Organization Name: Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area

Program Name: Literacy Volunteers Waterville Area

Program Contact: Danielle Boutin, Office Coordinator
Email: lvwaterville@gmail.com     Phone: (207) 873-7786

UWMM has funded this program for 12 years.

Amount Requested: $5000
Is this an increase from what your program received for the current funding cycle? 
No

Twenty-five word summary of this program’s purpose:

LVW provides the only free, confidential, 1-to-1 tutoring to adults and families who wish to improve their English literacy skills.

How your program is uniquely important to the community:

LVW provides weekly, confidential, 1-to-1 tutoring to adults who wish to improve their literacy skills or for whom English is a second language. LVW Family Literacy teaches adults with young children how to ‘read-aloud’ & learn literacy skills at home, connecting them with library and school resources. These services fill a vital role in the community. 14% of Kennebec County adults lack basic prose literacy skills. 8% of adults in Kennebec County never finish high school and/or do not have a GED.

Program Updates

Since last report (or in past two years):

A critical issue for LVW is the loss of our skilled and experienced office coordinator of the past 4 years. This is a key and only salaried position. As our services and mission have grown over the years, the office coordinator is now the multidimensional face of LVW (ie. catering to the needs and events of all our stakeholders, requiring excellent communication, as well as computer skills to document all that we do). An extensive hiring process has begun, bringing new excitement and possibilities.

The most effective change LVW made this year was expanding and increasing office hours from 2 to 3 afternoons weekly. This is producing the improved outcomes we hoped for. Present and potential tutors, students and board members are experiencing more expedient and regular communication with our office coordinator.  The gained familiarity and trust facilitates our ability to share information, problem solve and meet the varied needs of our community. Data collection and measurement demonstrates the positive impact of extended hours (ie. increase request of materials, 67+ walk-ins, 100+ phone calls). A critical impact of this extended office time is that our coordinator is more readily available when difficult issues arise.

Realizing that community awareness is essential to our growth, we increased funding to expand commercial advertising (posters, radio and local tv) to help create the LVW Brand. LVW is now recognized in our community by individuals, community organizations and other agencies for the services we provide. We will continue with ongoing collaborations, expanding our partnerships with new groups in the Waterville area and invest in poster and radio advertising.

Expected in the coming year:

Three major challenges in the coming year are balancing student/tutor ratios, assessing student progress and revitalizing the Board of Directors.

Our greatest challenge is balancing the fluctuation of a large enough volunteer tutor force and students. Last spring, we managed to recruit and train six new tutors, just enough to meet our need at the time. Recently more tutor interest has been elicited through the Mid-Maine Adult Education brochure. Our data demonstrates that often just as we recruit enough tutors there is a decline in the number of student applications. When this occurs, tutors waiting to be matched lose interest and drop out of our volunteer pool. When students are waiting for instruction they begin to lose hope and are no longer open to communication. Therefore building even more community awareness is essential to improving our ratio.

 

LVW utilizes two means to assess student progress:

  1. Annual Re-assessments (a more empirical approach)
  2. Gathering Stories (tutor accounts of student progress and needs)

This second assessment is largely subjective, but given the multitude and extraordinary ways our students demonstrate literacy growth, provides relevant and increasingly more important information. We need to hone our ability to gather stories to capture more effectively these elusive learning attributes that demonstrate student progress.

Secondly, LVW has not performed enough annual re-assessments. We need to determine why this happens and actualize an action plan to correct the problem.

 

Thirdly, due to the need to build capacity to continue the comprehensive work that has taken years to develop, we intend to revitalize, enhance and diversify our board. Early in the current board’s term, the academic side of our work was established and set into place reflecting our educational expertise. Financial organization and fundraising skills were learned and incorporated, however we severely need members with keen business skills. Building capacity to maintain these policies, skills, and programs is a priority. We are reorganizing and seeking new board members with specific skills in the areas of finance and fundraising as well as members who will bring vital new energy to continue to enhance and effectively develop and run our free literacy organization.

Outcome your program most contributes to:
Financial Stability: All Mid-Mainers have access to resources and training to secure opportunities to be financially stable.

How program contributes:
Increases access/reduces barriers to direct services, Increases capacity/resources for direct services, Collaborates with other programs/services in financial stability-related areas

Define your year: July 1- June 30

How much did we do? 35 (Total number served)

How well did we do it?

Performance measure: Percent of clients who received all available/requested services
Most recent year’s data: 100%
Previous year’s data: 100%

What was the difference made?

Performance measure: Percent of clients who made progress on their program/service goals
Most recent year’s data: 93%
Previous year’s data: 100%

Action Plan

Objectives for current year:

 

  • Balancing student/tutor ratios
  • Assessing student progress using annual re-assessments and gathering stories
  • Revitalizing the Board of Directors.
  • Providing ongoing professional development and support for our new Office Coordinator
  • Integrating 21st Century Literacy elements into tutoring sessions

 

 

Objectives and results from last year:Goal: Number of LVW students – 36

In the past year we tutored 32 students demonstrating a small decline in the number of students served. This is due to the success of our students, who reached their goals, the transient life so many live, and LVW’s ebb and flow of student/tutor ratios.

 

Goal: Number of students who are progressing toward their literacy goal. – 75%

We feel that a goal of 75% is too low. Each student comes to the program with goals based on immediate needs.  We have seen that the tutor/student team establishes reachable outcomes that make it possible to achieve 100% of the goal over time. Our expectations for this UW goal are now at 100%

 

Goal: Tutor/Student Matches – 100%

Despite our intermittent imbalance of tutors and students, we have met this goal for all programs. The 1-to-1 and Community Lab programs set individual goals. The Family Literacy Program (FLP) has outlined specific goals that all parents/guardians strive to meet as follows:

  1. To become members of local libraries to access literature
  2. Read at home together 3-6 days weekly.

 

Goal: Family Literacy: Reading together at home 3-6 times weekly – 75%

Our data reveals that all LVW families are obtaining 100% of both specific FLP goals. While these goals are concrete and essentially simple to obtain their unique outcomes are highly valued by each family.

This is another indication that we need to raise our expectations.

Success Stories

Through LVW’s Family Literacy Program, Kelly and her tutor began working together the summer before her son, Barry, was entering 1st grade and daughter, Holly, was 3. Kelly wanted help at home to address Barry’s reading needs as presented by his kindergarten teacher; he hadn’t mastered the alphabet. LVW provided instruction and Wilson materials, a kinesthetic sounds/symbol program. Barry and his mom attended one-hour weekly summer sessions, where lessons were demonstrated for Kelly to use throughout the week. Barry began the first grade knowing all his letters and sound correspondents.

 

The tutor attended parent/teacher meetings with Kelly, building a strong support for Barry. Though he struggled through elementary school, he performed close to grade level with tutor assistance once or twice monthly. Kelly advocated for special services for her son, which initiated a 504, allowing adaptations he may need for Middle School testing.

 

Barry is now in 6th grade. In a recent phone message, Kelly reports, “Barry has made leaps and bounds from the beginning of 6th grade. Second quarter he received high honors for the first time! And continues to have a B average. ‘Smiley face’

 

This mom has maintained monthly tutor meetings providing her with continued guidance for both children. This summer, tutor sessions will be scheduled weekly as Holly is demonstrating reading comprehension difficulties in third grade. LVW has brought literacy into this home encouraging the family to engage in homework, family reading (mom and dad read with children nightly) and school progress. Most importantly, Kelly has learned to understand how to meet the needs of her family or to advocate for those needs.

 

The family read and continues to read at home nightly. Though Brian still struggles with reading, he developed and maintained.

More recently Kristy has talked about the anxiety both children have about doing things outside the home. We have addressed the idea of moving out of ‘your comfort zone. Haleigh has an allergy to nuts and other foods, which has made her fearful of foods, but has expanded to school in the morning. Kristy has had trouble getting either to attend activities outside of school. Kristy expressed a need to challenge her own ability to try new things, develop new s.

Working for 6 years  Brian is in middle school, daughter in 3rd grade.  Brian was not reading when they started. Helping all through elementary school in reading and math.  Now in middle school. Now has a 504 which is a law that provides for individualized supports and is doing well.  The daughter is reading well but not reading for meaning. Focusing on mother having conversations on comprehension.

Previous Year Actual Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
0 3750.0 0 0 7472 11222

Total Actual Expenditures: $19420

Current Year Budgeted Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
0 5000 0 0 18500 23500

Total Budgeted Expenditures: $23461

Anything remarkable about your program’s budget:

LVW is going through a transition of Treasurers. We are finding that our bookkeeping practices need clarifying for easier comprehension by board members who lack a financial background (ie. a Balance sheet)

LVW submitted a two year profit & loss statement to show when we are awarded other grants that do not coincide with our exact fiscal year, there can appear to show discrepancies in the budget. For example: LVW’s FY 2017-2018 P&L statement shows a loss. LVW’s FY 2016-2017 P&L statement shows a surplus. This is due to being awarded a large grant in April/May of 2017 and not spending the remainder of funds until the new fiscal year. 

Our Fidelity account is a reserve account for our scholarship program and “rainy day” needs.

 

 

 
What else you’d like reviewers to know:

We are an organization of individuals who are strongly engaged in our vision and mission. LVW members devote time, considered thought and financial support to that end.

The Board and Office Coordinator team have particularly enjoyed the hard work and diligence required to achieve our present success to expand LVW’s free and confidential literacy services to the greater Waterville area.

 

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