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NORTH COUNTRY LITERACY NEWS Published 3 times a year by Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties Fall 2012


Top from left: Madeline Cohen’s dynamic workshop; Nathalie Costa Thill, Director The Adirondack Center for Writing; Madeline Cohen, Education Director Symphony Space; Kathy Lupia (left) and Polly Sullivan (right), LV tutors. Bottom from left: Charlotte Colavin; Madeline with featured Broadway actors Charlotte Colavin, Kevin Craig West and Dawn Akemi Saito; Dawn Akemi Saito.

Nathalie Costa Thill, Director of The Adirondack Center for Writing, recently invited Literacy Volunteers of Essex, Franklin and Clinton Counties to participate in the premiere of Symphony Space‘s All Write! Program in the North Country. On November 8th adult literacy students, their tutors and community members attended a live performance by professional Broadway actors as part of a creative writing and adult literacy program. Dawn Akemi Saito, Kevin Craig West, and Charlotte Colavin performed dramatic readings of poems and short stories from authors and poets including Allen Woodman, Edgar Allan Poe, Wislawa Szymborska and Ted Kooser. This truly moving performance was just one step in the inspiring program. Prior to this performance, on September 25th, LV tutors participated in a creative writing workshop facilitated by Madeline Cohen, Education Director of Symphony Space, a multi-disciplinary performing arts center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan offering programs in theatre, film, literature, music, dance and family. The workshop provided training materials for tutors to help adult learners develop creative writing skills. Throughout the upcoming winter, our adult literacy students will create their own masterpieces mentored by The Adirondack Center for Writing and Symphony Space with the sole purpose of inspiring new creative writings for performance. Our student writings will be submitted to Symphony Space and, next spring, actors from ‗Selected Shorts‘ will return to the North Country to perform the works on stage in a public venue. We are fortunate and honored to be working with Nathalie, Madeline, the Broadway actors and Norma Menard, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County. We thank The Adirondack Center for Writing and Symphony Space for this extraordinary opportunity to give our students a voice! If friends or loved ones have reading problems, suggest they call one of our teaching sites: Port Henry 546-3008, Saranac Lake 891-5567 or Malone 483-9366. It could change their lives. Visit our website at

Board of Directors Doug Gallagher, President Monique Weston, Vice-President Suzanne Orlando, Secretary Bob Harsh, Treasurer James Bullard Kelly King Chris Lawrence Carol Leary Karen McGee Colin Miller Marjorie Miller Cheryl Schiller Tom Scozzafava Shirley Seney Dan Van Olpen

Staff Maria Burke, Director Alissa Beideck Mike Rotella Darlene Spinner Susan Tehon Sandra Woods

COMING EVENTS Fourth Grade Spelling Bee December 7, 6:30 pm, Chateaugay Town Hall Theater

LV Essex County Holiday Party! December 14, 3:00 pm, Port Henry Office

LV Franklin County Holiday Party! December 14, 5:30 pm, Malone Office

Annual Winter Scrabble Tournament Late January, 2013 Watch for updates on our facebook page and in your local news.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR NEW BOARD PRESIDENT I am honored to have been elected President of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties. My administrative experience is short, but I have been involved at the active level as a tutor for many years. I know our efforts enable many people to accomplish goals previously unimaginable to them. Our GED students achieve success where they would have failed without individual help. Our ESL students achieve linguistic skills and soon find themselves American citizens. Most of our basic literacy students may never read the literary classics, but they know the joy of recognizing a road sign, signing their own name on a document, or reading a food label in the market. The community benefits from their achievements and we glory in having helped them. Doug Gallagher Board of Directors President

Letters and Thoughts To Literacy Volunteers,

Our Wish for the Holidays!

Thank you for considering our foundation as a source of funding. We are pleased to inform you that our trustees have chosen to fund your grant request to support your Adult Literacy Programs. Enclosed is a check for $1,000. We appreciate the opportunity you have given us to improve the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park and look forward to hearing of your programs‘ success.

It‘s that time of year when everyone is thinking about what to be thankful for, what Christmas gifts to buy and where to spend the holidays. This season allows us to not only reflect upon the past year, but to create New Year‘s resolutions as well. Wherever you are, whoever you are with, and whatever your resolutions may be, Literacy Volunteers would like to extend our wish for a warm holiday season and joyful New Year.

Sincerely, Carol Pearsall, Secretary Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation 2

Sincerely, Maria Burke, Director Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties

„Tis The Season! With the holidays around the corner, don‘t forget to shop online and support Literacy Volunteers. If you click on the amazon link from our website,, we will automatically receive a percentage of any purchase you make.

And here's another easy way to raise money for your Literacy Volunteers. Just start using as your search engine and they'll donate a penny to us every single time you do a search! In addition, do all your shopping through their online shopping mall,, where you can shop at more than 2,600 top online retailers and a percentage of your purchases will go to Literacy Volunteers. You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to our cause! Finally, you can enroll in the GoodDining Program. Eat at over 10,000 participating restaurants nationwide and up to 6% of every dollar spent on the meal will go to LV. ‗Tis the season for giving indeed.

BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Chris Lawrence In back from the left: Joyce Lawrence (mother), Chris Lawrence, James Lawrence (father); In front from the left: Jacob and Malina Lawrence (son and daughter).

I began working with Literacy Volunteers back in May of 2011, when I was working on a mobile Digital Literacy program for Essex County. I was so grateful to LV for their generous donation of classroom space, internet service, and most important of all, students to teach computer skills to. I wanted to help Literacy Volunteers and Maria Burke by volunteering for any of the fundraising events I could attend. In August of last year I was able to volunteer for the presentation at Camp Dudley with featured speaker Ted Zoli. After that event I realized what a special organization Literacy Volunteers was to this area, and how lucky we are to have it. I was extremely honored to be asked to join the Board of Directors and truly hope I can help Literacy achieve its goals. I have a strong understanding of today‘s technology and love to show people how to use it. I have also spent the better part of decade in professional service sales so I hope to help with some of the fundraising challenges that face us in today‘s economy. I am truly excited about working with Literacy Volunteers and look forward to helping it expand its community reach as a critical organization in the North Country. Sincerely, Christopher Lawrence “Board Member Spotlight” is a new quarterly column dedicated to introducing individual Board Members and sharing their commitment to literacy education within our communities.

WELCOME, ALISSA Literacy Volunteers welcomes Alissa Beideck, our new AmeriCorps Volunteer, to our team! Alissa has a Bachelor of Science with a degree in Neuroscience, and a minor in writing from Saint Lawrence University. After graduating, she worked in Copenhagen, Denmark as an administrative assistant for the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. ―I am honored to be working as an AmeriCorps member for Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties.‖ said Alissa. ―As a native of Saranac Lake, I look forward to giving back to the community in which I grew up. I am inspired by the hard work and dedication I‘ve seen from staff, tutors, students and board members. It is obvious that great work has been accomplished and the demand continues. I am excited to contribute to this dynamic organization with such an important mission.‖ 3



Lake Placid: October, 2012; Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties held its Twelfth Annual Appreciation Dinner in Lake Placid. Friends of literacy gathered to celebrate and honor the educational efforts that students, tutors, staff and board of directors have achieved this past year. Gerald Barazza III (center), from Lake Placid, received the Student of the Year award for his hard work, consistency, and academic improvement, and Kathy Miner (right) was named Tutor of the Year for her dedication to teaching. Bob Harsh (left) received the Preston Miller Award for promoting and fulfilling Literacy Volunteers mission. The above achievements represent a small fraction of what our organization has achieved this past year. There are more success stories that were not announced during the evening, but they‘ve not gone unnoticed. Literacy Volunteers would like to thank each and every individual who helped make this year so successful.

Tri-Lakes: November, 2012; ―Where did the original Orient Express end?” This was just one of the challenging questions asked at Trivia Night, hosted by the Rotarians of Lake Placid on November 1st. This fun-filled evening tested the knowledge of more than a dozen teams of eight. The Literacy Bombers, led by our very own board member, Cheryl Schiller, took First Place followed by the Slick Sixth, who slipped to Second Place in the last round with the Fearless Forks coming in Third. Proceeds from the event will benefit Literacy Volunteers‘ adult literacy programs in the Tri-Lakes region and we are fortunate to have the support of this vital community club. Without groups like the Rotary Club, many local residents would not receive the assistance needed to further their education or develop skills to become an active community member. Pictured from left to right: Mary Johnson, Cheryl Schiller, Lisa Warner, Cynthia Gallagher, RoseAnn Hickey, Maureen Sayles and, in front, Bonnie Birk. P.S.— The correct answer is: Istanbul

“I Am From”


I am from a small town up north where there are complexes shaped like big circles with green in the middle I am from playing in the field with neighborhood kids to playing hide-and-go-seek in the basement screaming ―READY OR NOT, HERE I COME,‖ sometimes kids laughing or crying. I am from the frog state—Connecticut—and the birthplace of George W. Bush. I am from the time of rotary phones and blowing seeds of dandelions. I am from the month of September, to falling leaves and apple picking, and pumpkin sticking.

A poem by Emily Fortier

I am from the smell of corn, where you get lost in the maze to the scrapes from the husks that stay during the sunny days. I am from the smell of fresh laundry, good-cooked meals. From the bells of the ice cream truck and yummy ice cream shaped like a Tasmanian devil and Daffy Duck.



The New York Times crossword puzzle was done every Sunday in pen, and it could have absolutely NO write-overs. Center photo: Chuck Gibson, former LV Director, Sandra Woods, Buffy Marcil and Gale Benn.

Gale Benn was an incredible man who lived life to its fullest. His dedication to literacy began well before joining our efforts in the North Country, as a VISTA volunteer in the Bronx. There he supported Bronx Educational Services, an organization that still provides an array of educational programs. He was the author of many Olympic Guides and creator of High School Sports, a national magazine. In 2005, Gale became part of our LV family through the Adirondack Community Action Programs. A strong believer in literacy, he created North Country Literacy News, as a way to increase community awareness and publicity for our organization. Gale also launched our Literacy Volunteers Annual Report, an important communications vehicle that recognizes donors, highlights accomplishments and allows us to step back and reflect upon the fulfillment of our mission. In 2011, Gale received a special award for his hard work and dedication to Literacy Volunteers at the 11th Annual Appreciation Dinner in Lake Placid. He always kept us on our toes and stuck to publishing deadlines. More importantly, Gale loved his work and it was evident in every issue that was published. Furthermore, his goal to increase public awareness of illiteracy is fulfilled every time an issue is distributed through outreach opportunities, at presentations and events. He was kind, generous, always smiling, and had a great sense of humor. He always had and will continue to have an impact on our organization. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties in Gale's name. We extend heartfelt thanks to family, friends and our community for your generous donations in his honor. We could not have asked for a more perfect editor-in-chief, one who believed whole-heartedly in our literacy programs and the students we serve. Gale passed away on October 15, 2012 and is missed by the friends and family of Literacy Volunteers. Maria Burke, Director LVEF

BOUND FOR SUCCESS: NEW TUTOR TRAINING Literacy Volunteers hosted two 12-hour training sessions in Port Henry and Malone. Seven new volunteer-tutors had the opportunity to learn more about the adult learners we support – their coping mechanisms, learning preferences, strengths and much more. This training equips our tutors with tips, techniques and Port Henry: November 13, strategies to be implemented during a lesson. Thank 2012; from the left: Rick Hoffman, Mary Lavarnway, Alissa you for your willingness to improve the lives of individuals who wish to enhance their literacy skills! Beideck and Patricia Nelson. 5

Malone: November 14, 2012; from the left: James McIlhenny, Rachel Lopez and Kevin Yaddow.

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North Country Literacy News- Fall 2012  

North Country Literacy News - Fall 2012