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ROUND UP: Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County

By Natalie Criscione

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC), which serves both Rensselaer and Albany counties, is true to this Margaret Mead quote found on their website’s homepage. They began serving the community in 1968, and now, more than 50 years later, continue their mission to teach people to read, write, and speak English; to empower students to be advocates for themselves; and to educate the community about literacy issues.  

With over 30,000 teens and adults in Rensselaer County alone who struggle with literacy, every volunteer, donation, and service has changed the lives of many people in our communities.  

Programs such as “Power Lunch-Everybody WINS!” provide read-aloud experiences for elementary students: a mentor is paired with a student in one of three different schools for weekly, individual, one-on-one reading time. Some of the mentors are provided by corporate partners who report that their own work morale is boosted by employee involvement, and of course, the students reap vast benefits.

“Everybody WINS!” is one of many programs offered by LVORC. In addition to an English Literacy Civics program, there are also offerings for one-on-one tutoring, workplace literacy, citizenship preparation, financial literacy, and telephone skills. There is even a Sewing and English Language Workplace Skills program based at the Albany Women’s Club, which combines multiple skills and opportunities for community and growth.  

LVORC provides free training and support for their 100+ volunteers. One does not have to have a teaching or education background to become involved as a mentor, just a desire to help someone else. And volunteers are always needed.

During the month of October, when you’re paying for your Honest Weight groceries, you’ll be asked: “Would you like to round up to the nearest dollar to support Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County?” 

That is your moment to change the world.  


Check out the LVORC website for more ways you can change the world:

Natalie Criscione remembers shopping at the Quail st. Honest Weight location. She wears many hats: educator, writer, artist, musician, property manager, advocate, and volunteer. She loves being part of the Coop Scoop team!

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