Words from the Executive Director

Dear LVMont Community,

As the end of the year approaches, I find myself thankful for my first five months serving as the Executive Director for the Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area. Whether it has been collaborating with the board, our tutors, our students, partners, or other members of the community, I am fortunate to be in the company of such compassionate and wonderful people. Even more inspiring is the energy each of you continues to give to our organization and our students.

The time has approached for many of us to pause and reconnect with family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. I am excited at the prospects that 2023 will bring for LVMont and the communities we serve. Not only will LVMont move into a new office at the beginning of the new year, but we will also celebrate our 50th anniversary. We have a lot to look forward to in the new year.

As we take our respective respites from our daily labors, please remember those who are near, far, and no longer with us. Celebrate life, recharge, and consider volunteering with us in 2023. The 41 students on our waiting list would be thankful.

Thank you to all who have donated during the Giving Tuesday in November. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Wishing You All Good Tidings of Joy!

Zwanieke Visser

In Memoriam – Anne Zarella

All of us at Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area extend our sympathy to the family and many friends of former Board of Directors member, Anne Zarella, who passed away after a short illness in October, 2022. Anne served on the LVMont Board of Directors for several years. Her quiet, capable counsel and clear foresight guided us through organizational planning and fund-raising. We were ever grateful for her writing skills which she offered unstintingly. She left the Board to care for her parents but did not forget the Literacy Volunteers, asking that donations be made to LVMont in lieu of flowers at her funeral.

Former Board member and retired Director of the Fitchburg Public Library, Sharon Bernard, has said it best: “She was a quiet presence. When she spoke, it was always from a place of kindness. She cared that the student needs were met with empathy and caring.”

Office Hours

Regular winter office hours: Monday – Thursday: 10 AM -3 PM
Evenings, Fridays, and Saturdays by appointment.

The office will be closed:
Between December 26 and 30 , however, appointments can be made.
Closed: Jan 2, 16; Feb 17 – Mar 3; Mar 17
Closed at noon: Jan 13

Welcome to Our New Board Member

LVMont is pleased to announce that Carolyn   Hughes  joined our Board of Directors. Carolyn   brings years of organizational, communicational   and administrative experience to help address the   need for ESOL and basic literacy tutoring   to transform lives, economically elevate families,   and create communities that are more equitable and thrive. She brings experience in planning and implementing community initiatives, and has an interest in reaching underserved communities. In her spare time, she loves to learn new things, meet new people and explore new possibilities. She has been married for 25 years and is the proud mother of one son.

The Power of Literacy

From LVMont’s student Daniela: “Unfortunately I won’t be able to continue in the program but I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be part of it.  My tutor Ron has helped me a lot during my process of learning the English language after I had to migrate from Mexico to Massachusetts, this was a very difficult time because I wasn’t sure of how to express myself sometimes. With our classes I’ve been able to improve my confidence when expressing myself and to communicate correctly. My tutor has always been very kind and helpful to make our classes dynamic and has always supported me to improve my English language skills, both with reading and history activities and conversations to practice my pronunciation.  I greatly appreciate his mentorship and support during this time and wish that more people receive the same support from this program.”

From LVMont’s student M: “Thanks to my tutor I am a more confident person. I feel that I am a more likable person too. I am also much better at reading my US mail now.

Online Volunteer Information Session
January 30

Online Volunteer Information Session:
Monday, January 30, 6-7.30 PM.

This is an opportunity to learn about our organization, our programs, our volunteer opportunities, and our upcoming tutor trainings.

The Zoom link and an information packet will be e-mailed.
Attendance is required before enrolling in a tutor training.

Upcoming Tutor Training
Starting March 13

Our next tutor training will be an online ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutor training: March 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10, 24 on Monday evenings, 6-8:30 PM, on Zoom.

To enroll in a training, you must attend a volunteer information session where you’ll receive a more detailed application form. Email [email protected] for more information.

Our tutor trainings this year are generously supported by an Educational Access grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. 

A Financial Literacy Event
February 7

We are excited to offer you a financial literacy event in cooperation with Main Street Bank on February 7, 6:30-7:30 PM in the Lunenburg Library: “Identifying fraud and common scams”. This event is open to anyone.

Scammers try new methods to trick you all the time. But if you know the signs to look for, you may avoid becoming a victim. Join us for an interesting presentation and Q&A on how to identify fraud and common scams to protect yourself and your family.

Topics that will be presented include:

  • Email and phone scams
  • Postal mail scams
  • Other current scam trends
  • Best practices to protect yourself
 Join us in the New Year

Mark your calendars! We have many exciting activities coming up this winter! More information will come soon!

January 12, 10-11 AM: New Year’s tutor coffee

January  12, 7-8 PM: New Year’s tutor coffee

February 7, 6:30-7:30 PM: ‘Identifying fraud and common scams’ – a financial literacy event*  in Lunenburg Public Library open to the public.

February 9, 1-2 PM: Tutor support circle

March 16, 7-8 PM: Tutor support circle

March TBD:  ‘Identifying fraud and common scams’ – a financial literacy event*  in Pepperell Public Library open to the public.

Citizenship Classes
starting March 15

We will be having an in-person citizenship class on Wednesday evenings, 6-8 PM, in the Leominster Public Library, March 15 – May 31.

Register online via this GoogleForm: https://forms.gle/4F3bWzBFjA4CimPo7 or by phone at 978-343-8184.

For online help with citizenship applications, contact Project Citizenship by calling 617-694-5949.

Conversation Groups
in January

Read Aloud Circle:
This class is for anyone that wants to improve their English or their reading skills.
Wednesdays December 7 – January 25, 10-11 AM.
In the Leominster Public Library.
Registration required, email: [email protected]

Conversation Circle:
This class is for anyone that wants to learn or improve their English conversational skills. The last Fall class is on December 27 in the Leominster Public Library. No registration required.
No new circle has been scheduled yet.

Call for volunteers

If you would like to make a difference in 2023 but don’t think that tutoring is for you, please reach out to Zwanieke ([email protected]). We are always looking for volunteers to run a conversation circle, to staff a table at different events, to help in the office, help with social media or IT or to assist during fundraiser activities.

Ways to support our tutoring

Do you, your family or friends ski at Wachusett Mountain? Please use our code (DON-LVM) when you book ski passes or a beginners package! We will receive a donation of $10 for everyone that uses our code to no cost to you.
Spread the word!

Did you know you can support Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area while shopping on Amazon, at no cost to you?

AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to a charity selected by the customer. Choose to support Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area by following https://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7329115. After selecting Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area, be sure to always start shopping at smile.amazon.com.

Thank you for your support!

 National Black Literacy Day
February 14

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Frederick Douglas
Abolitionist, Educator, Former Slave

When is National Black Literacy Day? This day will take place on February 14 of each calendar year (Frederik Douglas’ Birthday).

What is National Black Literacy Day? On National Black Literacy Day, the focus is on building upon the concepts that “Literacy is Freedom” and that “Reading is a Revolutionary Act”.

Why is this day being celebrated or observed? This day is being observed to consistently bring attention to literacy and the necessity of reading and writing to education!

How could this day be celebrated or observed? This day could be celebrated by reading, buying books from a Black bookstore, and donating time/books/resources to literacy-focused organizations.

How could this day be celebrated with your student? Poetry is so versatile, which makes it a great form to use in the ELL classroom. There are so many types of poetry and so many different forms that eventually, each student is bound to find a poem or poet he or she enjoys! Poems can be used to introduce or practice new vocabulary, language structures, and rhyming devices, and shorter poems often give English language learners a chance to explore an idea while working with a more manageable amount of text than a short story or essay.
Use this link for an collection of poems by black authors:
Use this link for ideas on how to use poems in your tutor sessions: