Lives Through the Written Word
30, 2013 - Students, tutors and a local reporter were the
stars of the evening when Literacy Volunteers of Greater Sanford
held its annual dinner at the Sanford Town Club on Wednesday,
here tonight to celebrate how our programs changes our students
lives, LVGS Executive Director Ingrid Baily announced
to more than 85 guests at the start of the evening.
President Geoff Titherington, his fellow board members and
literacy volunteers presented several awards throughout the
event that highlighted student achievement and the efforts
of others to promote reading and other skills throughout the
Vice President John Rivard presented the organizations
Special Service Award to board member Jeanne Mahoney, whose
commitment he praised as unwavering.
Tutor David Joy and his student, Kiefer Smalley, received
the Student-Tutor Pair of the Year Award. Joy spoke highly
of Smalley, who was unable to attend the dinner because he
had to work. Joy is helping Smalley with his math literacy
as Smalley works his way to his GED.
like to praise Kiefer a lot, Joy said. For everything
that I teach him, I get that much back from him.
tutor and volunteer Linda Gulnac proved an appropriate choice
for the next award that LVGS presented the Linda B.
Gulnac Volunteer Award. Gulnac, who last year was the first
recipient of the newly created recognition, this year had
the honor of bestowing it upon longtime tutor Ann St. Cyr.
Cyr, a former teacher for SAD 60, has taught literacy skills
to students since the late 1980s. Gulnac said St. Cyrs
LVGS students have benefitted for years from her zeal
and zest for learning and literacy.
the award, St. Cyr called LVGS a blessing in her life
something that came along in 1986, right when she was stepping
away from teaching at school due to hearing issues at the
young age of 48. Days later, St. Cyr told the Sanford News
that she is glad for the chance to volunteer at LVGS and to
work with the students and the people she has met.
love that you can teach one-on-one, she said. Some
people need to have it. I enjoy that very much about the literacy
Richard Laitres and his tutor, Michael Colpoys, were presented
with the Student Achievement Award and the Denis Forest Tutor
accepting his award, Laitres said that his increasing literacy
skills have led him to explore his love of history and to
bring his grandchildren to the library for story times so
that they too can grow to appreciate books.
board member Jean Mahoney presented Colpoys with his award,
named after the late longtime tutor Denis Forest. Mahoney
hailed Colpoys as the embodiment of the qualities that
Denis shared in his tutoring.
when accepting his award, Colpoys spoke with passion and enthusiasm
about his partnership with Laitres.
developed an amazing relationship, Colpoys said.
stated that he helped Laitres learn to use the dictionary,
and that they have read such classics as Journey to
the Center of the Earth and The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn together.
added that Laitres became interested in researching history
when they started reading A Tale of Two Cities.
The two men started watching programs on the History Channel
and surfing on the Internet to learn about the chapter of
history during with the Dickens class takes place. The two
of them are now reading The Killing of Lincoln,
which has prompted even more historical research.
no longer about the book, he said. Its about
board member Ellen Pouravelis presented the Tutor Recognition
Award to Gladys Barraclough and Anita Daigle. Fellow board
member Shawn Sullivan presented the Literacy Supporter Award
to Journal Tribune Reporter Tammy Wells for her years of dedication
to writing stories about LVGS students, staff, programs
particular, Sullivan mentioned stories that Wells has written
that have depicted the achievement of LVGS students over the
have to wonder ... how many people heard about these stories
these examples of courage and growth and happiness
and decided that their time had come, that they too
could learn to read and expand their horizons and never look
back? Sullivan said. If you read Tammys
articles about LVGS, you see that she gets it. She knows why
were all here and what were all trying to do.
Shes a part of it.
accepted the award and paid tribute to the hard work of the
students and others involved with LVGS.
during the event, Baily recognized the Sanford-Springvale
Rotary Club, which last winter served as a major sponsor of
the annual LVGS trivia-night fundraiser and continues to support
the organizations Books and Blockbusters
program. The concept of Books and Blockbusters
is for students to see a movie and then read the book on which
the film is based, with the idea being that memories of the
movie will be a wind at their backs as they work
through the book. The group members started meeting last fall
and decided on Louis Sachars Holes for their
first movie and book. The group went to see The Portland Players
production of Arsenic and Old Lace in February
and is currently reading the script out loud together.
annual dinner had a nice surprise too two guests, who
are taking part in LVGS literacy program at the Southern
Maine Re-Entry Center (SMRC) in Alfred, asked to address the
audience and thank the organization for the difference it
has made in their lives.
this program, LVGS volunteers are offering one-on-one tutoring
to female residents at the center, which is a low-security
facility of the Maine Department of Corrections that is located
on the grounds of the York County Jail in Alfred. LVGS tutors
are helping women who have volunteered to take part in the
program with reading, writing, math, and computing. Their
lessons are fitted to each students goals, such as preparing
to take the GED test, improving literacy skills for the workplace,
helping children with homework, and other tasks of daily living.
Police Chief Thomas Connolly served as the nights guest
speaker and emphasized the importance of literacy in overcoming
poverty and lives of crime.
is learned, Connolly said. Illiteracy is passed
along to children by parents who cannot read or write. If
we could reduce the illiteracy rate bt just 20 percent
just 20 out of 100 imagine the good that will result.
But its not just 20 out of 100 because literate adults
will teach their kids to be literate, who will teach their
kids, who will teach their kids. Its exponential.
cited statistics showing the impact that not being able to
read has on individuals, namely those who have fallen into
criminality and find themselves in and out of prison.
can see illiteracy and poverty are connected, he said.
Most jobs require at least average reading skills. Illiteracy
may prevent a person from obtaining a job and eliminate any
chance of escaping poverty. No job no money. No money,
no ability to achieve. No ability to achieve leads to hopelessness.
Hopelessness leads to desperation. Desperation frequently
leads to substance abuse. Substance abuse leads to criminality.
might be simplistic, Connolly suggested, but he asked the
audience to imagine what would happen if the government could
be convinced to start directing more funds on teaching children
if our goal is to have 90 percent of our children reading
at grade-level? he asked. Is that achievable?
I think it is.
a higher level of literacy lead to a higher high school graduation
it reduce the number of people in poverty?
it drastically cut the number of kids involved in the criminal
it lower the teen pregnancy rate?
it save some of the ... $73 million in direct health care
think it would ...
solution to this is a community-based effort, Connolly
said. We all have to be involved."