my community. I was a young professional with a great career and looking for ways I could impact someone's life, the same way others have down for me along the way. I found the group online and enjoyed the fact that it operated out of the safety and convenience of the Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County. The staff there sent me up with 2 students during my approx 6 to 9 month volunteering with the program, and I really enjoyed the enthusiasm that the students brought to every learning session. We would work on math problems from their GED prep books and I would often counsel them on on study habits and helpful test taking strategies. I very proud and also humbled to say that out of the 2 students that I worked with, successfully did go on to pass his GED.
I am married now and my years with organization have passed, but this story in retrospect continues to warm my heart and I hope this group continues to get the funding that they deserve to keep making a difference in Bergen County.
Project Literacy helps people who miss out on the opportunities available to them, the ones we take for granted, because they can't read, write or speak English well enough to get a job, read to their children or grandchildren, get their driver's license or pass their citizenship test. Project Literacy has provided free one-on-one tutoring by trained tutors to over 7000 students for the past thirty years. They exist solely on donations and grants and are always grateful for any donations that come in. They have a highly dedicated staff that matches volunteer tutors and students, provides coaching to the tutors and sometimes, when the need is there, in addition to their jobs, act as social workers, job placement counselors and therapists in order to help the students as much as they can.
I have seen various students meet their goals. Some of these goals you and I take for granted, these students do not. Sometimes a high school diploma, American citizenship or a license to drive, may have been dreams, now they become reality with Project Literacy. The tutors diligently work with the students to meet their individual needs and build upon their strengths.