DONATIONS in HONOR of ANNE O’CONNELL’s RETIREMENT

 

 

 

In honor of Anne’s outstanding contributions and leadership of Literacy Unlimited over the last 8 years, we are giving you the option to donate, in her name, to the Literacy Unlimited of Framingham Foundation.  

Money donated will be used to support the Literacy Unlimited mission to provide instruction in both English as a foreign language for English adult language learners and Adult Literacy for adult learners.

 

You can donate in two ways:

1. Write a check, please made payable to Literacy Unlimited of Framingham Foundation, Inc. and mail to:

           

            Literacy Unlimited / Attn:  K. Boudreau

            Framingham Public Library

            49 Lexington Street

            Framingham, MA    01702

 

2. Donate online, please use the "Donate" button on this page.

 

                Donations will be accepted until November 20, 2020.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of Literacy Unlimited, a program that Anne enthusiastically led for many years and continues to be dedicated to.

If you have questions, contact kboudreau@minlib.net

 

                                                                         All contributions are tax deductible.

                          Literacy Unlimited of Framingham Foundation, Inc. is a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) Public Charity

                                                                                    (EIN 81-5258140)

 

 

 

 

Help Fill Our Basket!

Hello friends!  Hope that you and your family are well during this unbelievable time!  As you can see, I am enjoying some time in my backyard with the flowers and the ferns. Watching spring unfold so slowly was beautiful to observe and I hope that the rest of the summer will be the same.

As current tutors and donors, I wanted to give you an update on Literacy Unlimited.  This message has turned into a long ramble but bear with me!

 

After we closed our office and stopped all in person activities on March 13th, we rolled out new ideas and challenged ourselves to continue our important work virtually. We made a conscious decision to focus attention on the tutors; if the tutors can continue to work, the students will benefit.

 

We decided to use Zoom as our major application and got an upgraded account to allow for longer meetings.  Zoom is great because we can see each other and judge by facial expressions how the presentation is being received. It’s not quite face-to-face but it works well for get-togethers during this time.

 

Having Zoom has allowed us to:

Hold weekly Staff meetings for the all-important planning;
Attend webinars on remote teaching and learning from different literacy associations;
Host two tutor meetings a week:

                 §  Tuesday, we concentrate on Technology issues and present many different options for tutoring;

                 §  Thursday, we converse – many different topics, ideas, “what I learned this week”, the plans for the Library and Literacy re-opening and news from different tutors and students;

Establish conversation classes for our students. We have been able to hold 6 virtual conversation classes in Framingham and 5 in Natick (down from 20 when we had classrooms in the libraries!) and
Continue to hold the Saturday Citizenship class!

 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without excellent communication.  We started the pandemic by sending the email newsletter, “Newsy” weekly (we recently cut back to bi-weekly).  Thank-you Karen Boudreau, Office Manager for excellent content and writing! And we have been updating our website with ideas, notices, surveys and photos.  Thank-you Liehua Shi, Database and Webpage Manager!  We are also keeping up with our commitments to Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts by collecting and inputting all the tutoring hours – thank-you Marjie Solomon for your help!  I invite you to check our website pages ( https://framinghamlibrary.org/literacy/our-program/ ) to read a copy of Newsy and keep up with our progress.

 

Our numbers took a big whack in March. Together, our staff and tutors needed to learn a whole new way of connecting with each other. Today, our tutors may not be meeting as often or for as long but, they are still staying in touch with their students – by phone, snail mail, Face Time, WhatsApp, Google classroom, and / or Zoom.  They are using interactive worksheets and holding virtual dialogues with their students.  They are watching Ted Talks and writing paragraphs that they share. 

And now, our efforts are starting to show results!  Our tutoring hours and conversation class hours are starting to climb.  We like to think that this change is due to all our hard work -- the weekly tutor meetings that we hold and the individual coaching on the use of Zoom and digital learning tools.

 

We have not forgotten the students during this time. We have reached out to them by email several times and will soon be using text to communicate from the office.  We do know that many of our students are working – in grocery stores, nursing homes, and transportation roles.  Many are at home with children who can no longer go to school and require at least some home schooling.  Others are afraid and struggling to find information about COVID-19, unemployment insurance, and food security benefits.  Karen called it “the perfect storm” – you are an essential worker during a pandemic, you don’t speak English very well (and now you wear a mask!), you are home-schooling your children, you don’t have a computer or wifi, and you are worried about lay-offs.  The challenges are huge.

 

Recently, we surveyed our student population and received responses from about 10% so far.  Among other things, we have learned that our students would benefit from more conversation class options, more evening options and so we are working to bring more conversation class leaders online to be more responsive to our students.  We have already decided that in-person conversation classes will not resume until September at the earliest.

 

LVM Literacy Unlimited is STILL the adult tutoring program at Framingham and Natick Public Libraries but we are definitely operating in a different way during this pandemic. Students can’t find us; new tutors can’t find us.  And tutor training is on pause until we modify the training to become virtual.  Sadly, we were not able to hold our fundraiser, May Raffle Baskets. Each year, we work hard to present a variety of baskets at Framingham and Natick libraries with raffle tickets to be purchased.  We raised almost $7000 last year which is a big part of our annual budget. 

 

When the pandemic first started, I didn’t realize how much our finances would be affected.  All the different parts of our budget have or will be affected.  And, I honestly felt that so many other worthwhile organizations needed more help than we did.  My mind was changed when I participated in Immigrants’ Day at the State House, presented virtually by MIRA (MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition).  

 

One of the speakers very eloquently talked about “language-based marginalization” -- this is the problem that we are fighting at Literacy Unlimited.  The work that we do is so important -- helping our students navigate this storm and meeting the many other challenges they face. Long-term, by helping our students to read and speak better English, we are giving them the tools to become better participants in today’s society.

 

I hope that you will consider making a donation to Literacy Unlimited to help offset the loss of the May Basket fundraiser.  Surprisingly, I am now able to go into the library to retrieve mail – so checks (made payable to Literacy Unlimited of Framingham Foundation, Inc. and mailed to 49 Lexington Street, Framingham , MA, 01702) are fine.  If you prefer to donate online, please use the Donate button on this page.

 

I thank you for your continued interest and support.  We know that the next few months will be difficult as we re-imagine our tutoring program and our spaces at the libraries. Be well, Anne

 

 

Anne O'Connell, Coordinator

 

 

December 2019

Each year at this time, we ask for your donations.  In addition to grant funding, our program depends on the generous contributions of individuals. Let's make 2020 a great fundraising year!

Donations may be made by check (payable to Literacy Unlimited of Framingham Foundation Inc.). Please mail check to LVM Literacy Unlimited, Framingham Public Library, 49 Lexington Street, Framingham, MA 01702.

Online donations may be made by clicking the Donate button just below.  If you would like a copy of the End-of-Year Appeal letter, please contact the office.

In advance, I thank you for your generosity!

Page 1 of Literacy Appeal letter