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 History

Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven (LV) has been educating adults in the region for 45 years. LV was established in 1975 by Founder Elizabeth Gumbart from Cheshire, CT, and other concerned civic leaders and incorporated as a nonprofit organization [501(C)(3)] in 1977.

Originally focused on the city of New Haven, Literacy Volunteers has grown over the years, merging with Meriden Literacy Volunteers in 1998 and then expanding to offer tutoring in the Valley – first in 1996 for a short period of time and then more permanently in 2010.

Today, Literacy Volunteers has trained over 5,000 volunteers who have, in turn, helped more than 20,000 adults across the region to understand, speak, read, and write American English.

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.

Lou_2022

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

REGIONAL 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

NEW HAVEN ESOL PROGRAM MANAGER

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

MERIDEN/WALLINGFORD PROGRAM SITE DIRECTOR

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 PROGRAM SITE DIRECTOR

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

NEW HAVEN BASIC LITERACY PROGRAM MANAGER

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

Staff_Symone

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

Meg Lenzzo

Meg Lenzzo

GRANT WRITER CONSULTATION

Draft and submit grant proposals to help secure funding, and supports development initiatives.
203-600-9287

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

Dwayne W. Paul, Vice President

Dwayne W. Paul

VICE PRESIDENT / TREASURER

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!

Members

C Vanessa Clarke

C. 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.

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.

Keith French

Keith French

BOARD MEMBER

Retired from The Hartford

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.

Charlene LVA

Charlene Blanchette Raube

BOARD MEMBER

I first became involved with Literacy Volunteers as a tutor in 2019. I was seeking greater involvement in my community, with an organization that had tangible, direct impact on those they serve and a mission I was excited to support. My great grandparents were immigrants, and my parents were raised in dual-language households, so I have always had an appreciation and respect for people who are transplanted and work so hard to thrive in a new home. Somewhat selfishly, I thought being a literacy volunteer was also a great fit given my love of words, reading and language! But little did I know I would also be a beneficiary of the human connections and empowerment that LVGNH enables. LVGNH does impressive and effective work in our communities that I am honored to be a part of.

Kai Perry

Kai S. Perry

BOARD MEMBER

Cornell Scott Hill Health Center

“I find passion in giving back to the community for which I serve and strongly trust that nonprofit organizations are integral to bringing light to societal issues by drawing public attention to the issues our community is faced with. I have a long-time interest in helping those in my community build confidence in themselves by improving their language and comprehension skills to fine tune their communication, which in turn boosts their self-esteem.”

Norma Barash

Norma Barash

BOARD MEMBER

Retired, (former Tutor, LVGNH)

My heart and my passion has always been with speakers of other languages. When I think about what members of my family and other families go through for more and better opportunities I feel so fortunate for this legacy. It’s an honor to be able to give back. I only hope that the students in my classes over the years have gotten as much from the experience as I have derived from connecting with them. I am grateful to be a part of an organization, whose mission is to help people grow and learn through literacy.

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Cynthia Ostroff

BOARD MEMBER

Jo-Ann Williams

JoAnn Williams

BOARD MEMBER

Naomi Shiloh

Naomi Shiloh

BOARD MEMBER


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.

Contact Us

We welcome you to contact us for more information. For general inquiries, please use the form below.

Interested in Volunteer opportunities? Please visit Volunteer .

Students interested in improving their literacy or math skills, please visit Students.

Interested in joining our team as a Board Member? Please visit Become a Board Member.