Each year, hundreds of students learn to read thanks to Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County (LVMC.) The learning experience is not limited to reading text books; it helps students live better by adding valuable life skills. Our students earn GED degrees, become computer literate and pass citizenship tests because of the work they do with us. The end result is that they become productive members of the community.

We offer free individual tutoring to both native English speakers and ESOL students. We also offer free group classes, conversation and writing classes as well as computer classes. We offer open enrollment and many of our classes are in session year round, including the summer months.

While an international day of literacy is recognized this month as well as a national week focused on adult education and family literacy, LVMC has kicked it up a notch to celebrate for the entire month. Our goal is to heighten public awareness and increase the number of people who understand the vital role adult literacy training plays in our county’s wellbeing. Below are letters written by our adult learners in recognition of this event.

Victoria Golden

Program Coordinator, Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County, 3535 Quakerbridge Road.

#b#To the Editor: Afraid No More#/b#

I am a student. I have been in an English conversation class for three years. Now I want to evaluate myself to see what I have learned, whether I have improved my English. Fortunately, my English speaking and listening is much better than before.

Before I took the class, when I met my neighbors, I could only say “Hello.” I was afraid of talking English to people around me. I was afraid of picking up a phone.

Since I have been taking the English class the teacher teaches us two hours each week. We talk about the ABC World News. We read interesting articles. We learn U.S. history and play games in English. Sometimes the teacher invites us to go to the park or restaurant to get lunch.

Now I enjoy talking to my neighbors about gardening or about our grandchildren. Last week I received a Comcast bill. I picked up the phone and asked why my bill increased. The answer was “your promotion contract is gone. The new contract provides more HD channels.” I fully understand what they said and I renewed the new contract by myself. I am happy that I can handle English conversation with a phone call.

My sincere thanks to dear English teacher, Mrs. Sue Westerberg. Thanks to all Mercer County volunteering workers.

Zhiyin Deng

Deng is a member of the Thursday Afternoon Conversation Class sponsored by the Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County. Deng studied law in China and worked as a court secretary in Shanghai. She moved to Canada where she resided for 11 years and worked in a warehouse. She has lived in New Jersey for 12 years. Deng signed on with the program in 2008. She returned to her country for approximately one year to care for an ailing family member. Upon returning, she resumed lessons with Literacy Volunteers and has been active since 2010.

In commemoration of National Literacy Month falling in September, I would like to highlight the work being done by Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County. LVMC helps us to learn and be part of this community. LVMC provides a friendly environment with knowledgeable instructors who sacrifice their time to teach us.

I started last year and as a student I can say that I learn a lot of computer skills (Excel, Word, Power Point) and English language. Now I can communicate with others and my chances for a better job are increasing.

There are a lot people like me waiting for this chance to improve their language, to understand and be understood. I hope this organization continue with generosity of people who support it financially, especially in this time of economic crisis. I’m very thankful to them.

Thanks to a Literacy Volunteers for opening the door to us to learn and special thanks to my tutors for their effort and patience with me.

Sanaa Cheraibi

From Morocco and a resident of the United States for almost five years, Cheraibi works in Princeton and lives in Hamilton.

Literacy Events:

Reception, Monday, September 10, 11 a.m. to noon, at the Princeton Public Library.

Open House, Monday, September 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., LVMC Headquarters, 3535 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 104, Hamilton. Mini-workshop for potential tutors and tutors who have been taking a break.

Tutor Training: An evening session begins Monday, October 15, and meets for five weeks from 6 to 9 p.m. A daytime session also begins Monday, October 15, and meets for five weeks from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All classes at Pellettieri and Rabstein, 100 Nassau Park Boulevard. Call the LVMC office at 609-587-6027.

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