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Literacy Partners, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education

Mission: Literacy Partners strengthens families through a two-generation approach to education. With our free classes, low-income parents in New York City develop the literacy and language skills they need to succeed in today’s world. Our research-based curriculum also incorporates child development and parenting support to help parents boost their children’s early reading, school readiness, and social-emotional growth.

Programs: Adult Basic Education (ABE),Family Literacy/ESL,ESL,Pre-GED,GED,Employment PreparationProgram Components:Financial Literacy,Health Literacy

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As one of the longest running volunteers i am passionate about this program. There are over 1,000,000 people in New York City who cannot read on the fourth grade level. Imagine not being able to help your children with their homework (and what that means to you and to them); not being able to read ingredents in the food that you buy for your family so that you are not able to determine if it is healthy; not being able to read some of the mail that you receive; not being able to fill in an application; and on and on. Since the downturn in the economy Literacy Partners is one of the few programs in the city that is free;,because of this the waiting list is continues to grow. Again, imagine getting up your courage, working out the time involved, getting excited about making the change in your life and being told that there is a waiting list. The need for additional sites, tutors, etc. is an ongoing crisis for the management.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life and to be able to pass this on to others has been a gift. My interactions with the students is truly the high point of my week. The students each come in with a different story but with the same desire for themselves and their children to take that one large step which is priceless. I wish I had the ability with words to tell you how much this program means to all of them. As an intake counselor, I get to meet many new or returning students and they are all so looking forward to improving their reading and writing... "to be able to read a newspaper", to check my daughter's homework". I am proud to be a volunteer with Literacy Partners

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wrote a review back in September 2010 after volunteering with Literacy Partners for 2 years. I am still there over 2 years later. My class size has increased from 6-8 students to around 14. There are not enough volunteers to teach all the students. Imagine, finally plucking up the courage to sign up only to be told you have to wait a few months before they can slot you into a class. My students are great. They get tested every semester and, even though I hate to lose them, if they do well they will get promoted up to the next level. I teach the middle level of math to these adult students. About 5th grade level. The students come from such different backgrounds. Some are really good at math but were never taught anything - they can pick things up really quickly. Others have come up from the lower level classes and only know what we teach them. Others dropped out of school many years ago and can't remember any of it. Whatever their level or their reason for attending the classes, they all try really hard and do the best they possibly can to improve their lives. I salute them all.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Literacy Partners, Inc. over 2 years ago. It was time for me to volunteer. I always wanted to teach people to read. I signed up for training and ended up joining a Math group. Literacy Partners, Inc. is such a wonderful organization because it provides Reading, Writing and Math studies for adults from all levels, all for free. The lowest level of students cannot read or write, cannot add or subtract. They missed out on everything for one reason or another. But once they take the first step and come to the classes some of them are able to learn. They can progress so well in this nurturing environment. The success stories are heart-breaking. I teach a group of between 6-8 students each week. They are in the middle level of basic math. They have progressed through the classes or have entered with some level of math skills, and the permanent staff spend endless hours listening and testing them to know which is the best class to slot them in to. For the time I have been there several of my students have gone up to the next level. They are mostly seeking their GEDs so that they can advance in their jobs. There are annual events honoring the students and volunteers. And this summer, they held training classes for the volunteers to keep us engaged and to help us progress in our teaching skills. As much time and effort as the preparation takes out of me each week, I get all the pay back I need when the anxious and confused looks on the student's faces turn to understanding and enthusiasm to learn more.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been tutoring with Literacy Partners (LP) for close to 20 years and have been impressed with the scope of the program, both reading and math, and its continued efforts to increase its effectiveness and relevancy. Students are respected as adults, and LP is well attuned to the differences between childhood and adult learning.The center coordinators and tutors provide a patient, supportive environment for learning. Students are divided into groups based on pretesting, which focuses the instruction and maximizes class involvement. Besides the computation exercises in my math class, students are given math problems dealing with real-life situations, and financial literacy is part of the curriculum. Tutors fill out a short form at the end of each session indicating the topics covered and resources used. Students are tested at regular intervals to assess progress, with the ultimate goal of passing the GED test. In the writing classes students are encouraged tto write about topics that are meaningful to them; the priority is developing students' abilities to communicate in writing; tweaking grammar and spelling follows. A number of books are available in the LP libraries at the various centers; some of these are abridged versions of literary classics. Overall, and excellent program!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering with Literacy Partners (LPI) as a tutor for 5 years. I teach a 3-hour class every week; I determine my own curriculum and lesson plans with help from LPI. LPI excels at providing a free, supportive environment for adult students to learn literacy and life skills, and eventually work up to obtaining their GED. The staff turnover is unfortunately high, due to LPI's inability to pay their center coordinators a competitive salary. (which is one of the reasons they need more funding.) This can lead to a lack of cohesion and general direction for tutors shaping their class curriculum.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"A teacher affects eternity," Henry Adams once said. "He can never tell where his influence stops." When I joined Literacy Partners,Inc. in 2003 as a volunteer tutor, my goals by no means included eternity. I intended to spend a year helping students learn to decode words and to more easily negotiate the simple events that comprise our daily lives. Then I would move on to other matters. What derailed this plan were the students and,of course, the students are the story. Amalie, presiding over a large brood of her own, learning to read so she can pass her citizenship test and qualify to adopt two needy young relatives from Haiti. James, a teenager and main support of his parents, hoping for a career in law enforcement. Andrea, living in a basement and working seven days a week in a store stocking shelves and seeking education as the path to a better job and financial security. Jorge, a mailroom worker in a bank, wanting to make his family proud. Over the years more than 100 students have sat around my table. Their dedication is humbling. You rarely see people so avid to learn. We're not just talking the 3 R's here, we're talking the 3 C's--Courage, Character, and Commitment. Literacy Partners listens to students, takes them seriously. We respect their intelligence and we honor them with greatness: the poetry of Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Billy Collins; short stories by Anton Chekhov and Carson McCullers; plays by William Shakespeare and Thornton Wilder; novels by Ernest Hemingway and Sandra Cisneros. But along with all that culture, side by side with the reading, the writing, and the math, a realistic results-based adult education program must also address the practical exigencies of life in the 21st century. While Amalie is mastering phonics,we help her prepare for that citizenship test. Besides practicing essay writing for his GED exam, James studies financial literacy and learns how to fill out forms and applications for the police academy. Andrea makes a resume, and applies for low-income housing. Jorge role-plays job interviews. The power of education is its ability to open a window on the world. It is thrilling when a student achieves a goal on the road to a brighter future. At such a moment it is hard to imagine an enterprise in which one might be engaged that is more important. And,if there is an organization that is better able than Literacy Partners to provide the inspiration and the keys to unlock the mysteries of knowledge acquisition, I don't know it.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Literacy Partners is an organization that teaches adults to learn to read – and hopefully brings their basic skills up to par (reading, writing and basic arithmetic) so that they eventually go to the next step and obtain a GED. LP programs include pre-GED, GED and ESOL. LP also covers employment preparation, family and health literacy, which enables these students to make changes for themselves and their home life as well. As their knowledge increases, their enthusiasm and self esteem florishes. Their families get involved and there is a overall feeling of accomplishment – the benefits to these programs are endless. In my four years at LP, I have found that many students - due to different circumstances - were not given the opportunity to learn properly when they were young – and now as adults they want to improve their place in life but are trapped because they cannot read. They are frustrated and very aware of their shortcomings and want to catch up - so when they join LP they are very committed and determined to succeed. Donors and volunteers who invest their time and money in Literacy Partners are not only able to make difference in these peoples lives and communities but they can also affect the economy of future generations. It is a win-win for everyone.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I just started volunteering in May (2010),and so far it's been very exciting. People of all stations in life seeking to improve their lives with the simplicity of something we take for granted... reading. I have been a reader naturally from childhood, and I'm more inspired now about reading; and encourage the students that are preparing for their GED to study their least favorite subject while they wait for class to start so that they are more equipped for the exam. I hope I'm making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Because of my background in English teaching (range of levels) and my role as director of an English language program for immigrant high school freshmen, I expected to be placed with second language students. However, the need in the pre-GED class was evident, and my involvement began and evolved into an almost daily experience of challenge, productivity and sincere excitement. The elevated motivation and keen self-recognition of this population of all ages differs from any other group with whom I have interacted. Their sense of appreciation is sometimes poignant. One becomes aware of the greater world of “students” who we might reach were it possible to outreach, identify and support. Providing a fresh beginning provides new possibilities and hope to a population who was burdened with self-doubts; I am also inspired by their willingness to reach out to one another. “Conquering” this diploma can only be defined by each student.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Literacy Partners is a terrific organization that is reaching a group of people who have somehow gotten through school systems and life in general without developing basic reading and math skills. The students have made up for this skill deficit in remarkable ways. They have jobs and have become expert at moving ahead without these skills. Just imagine how far they can go once they learn to read and write at a higher level! The students are so appreciative of all that the tutors/teachers and Literacy Partners staff do for them. Literacy Partners is a very well run organization that makes the most of every asset at their disposal. The initial and on-going training has been great. I have participated in volunteer activities for most of my adult life and Literacy Partners is by far my best experience. In addition to feeling like I am making a big difference in the lives of the students, I truly believe in the program. I am so moved by the students and their initiative and desire to work hard and improve their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first connected with Literacy Partners almost two years ago while looking for a volunteer opportunity that was long-term and one in which I could really see the results of mine and the group's efforts. My time volunteering with Literacy Partners has been incredible. I am really inspired by how hard the students work, and getting to know them and their personal backstores has been an eye-opening experience. I feel very supported by my co-tutor and by the people in the main office. I think everyone involved with the organization has their hearts and minds in the same place and are really working toward a common goal about which we are all incredibly passionate. I like that volunteering with Literacy Partners is not a one-off thing, but a long-term commitment that affords me the opportunity to really get to know students, staff, and tutors and to feel like I'm really a part of making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved as a volunteer with Literacy Partners for five years. During that time I have tutored dozens of students, some of whom have made wonderful progress, passed their GEDs and moved on to the next phase of their lives. I have been so impresses with Literacy P. The energetic staff offers the adult students every chance to become literate. The staff works tirelessly and cheerfully to make the best of everyone's potential and to provide the emotional support as well as learning skills that are needed. More funding is needed, more staff is needed, more materials are needed, but Literacy Partners thrives despite this.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience has been so positive that I encourage everyone I know to try volunteering here. I was concerned at first because I didn't have prior experience, but the students are terrific. They come to class with questions, ask questions throughout, and often stay late with more questions. The atmosphere is very positive and everyone encourages everyone else to do their best. That's greatly helped by our teacher, who combines the work with a good sense of humor.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about Literacy Partners, Inc. through a Google search. I went to an oreintation and after completing my paperwork and getting referrals I was accepted into the tutoring program. I started out by registering students who have been accepted into the program. What I saw over the next few Monday evenings opened my eyes even wider and made my desire to become part of this program even stronger. I met students who dropped out of school, some students that were moderately educated in their homelands and some students that had very little reading experience. All of the students gave me the same feeling-they all wanted to learn to read to better themselves and to regain their pride. It was a feeling that I have never felt before in my entire life. It is one that I want to continue to experience for a very very long time to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Literacy Partners does great work in NYC to work with people learning English and increase their proficiency in reading, writing, and math. The volunteers are well-trained and well-supported in their efforts. Literacy Partners staff offer professional development, provide relevant resources, and communicate well with both the volunteers and clients. There is a consistent effort to grow and change as an organization (reflected in their responses to volunteer suggestions). The clients are also well-supported. The learning atmosphere is very comfortable and the students receive frequent feedback on their progress. The intake process is very smooth and clients begin classes with a good idea of where they stand and what to expect. I am always inspired by my fellow volunteers and their dedication. Many have been volunteering for years and years and they are a great resource.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've only been with Literacy Partners since the spring, having taken the training during the winter of 2010. It was rigorous and professional--a good introduction to the organization itself. Students come to class ready to learn. Although it's free to them, the quality of the master teacher's instruction is high and attendance is steady. I love the international flavor of the class; with the exception of a small cluster of students from the Dominican Republic, everyone's from some place different! That fact alone encourages them to speak English in class. LPI has built a strong reputation on a small budget; they stand for excellence in the field of adult literacy. The volunteers and teachers are as dedicated as the students and the results speak for themselves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I live in New York City with my husband and daughter, who is about to apply for college. Having some free time, I wanted a volunteer experience helping others to read English. Literacy Partners offered a training program for volunteers that went into many more areas of teaching than just helping adults learn to read. It was a revelation to me while taking the training, to realize different methods and procedures for teaching: how to begin with basic vocabulary, build with sentences, keep track of grammar, comprehension, pronunciation, conversation, where a student struggles and how to assist with it while continuing a lesson, and working with adults from different educational backgrounds. I have the blessing of an excellent master teacher who is endlessly patient, innovative and creative, while maintaining a good sense of humor but also being firm when necessary. It's wonderful getting to know adults who attend every day in order to learn English. Often I hear that they travel long distances in order to attend the class. Each session follows a certain order - the study of vocabulary words, sentence building, dialogue practice, grammar practice sheets, and then a coffee break. I noticed from the first class that the master teacher made a point of preparing and serving coffee to the students himself, asking if they wanted coffee and how they liked it. Students brought snacks, and volunteers do this also, so we share the refreshment together. After a 15 minute break, the class divides up and I take half for a reading comprehension lesson. My master teacher gives me a different lesson each week, and it is composed of a reading passage followed by many different oral and written exercises. It is at this point of the class that I feel most like a real teacher, as "my" students take turns reading and going through the exercises. We all help each other through them, and it's beautiful to see how students will do anything to help someone who is struggling. I am so humbled by how hard they work, and how they thank me at the end of each session. I always praise them out loud to the master teacher, who is in the room, listening to how the volunteers conduct this portion of the lesson, and he helps and comes over periodically to share in the teaching, as necessary. He has always told me that if I ever had a challenging situation or needed him, to let him know immediately, and of course we have each other's telephone numbers and email addresses. It has never been necessary. I am pleased that my teacher has met my family and I have attended many Literacy Partners events throughout my time as a volunteer. Often, there are little parties, trips to museums and outings for picnics or to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center - so appreciated by everyone. I learned that many newcomers live alone or with distant family members, and being a part of Literacy Partners gives them a new set of friends. It's hard to believe that I completed my training in the Fall of 2008 and began volunteering in January of 2009 - I feel as if I've done it all my life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Literacy Partners for about a year, after going through the training program that is required of all volunteers. Although I expected I'd be helping students with reading, it's turned out that I work more on math. I really love the 3 hours I spend with students each week. They are astonishing in their dedication and hard work. I'm also constantly impressed with the way they work together and encourage each other (often across generations and cultures). Many of them are so smart -- but they think they're not. I try to help them see that they know a lot more than they realize they do, and they're definitely not stupid.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have always been a voracious reader, and I couldn't imagine going through life without that ability. I tried several ways to volunteer to help assist in some form of literacy improvement. Every program I looked into made it so difficult to work with, until I found Literacy Partners, Inc. Literacy Partners goes the extra mile for tutors and students. The training I received was exceptional, and weekly I am able to tutor different size groups of adults. Literacy Partners watches over all levels of students, helping them, being concerned about them, working tirelessly with them and most importantly, never giving up on them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a new retiree from journalism, I was looking for some way to apply my word skills to volunteer work. Literacy Partners seemed the perfect opportunity, and in the eight months I've been working as a volunteer I've found it extremely challenging and rewarding. Helping adults who have made the commitment learn to read and write makes me feel I am making some small contribution to society; these are people who are desperately seeking a second chance at an education and their spirit and persistence is inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have always wanted to teach literacy to adults becuase of my own love of reading and worlds of information and the pleasure it has given me all of my life. I started to volunteer as a tutor when I was able to devote the time in a regular schedule. Tutoring adults has changed my life and I know it has changed the lives of many of the students I have taught. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I have helped someone not only get closer to their academic goals, but to learn skills that help them in their personal life and their ability to contribute to their community. I would never have met this group of people or realized how significantly Literacy Partners changes their lives if I had not become a volunteer with htis specific organization. My biggest thrill is when one of my students moves on from my Basic Adult Education class to a Pre GED class because of the dedication they have had to improve their lives. It's necessary to understand that these students have made a profound decision to add class time and homework hours to their already busy adult lives. The students who manage to do the work and attend class on a regular basis are the ones who succeed. I'm very proud to be a volunteer for Literacy Partners because I think it is a well structured and administered program