In the midst the Coronavirus pandemic, when everything began to shut down around us, Project Literacy empowered me to make a difference in someone's life. They provided virtual training and tools for me to be an effective ESL tutor, and ensured that remote options were available to both my student and me to work safely. In spite of the fact that her studies were compounded by having to raise her young children during this global health crisis, my student achieved her major goal of beginning GED-equivalency classes. I believe that Project Literacy provided the impetus and platform to continue regular meetings, classes, and programs. They kept us motivated when external circumstances might have seemed bleak. It is with pride that I volunteer with this organization that makes a real difference in people's lives.
They do great work matching me with people who need literacy skills and help. I am currently teaching someone how to read more fluently. They really make the most with what they have and are always there for help and suggestions when needed. Great organization.
I was blessed in the first portion of my life as having a ‘Calling’ never a job, career or paycheck. I was a Radiology Professional and each day I feel however small or large made a difference in someone’s life. Path’s criss in life I believe precisely for that reason. Timing is everything in life.
For the second chapter of my life, Antonio Brugnoli came into my life and gave me a special gift just when I needed it the most in my life. He allowed me the opportunity to have a chance at a second ’Calling’ to become a Volunteer Tutor teaching ESL for Project Literacy.
I can not begin to tell you the joy and happiness it brings me with each student. It is such an honor to see the smiles I get from my students. I know I found a new home here.
If you know you are destined for greater things call Antonio.
This organization helps a diverse group of people needing to improve English and literacy skills. They support so many people who are striving to improve their job opportunities .
When a student begins to understand English and can speak in full sentences the experience is thrilling. Both the mentor and student jointly have a rush of emotion. The opportunity to provide a much better future to a person who previously could not read or write English is enormously satisfying.
I’m proud to be a board member of this great organization! Prior to becoming a board member, I was a volunteer. It is so rewarding to see how the world opens up to those who can suddenly read and understand. My mother spent her later years assisting children to read in the library. She always said reading to children was one the most important activities adults could volunteer to do.
I am very proud to be a member of the Board of Trustees for this non-profit which has helped so many people since being established in 1987. The one-on-one tutoring provided in the areas of ESL, basic reading and writing skills, and preparation for a High School Equivalency diploma is invaluable to the adult learners at PL. Adult literacy helps the individual learner, their families, and the community at large by by providing the necessity skills for better jobs and a better lifestyle for all.
Our board members, tutors, and staff are dedicated and committed to helping our students achieve their dreams for a more positive and productive life.
Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County has been raising awareness regarding adult literacy for well over thirty years. I have been with the organization since its inception when the group began as a simple task force to address adult literacy needs in the area, and how adults can get help to learn to read. Today Project Literacy not only strives in the community on the awareness issue, but also trains volunteer adults to tutor adults in basic reading, writing, math, ESL and high school equivalency needs. The trained volunteer tutors are very dedicated to their students which they serve 1-1, or sometimes in a small group of 2-3. The pandemic has not slowed them down - they have simply shifted gears and work through technical ways. The strong focus of the staff keeps the program humming, and the constant support of the Board of Trustees is vital . The student success stories are numerous and very touching. I am very pleased to remain a part of Project Literacy.
Nabiltoulah arrived from West Africa not being able to speak any English at all. She came to Project Literacy and was given a tutor. The tutor helped her conversational English and eventually Nabitoulah got a job in a nursing home kitchen. She continued on her journey studying for a driver's license, becoming a certified home health aid, and obtaining a Commercial Driver's License. She is excited to become a U.S. Citizen soon and have her children join her here. Spending 60-90 minutes a week with an immigrant learning English or an American who "slipped through the cracks" will make you feel so appreciated. They need VERY basic skills and you have little preparation. Project Literacy supports the tutors through every step, including learning on line. You will feel connected and appreciated!
Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County continues to make a difference in countless lives in the area. Teaching people to read, learn English, and obtain the skills they need to move forward with their lives is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. I urge you to call and get involved- you do not have to be a trained teacher- they provide training for you. Everyone has skills and strengths that are so desperately needed to help the new immigrants arriving and Americans who simply did not finish high school. The waiting list is long, the need is great, and for just one hour per week you can make a tremendous difference in someone's life.
I have been working with this agency, for roughly 4 years, as a volunteer tutor. I enjoy the opportunity very much and I have such admiration for the staff who run the agency. They are always available to offer guidance and encouragement and their enthusiasm is unbounded. Even in these challenging times when we cannot actually "meet" together, we are very connected to students and tutors, using technology. We are still able to teach and to converse with our peers, with very little inconvenience, thanks to the dedication of the staff. I look forward to learning from them for many years to come!
The opportunity to function as a volunteer tutor under the care and guidance of the Project Literacy staff, is truly a gratifying and worthwhile experience. There are many students requesting our services and the staff works hard to pair student with appropriate tutor. They are very available to help with any questions or situations we encounter and seem grateful that we are working with them. I enjoy the work very much and feel very supported as I try to improve my teaching skills. I have recruited 2 friends as well and they are enjoying this experience as well.
I have been an ESL tutor for this organization for 4.5 years now. In that time, I have worked with 2 gentlemen (on separate occasions) on reading and speaking English. It is so satisfying to see them not only improve in the language but watch their confidence grow as they get more comfortable with their abilities to communicate. I hope to continue to tutor for many more years.
I have been a tutor since December of 2015. In that time I've worked with two gentleman who have come to the United States to improve their lives. In both cases I have watched not only as their English improved but their confidence as well. This confidence impacts their work life, their family life, and their overall enjoyment. I hope to continue to do this for many, many years to come.
Project Literacy is a great organization that really cares about helping people get acclimated to a brand new environment. I've enjoyed working with them over the years and cannot recommend this important and critical organization enough.
I have been teaching English language and literacy at Project Literacy for eight years and have witnessed adults who were once cut off from their environment, isolated in the midst of this sea of humanity become independent, confident, and truly happy to become part of the American dream. PL gave me the training to know what to do and the support to do it even when things were difficult. The numerous thank you notes that I've received from my students almost always say "you have changed my life". This have I done because Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County has provided the structure and vision to share the dream and change lives.
Project Literacy has done the hard work month over month training tutors arranging for the students to meet compatible teachers, track the work and market the service and raise money to keep going. They are committed individuals who have made a measurable difference in the lives of many people.
Great nonprofit! There was always fun at the events that they hosted and there was never a moment where it wasn't interesting! Good cause as well.
My name is Eunjung Son, Sophia and I had learned English from my tutor ‘Thomas’ for a long time. How Literacy Project and Thomas are helped me. The precious memory with them would light my life forever in many ways. Now, I’d like to tell you about the story of how much I improved with English since I took ESL lesson with my tutor ‘Thomas’.
My story took place on a freezing and snowy morning last year. I was scheduled to appear in court to testify about an automobile accident. I felt very cold, tired and at the same time, I also had butterflies in my stomach. This was because I had trouble sleeping the night before. I had been worrying for months about this day.
When I arrived at court, I was shivering even more with fear, and I didn't have any confidence in testifying, because I was still learning English. I totally regretted my decision not to use an interpreter, and now it was too late to ask for one.
At last, after praying and crossing all my fingers, I began to testify. I could answer fairly well when my attorney asked me some questions, because he had given me some advice in advance. So I was slightly relieved that I started off well. However, I mumbled a lot when the defense attorney asked me unexpected questions. After many ups and downs, I finally finished everything without the help of an interpreter. And a few hours later, I luckily obtained a favorable decision in court. That was the proudest day of my life in the states, because I accomplished speaking in English in front of many people for a long time. I had never done that before.
On my way home from court, I looked back upon my early days in moving to the U.S.A. Then, I couldn't even order my favorite coffee at Starbucks, and couldn't call the doctor's office to make an appointment for my son when he had a fever. I had changed so much that I couldn't believe it. This was all thanks to my tutor, Mr. Thomas, who has taught me for a long time. He has helped me become very confident in my abilities, and to navigate my new path in this country. I am extremely lucky to have a chance to work with my tutor, Mr. Thomas!
How Project Literacy has helped me.
One of the times that I had an opportunity to use my spoken English was at the end of this past February. My husband and I went shopping at a Shop Rite in Wallington. We bought some goods, most of which were vegetables, because we want to be healthy and in good shape. When we were sure that we had all the purchases we needed, we went to check out. We put all the products on the counter.
While we were waiting in the line, a Polish man we didn’t know asked us if we could help him translate his words into English. He explained to us that he had a prescription and he did not speak English at all. I asked my husband to help this man, because I didn't feel comfortable when I had to speak English. Since I started learning English with my teacher, Thomas, I can more easily translate from English to Polish. But to me, speaking English still seemed too complicated because of grammar rules. My husband told me that I could do it without a problem. I wasn't happy about this. I was afraid that it would overwhelm me.
In the end, I went with the man to the pharmacist. The pharmacist asked about any allergies he may have. The pharmacist explained where the man would find the syrup that he was looking for. And he asked him to wait 20 minutes for his medicine because he was busy right then. The man didn't understand why he had to wait, because the pharmacies in Poland have medicines ready to use or to fill with water at home according to the instructions. I explained to the man that here in the U.S., pharmacists prepare the medicines when they get the prescription.
The man thanked me for the help. I went back to my husband with a new experience and a nice feeling in my soul. I had helped someone without feeling embarrassed, and I had built sentences in English without thinking about whether they were grammatically correct.
Even though my conversation with this stranger and the pharmacist wasn’t long, it helped me overcome my fear of speaking English.
My name is Muhammed Aydemir. I came to the United States from Turkey toward the end of last year. I was a math teacher in my country.
In ESL, I learn grammar and I am learning to write. But I have a hard time speaking English because our class is very large and we cannot do much individual talking.
I met my tutor, Chris, through Project Literacy, and he helps me with my English conversation. We practice talking about some of the history and traditions of America, including some of America's historical figures. I learn new words and new information on every subject. I didn't know what Halloween was before. I didn't know much about Christmas and Hanukkah, or who Martin Luther King Jr. is. These are some things I learned about in conversations with my tutor.
I researched and discussed George Washington, the first president of America. I researched and learned a lot about the life of Abraham Lincoln, and discussed it with Chris. I learn by talking with Chris, and it improves my confidence in speaking English.
When I came to America, I knew that I would experience a lot of stress because of the language. For example, my son is going to kindergarten. I had to talk with his teacher. Because my son didn't speak English, every day when he came back from school he was crying. He said he thought his teacher did not like him. Chris and I discussed how to talk with the teacher. We did some practicing. I spoke about the matter with my son's teacher, and now he and my son are so happy.
As I am learning more vocabulary words and speaking English, I feel my self-confidence is gaining, giving me a very positive feeling for my future here in America.
I am grateful to the people who are so helpful in enhancing my English speaking skills. I enjoy sharing with my family what I learn at Project Literacy. I must learn to speak English with even greater confidence, and this is one of my biggest goals. I am going to talk to people at school, when shopping, and everywhere I can.
My next goal, after learning English, is that I want to teach mathematics again. My greatest motivation is to improve my life here, because this is my family’s new home.
I studied English for more than 15 years when I lived in Korea, but my language skills did not really improve. The English I learned came from a textbook, not from speaking. I found that after I came to the U.S. I needed to learn “real” English, because the way people talk is often very different than what you learn in a book.
For example, Americans use slang a lot. If you didn’t know slang, and someone said to you, “What’s up?”, you would probably look at the sky. But I know it really means, “What’s happening?”
The Project Literacy program has helped me to improve my English skills. As a result, there have been several good changes in my life.
I have made many more friends with Americans and people here from other countries. Because we all speak in English, it doesn’t matter where we are from. And speaking with them is another way for me to practice.
Before Project Literacy, English was uncomfortable for me. It was difficult to find information for my job, class, and everyday activities. My wife did all the speaking for me.
But now, my attitude about living in the U.S. has changed. When I do different things, like going to the mall or the bank, or taking my son to school or the doctor, I have more confidence when having conversations with people.
I have two goals right now. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Korea, and I want to get my Master’s Degree in marketing or business here in the U.S. Also, I have two children. I know that as they grow they will speak perfect English. I want to be able to talk to them in perfect English, too.
I have made great progress in learning English. I feel I am where I am today because of Antonio, Larry and above all my tutor Mrs.Doka and the Project Literacy Program.
I have been aware of Project Literacy’s work for many years. One of my favorite events was their Leap for Literacy, an annual dance recital that I attended with my daughter from when she was four years old.
Each year at this event, a few of the Project Literacy students would speak. You couldn’t help but be touched when you heard the stories of how learning to read had dramatically improved their lives.
Project Literacy is a wonderful organization, and deserving of every accolade it receives.
I have been familiar with Project Literacy for several years, and I have participated in some of their events. Learning about the work this organization does was a real eye-opener for me, as I had no idea about how sweeping a problem adult illiteracy is today.
I have nothing but admiration for the volunteer tutors who give of themselves to better the lives of others. And the determination of the students to tackle and overcome the obstacle of illiteracy, or to learn the English language as in the case of ESL students, is inspiring.
Project Literacy is a truly worthwhile organization, well-deserving of praise and support.
I was a board member of Project Literacy for 15 years, and I still perform volunteer work for this wonderful organization. My initial interest came about when I became aware of the shocking number of adults who are functionally illiterate.
The work Project Literacy does with both English speaking adults as well as those for whom English is a second language, is inspiring. At the organization's annual awards ceremony, the most touching moments are when students stand at the podium and give their accounts of how learning to read has changed their lives. Things that most of us take for granted, like reading a story to our children, are a source of immense pride and sense of accomplishment. Listening to them speak makes it clear to all in the audience that what these students achieved has impacted not only them, but those around them as well.
Project Literacy and its volunteer tutors provide an invaluable service to people in need, and to the community as a whole. It may not get the publicity that some of the larger nonprofits get, but its mission and achievements are just as worthy of praise and support.
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.
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.
It’s hard to believe that around 20% of Bergen County, NJ residents are illiterate. My student was born in a country where it’s not common to educate girls so she never attended school. When she moved to the U.S. in her late teens, marrying and starting a family was her priority – getting an education was not. It wasn’t until decades later that she grew tired of missing out and decided to learn to read and write.
When she walked into the door of Project Literacy, her life began to change.
We’ve been working together for four years, during which time her motivation and passion to learn has not waivered. Now she’s able to read to her granddaughter, a dream she never thought possible before. Here is how she described it to me: “Before it was all dark. Now I see light.”
Had she not had access to a free resource like Project Literacy, she’d still be living in darkness. Project Literacy helps hundreds of residents like my student improve their situations through reading. Literacy not only transforms the student’s life, but changes lives of generations to come.
Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County is an invaluable resource, not only for people seeking literacy in English, but also for people wishing to obtain their High School Equivalency diploma. I've been fortunate to have worked with this organization for the past six years as a math tutor. The support provided by the staff, coupled with the enthusiasm of the students, creates a positive, rewarding experience. Somehow this organization is able to maximize its minimal resource and focus on what counts, the students.
Project Literacy of Bergen county is engaged in unlocking human potential that is trapped due to lack of English language skills. These adults with diverse backgrounds, skills, education and socio-economic status are powerless without the means to share and communicate their unique gifts. Through the large network of compassionate and dedicated literacy volunteers, trainers, administration and board, this non profit is chipping away at the huge handicap of illiteracy in Greater Bergen county and thus allowing an avenue for adults to become productive and grow into meaningful contributors of society in their chosen professions.The Board and Administration is working hard to continuously improve itself to serve efficiently and effectively. Having been in the field of adult education for several decades and as a member of the board, i have found that giving the gift of language skills is one of the most powerful ways to empower people. Refer, volunteer or become a tutor today to give the gift of a lifetime!