About

Empowering Lives Through Literacy

We envision a future in which the power of literacy enables all adults to thrive in their communities.

Our Mission

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven (LVGNH) envisions a future in which the power of literacy enables all adults to thrive in their communities. Our mission is to foster partnerships with adult learners, tutors, and communities that enable individuals and families to achieve educational, career, and quality of life goals.

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven provides free tutoring to help adults improve speaking, reading and writing English. Volunteers tutor these adult students year-round in locations where they live and work.

We serve Greater New Haven, Meriden, Wallingford and the Valley towns. We tutor adult students from: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Derby, East Haven, Hamden, Meriden, New Haven, North Haven, Orange, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven and Woodbridge.

Our Founder

Elizabeth Gumbart, a current Cheshire resident, started Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven in 1975. It was officially incorporated in 1977.

Today, we are a non-profit [501(C)(3)] agency which serves about 1,000 adult students each year from the U.S. and more than 75 different countries. We recruit, train and support about 300 volunteers.

Literacy Volunteers is accredited by the national literacy association ProLiteracy. We are supported by Connecticut Department of Education funds, private foundations and community grants, as well as donations from individuals and businesses.

Literacy Volunteers is also part of a collaborative with New Haven Reads and Concepts for Adaptive Learning (Cfal) called the Literacy Resource Center located at 5 Science Park in New Haven. New Haven Reads provides free tutoring to youth and Cfal provides Digital Literacy to adults.

Our Team

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven’s professional staff draws on deep and diverse backgrounds in instruction and non-profit management. Not only does the staff focus on registering students who want to improve their skills in reading, writing and the English language, but also recruit and train the volunteer tutors who work one-to-one or in a small class under the staff’s continued guidance. This requires training for staff members in reviewing educational technology and teaching materials to ensure LV’s programs are up-to-date and broadly accessible.

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Louis Perno

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

With more than 40 years of experience in social service non-profit management, Louis is responsible for regional operation of organization.
T: (203) 776-5899

Erica Hoffman2

Erica Hoffman

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Responsible for the supervision of all Program Managers, tutor recruitment, screening, training and placement, student recruitment and partner site engagement, administration of database programs, and State Dept. of Education program facilitator, disability coordinator and LACES database administration.
T: (203) 285-2482​

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Kathleen McKenna

ESOL PROGRAM MANAGER, GREATER NEW HAVEN

Responsible for overseeing the ESOL program working with tutors, students, partner sites, and other community organizations in Greater New Haven and Gateway Community College sites.
T: (203) 285-2621

Denise Calabrese

Denise Calabrese

LITERACY PROGRAM COORDINATOR, MERIDEN/WALLINGFORD

Responsible for overseeing Basic Literacy and ESOL Programs with tutors and students from the Meriden/Wallingford area working with students, tutors, program sites and partner/community collaboration and responsible for data entry administration.
T: (203) 774-0722

I have been involved with Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven for a little over 10 years. My goal for the Meriden/Wallingford Literacy Volunteers Program is to place a book into each of our students’ hands and to help Literacy Volunteers tutors connect with their students to help them reach their goals. I look forward to watching our students succeed!

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Corinne Fucci

VALLEY REGIONAL LITERACY COORDINATOR

Responsible for Basic Literacy and ESOL Program working with tutors, students, collaboration with partner sites and other community organizations in the Valley region.
T: (203) 551-9831

Sarah

Sarah Elanaya

BASIC LITERACY PROGRAM COORDINATOR, NEW HAVEN

On staff since September 2022, responsible for Basic Literacy Program working with tutors, students, partner sites, and other community organizations in Greater New Haven.
T: (203) 776-5899

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Louise deCarrone

SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR

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Symone O’Hara

OFFICE MANAGER

Oversees the Greater New Haven office, providing administrative assistance, and supporting staff.
T: (203) 776-5899

Team Consultants

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Carlos A. Coriano

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT

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Rachel Heerema

DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT

Andrew Gilkes

Andrew Gilkes

IT CONSULTANT

Marcia L. Turner

Marcia L. Turner

BOOKKEPPER CONSULTANT

Certified Daily Money Manager (CDMM), Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)

Board of Directors

Leadership

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Betty Brumberg

PRESIDENT

Retired, (former Basic Literacy Program Manager, LVGNH)

This Agency means a lot to me because of our mission, which is to give our students the proper language skills to live their most fulfilling life possible. I remember my grandmother (who immigrated to the US when she was a young adult) sending me to the neighborhood store for her when I was little (8 or 9 years old) because she didn’t speak English well.

Dwayne W. Paul, Vice President

Dwayne W. Paul

VICE PRESIDENT

RCA Insurance, LLC Life, Health, Disability Insurance, & Retirement Planning

A few years ago, I got involved with Literacy Volunteers as a Tutor looking to help people with Literacy challenges. It was such a gratifying experience to help someone enhance the skills that many of us may take for granted. I was surprised, however, to learn how many people struggle with Literacy on a daily basis. As a board member, I have the opportunity to help Literacy Volunteers increase awareness throughout the community and reach as many people as possible. It is a privilege to serve on the board of such an exemplary organization.

Barbara Hedberg, Secretary

Barbara Hedberg

SECRETARY

ACES

I joined Literacy Volunteers last year because I was interested in being part of an organization that promotes literacy for everyone. I spent my career teaching children with disabilities and discovered quickly how much joy the students showed when they were able to read! As a lifelong reader I love the idea of sharing that love with everyone!

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Shantel J. Garcia

TREASURER

Innovative Consulting & Solutions

Members

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Nallely Costa

BOARD MEMBER

C Vanessa Clarke

Charlene Vanessa Clarke

BOARD MEMBER

Mental Health Counselor

Literacy Volunteers gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of adults who struggle with reading and other literacy skills. I feel honored I can meet so many different individuals and listen to and understand their experiences. Being a tutor means I am embarking on a journey that involves building trust, having patience, and being flexible and creative in your teaching style to help that student reach their personal literacy goals. It is rewarding to a student’s self-confidence to grow as they gain mastery of reading and conversational English skills.

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Alicia Riddick Dawson

BOARD MEMBER

M&T Bank​

Keith French

Keith French

BOARD MEMBER

Retired from The Hartford

IfeMichelle Gardin

IfeMichelle Gardin

BOARD MEMBER

The reason I serve on the board for Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven is that I believe in the core goals of the mission to help adults overcome obstacles and achieve their goals with the transformative power of reading, writing, and speaking English. I believe that the more Literate people are, the more empowered they are to pursue a productive life.

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Kai S. Perry

BOARD MEMBER

Cornell Scott Hill Health Center

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Holly K. Ludemann

BOARD MEMBER

Meriden Public Schools

As Program Director for the Meriden/Wallingford office of Literacy Volunteers for 6 years (2009-2015), I saw first hand the benefit we can afford our community with our most valuable resource – volunteers. As I continue to work in the Meriden community, I encounter people daily that could benefit from this vital service. I am pleased to be part of the organization’s board so that I can help support its mission.

Bonnie Morehead

Bonnie Morehead

BOARD MEMBER

South Central CT Regional Water Authority

My interest in being on the Literacy Volunteers Board is anchored to my equating reading as a passport to the world. Once I learned to read as a child, the world of hope and unrestricted opportunities were mine for the taking. As member of the Board, my hope is to pay it forward by helping others discover the power and art of reading.

Kirk Morrison

Kirk Morrison

BOARD MEMBER

Fair Haven Library (NHFPL)

My work in libraries over the past 15 years has highlighted just how important literacy is for all. Aside from the enjoyment of reading in leisure time, being able to access employment, social services, and stay up on current events and important information is critical for full participation in our society. I’ve seen the amazing and dedicated work of Literacy Volunteers tutors and staff to break down the barriers and stigma attached to lacking literacy. Their work helps build a thriving community and welcome newcomers to our area. I’m thankful to be a part of all those efforts.

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven stands with the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity to redress long overdue issues of social injustice and racial inequality and to promote a society that is fair and open to all.

About

Diversity • Inclusion • Equity

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven believes we must strive to make that vision of equality, social justice and inclusivity a reality for all our students. Underscoring that commitment is our continuing mission to empower students to find meaningful and fairly compensated jobs, as well as to achieve educational and personal goals. We also pledge to examine and strengthen our efforts to combat racism, and to ensure equitable access and opportunities for all those we serve, as well as the community at large.

We take inspiration from the late civil-rights leader, Congressman John Lewis, who for decades marched to his truth – bravely, sometimes bloodily, but always unforgettably – advocating for equality and justice not just for people of color, but for immigrants, the LGBTQ community and the economically disadvantaged. As his life ended, John Lewis continued to sound a clarion call for change. “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble,” he wrote in that remarkable essay.

Annual Reports

Our annual reports provide details of our program work and a list of our supporters. Download our most recent annual reports in PDF format below.