Letter from the Executive Director

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Greetings,

When COVID-19 hit and we pivoted to all virtual platforms, one of our students said to their instructor, “You light our path of darkness.” Amid so much uncertainty and unanticipated change, this expression fueled our collective commitment to continue delivering the best programming we could in service to our dedicated and ambitious learners. On September 1st, LCNV proudly gathered for our 59th Annual Recognition Ceremony to celebrate our learners from the past year who have inspired us with their focus and determination. We heard student essays on the theme for the year, “Learning Lights My Path Forward” and as always, we were honored to have the chance to recognize our incredible instructors and thank our dedicated volunteers, donors, and board members at this year’s first in-person gathering at the James Lee Community Center in over a year.  We are so thankful to everyone in the community who has helped us become the organization we are today.

Over the summer, staff worked tirelessly along with our community partners, instructors, and volunteers to organize and offer 12 in-person classes and 10 online classes as well as free supplemental tutoring to over 500 adult learners. Classes have started both online and in-person for the fall and we have been thrilled to finally see our learners and instructors back in our classrooms for a new semester, physically and virtually. So many have pitched in to help us offer as many classes as possible, without going over capacity so we can provide a safe space for our students to learn. Those who haven’t been vaccinated or don’t have transportation can take one of our online classes. Although our virtual classes have improved and expanded over the past year, proving to be quite successful, nothing can replace being in the same room together without a screen between us. Earlier in October, staff had the chance to spend the day together in Annapolis, reconnecting after so long thanks to one of our generous donors who provided funding for the trip, which included a boat ride on the Chesapeake Bay. We have an exceptional team at LCNV and I’m so excited to see what we’ll accomplish together over the next few months and beyond!

As the leaves change colors and fall along with the temperature, autumn reminds us that change is an inevitable part of life. While some things may not always work out how we expect them to, it’s important to be optimistic about the future and actively search for ways to improve our lives and reflect on what we are thankful for. It is also the time of year to think of others, especially those less fortunate. My heart goes out to those affected by current events, from the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan and the massive fires devastating California to the spread of COVID-19. Even though there may not be a way to change what has happened in the past, we can always aim for a better tomorrow. Over the next few months, we will continue to seek out new and creative ways to make our classes more accessible and provide our adult learners with the tools and support they need to advance in life and become active members in the community. We look forward to providing the best learning environment possible for our learners and seeing what goals they accomplish this year!

In this newsletter, we’ll highlight special moments from the last few months from our Annual Recognition Ceremony to the Historical Marker Unveiling Ceremony at the James Lee Community Center as well as a link to our Annual Program Book that includes student essays from the year. Then, we’ll talk about our latest addition to our Destination Workforce Program®, The English for Food Service class that was developed for restaurant employees in partnership with Alexandria Restaurant Partners. Finally, you’ll learn about upcoming important dates and opportunities, including the best ways to give this holiday season and how you can support our LCNV’s mission. Your support helps us grow and thrive during these difficult times and words cannot express our appreciation enough. As the days grow colder and shorter, my hope is that you will all prioritize self-care and find joy in the little things, whether it be lounging inside with a good book and a hot cup of tea, spending quality time with family and friends, or taking a peaceful walk through the woods to appreciate the beauty of fall.

Best Wishes,

Roopal Saran