2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, Virginia 22042
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and Safeway
February 3, 2001
From February 3 to March 5 Safeway shoppers can bring in new or gently used books to any of the 33 Safeway stores in Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria. Books will be donated to the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia for their April 28 Book Sale. Proceeds from the sale will help the Council teach Northern Virginia adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English.
Earlier today Eric Arnston, Literacy Council student and Safeway employee, Avis Black, Literacy Council Board President and Safeway's Area Real Estate Manager, and Preston Potter the Manager of the King St. Safeway store came together to launch the Council's month long book drive.
Arnston has worked at Safeway since 1994, where he has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Safeway Presidents Award. In 1996, Eric contacted the Literacy Council where he was paired with a volunteer tutor. Arnston and his tutor meet once a week at a local library where they work on improving Eric's basic literacy skills. Over the past four years, Eric and his tutor have made much progress, advancing through a number of skill books. Working one-to-one with a literacy tutor has given Eric a "new zest for reading." He recently wrote a story entitled, Eric's Vacation that was published in the Literacy Council's book of student essays.
"Safeway is proud to be a partner in the Literacy Council's Book Drive," said Safeway's Eastern Division Public Affairs Director Greg TenEyck. "The advancement of education is one of our company's primary areas of community outreach and we are glad many of our Northern Virginia stores will be serve as book drop locations. We look forward to assisting the Council in making more people self-sufficient."
"We are most grateful to Safeway for supporting our literacy programs through this book drive," said Gregory Smith, Executive Director of the Literacy Council. "This serves as one more example of Safeway's long-standing commitment to education in our community. We are proud to partner with such an outstanding company."
Safeway's commitment to education includes its annual Club Card for Education Program that provides funds for public and private schools to purchase educational equipment and supplies of their choice. This year, Safeway will donate more than $1.7 million dollars in equipment to schools in the Washington-Baltimore area, raising its 10-year total to nearly $11 million. In addition, the company has provided $60,000 in scholarships through the Greater Washington Urban League to deserving students during the last three years.
Founded in 1962, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is a nonprofit educational organization that recruits and trains volunteers to tutor adults who need to develop their basic reading, writing, and English speaking skills. This past year more than 800 Literacy Council volunteers helped to provide one-to-one tutoring, classroom, and computer-assisted instruction to over 1,800 adult learners throughout the community.
For more information on the work of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia or to receive information on volunteer opportunities, please contact the Literacy Council at (703) 237-0866 or access their website at nova-literacy.org. For the location of a Safeway near you, visit Safeway's website at www.safeway.com or call (301) 918-6800.
Long Time Council Volunteer Receives Outstanding Adult Tutor Award
For the past 12 years, Roger Endert has been a dedicated and tireless volunteer. From being Board President to playing Santa Claus at the Council's annual holiday party, he has served the Council in a variety of different positions. He was recently honored with the Jeannie P. Baliles Outstanding Adult Tutor Award by the Virginia Literacy Foundation and the Virginia Department of Education office of Adult Education and Literacy.
The Virginia Literacy Foundation was established in 1987 to support the work of private volunteer literacy organizations in the Commonwealth. The Jeannie P. Baliles awards, named for the former First Lady of Virginia, are given out annually to honor adult literacy programs, volunteers, staff, and students throughout the state.
"Roger is a truly exceptional person and someone I feel privileged to call a friend," says Literacy Council Executive Director, Greg Smith. "Always willing to lend a hand with whatever we need. Roger's passion for teaching and his deep dedication to our students have been an inspiration to many of our volunteers and staff members, including myself. He puts his heart and soul into each lesson and has dedicated countless hours to helping ESL students build a new life for themselves in this county."
Retired from the Marine Corps, Roger has been an ESL tutor since 1988. Since then he has tutored 16 students (including two families) from Poland, Vietnam, Iran, Colombia, China, Pakistan, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Pakistan, and Syria.
Having served as a trainer at 38 Tutor Training Workshops, Roger has helped hundreds of volunteers become qualified tutors. Roger has also been essential in the development of our Computer Learning Centers and ESL classes.
Outside the classroom, Roger has been instrumental to leading the growth and direction of the Council. For eight years he served on our Board of Directors, with two years as President. He continues to work at the Council's Book Sales, gift wrapping events, Volunteer Orientations, Speakers Groups, and many other events.
Currently Roger is volunteering approximately 15 hours per week, defining his volunteering as the "last bastion of my idealism," Roger says, "my 65 years having changed me from idealist to pragmatist. This is the most personally rewarding volunteer work I can find: work which helps to strengthen student lives, the community fabric, and the United States as well."
Governor Names November Virginia Literacy Month
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia announced its enthusiasm for Governor Gilmore's proclamation that November is Virginia Literacy Month. Gilmore's proclamation affirms that, "Literacy is the fundamental building block of all learning and is essential to the growth and success of every citizen."
Greg Smith, Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, remarked that "reading and writing are such fundamental tools of daily life. Many of us rarely consider what a handicap illiteracy must be to those who struggle to build a better life for themselves. One in five adults in Virginia is functionally illiterate--with reading skills below the eighth grade level. This means they are unable to read to their children or understand street signs, job applications, or instructions for medical treatment." In Alexandria City alone, more than 19,000 adults, 20% of the adult population, are functionally illiterate.
The Literacy Council's mission is to teach adults basic reading, writing, understanding, and English speaking skills. Services are offered through Basic Literacy, English-as-a-Second Language, and Family Learning programs. Students are taught in both one-to-one and classroom settings. Many students want to achieve goals such as getting a driver's license or GED, becoming a citizen, or reading to their children. Last year, with the help of over 900 volunteers, more than 2,200 area adults were served.
In the Literacy Council's most recent survey, 91 percent of Council students indicated that what they learned with their tutors has significantly helped them in their daily lives. Of employed students surveyed, 80 percent felt that tutoring had helped their job performance.
"Governor Gilmore's proclamation is an opportunity to inform the people of Northern Virginia about our local programs and results and to celebrate the Commonwealth's commitment to adult literacy and lifelong learning," Smith said.
The Literacy Council is celebrating the governor's proclamation by inviting the public to learn more about the state of illiteracy in Northern Virginia and volunteer opportunities that are