Literacy Volunteers Receive Grant from Verizon

NEWARK – A dollar a month may not seem like much, but it can go a long way to improving literacy skills in state and giving people the opportunity to succeed.

Thanks to Verizon telephone customers in New Jersey who participated in Verizon’s innovative Check Into Literacy Program, Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey (LVNJ) received a $4,000 grant to support its literacy programs. The funds will be used to pilot the new reading software, Think 60, with basic literacy students studying at LVNJ member program, the Jersey City Library Literacy Program.

The program allows Verizon landline telephone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy. Verizon then distributes these donations to local literacy organizations that serve the individual states the customers live in.

“We’re proud to work hand in hand with our customers on this critically important literacy initiative,” said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey. “Together we’re helping citizens in New Jersey, learn and be successful contributors to our state and nation as a whole.”

Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey is the only statewide, nongovernmental volunteer-based literacy organization in New Jersey. Based in Metuchen, the agency provides professional development, technical assistance, training, financial support and other services to a network of 20 community-based organizations in 18 counties.

Nationwide, about 32 million adults, or 14 percent of the population, have “very low” literacy skills, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In New Jersey almost 1 million adults over the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma. In the state’s urban school districts, between 40 and 60 percent of students drop out of school with reading levels well below ninth grade.

Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey was established in 1979 to support and promote quality adult education programs throughout the state. These organizations recruit, train, and match volunteers with adults who need to improve their basic reading, writing and math skills, or their ability to understand and speak English.

Last year 1,700 tutors provided more than 79,000 hours of free instruction in Basic Literacy (reading, writing, and math) or English for Speakers of Other Languages to more than 5,500 adults with limited literacy skills.

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