The end of the year is a time for celebrating achievements, reflecting on things we learned, as well as making plans for next year. To commemorate the holiday season, LCNV staff members spent time last week volunteering together by packing bags of food for Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center’s Food Bank that distributes them each week to those in need in the community (see our pictures here!). It was an honor to work side by side with our friends at Dar Al-Hijrah, where we teach our Intensive English class four days a week, and to contemplate and be thankful for all that can happen when organizations work together to build strong programs in this community. At this special time of the year, we especially want to give enormous thanks to all that made a commitment throughout this year making our programs possible and our community stronger.
This year, our efforts are rewarded by wonderful memories and stories with our students. Jackie, teacher of the Level 3 class at Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center, organizes “birthday nights” once a month to celebrate students who are having birthdays that month. On her birthday this November, students in her class organized a surprise party for her, bringing cakes, pizza, and all sorts of food to repay Jackie’s kindness for everything she has done. What made us excited is not just the surprise party itself, but also how the students of different languages and backgrounds came together to plan, coordinate, and organize to make this happen.
At LCNV, we cannot stress enough that, being unable to speak English does not only mean not being able to communicate with people around you - there are life-hindering issues associated with the inability to communicate. English, as a survival skill, is the foundation to access resources critical to life, such as talking to doctors, understanding notes or emails from your child’s teachers, and sharing needs at work with supervisors. Learning English is empowering- beyond the ability to communicate with people, it also gives one the confidence to negotiate at work, and opens the door to a whole community that can provide love, care, and life-improvement opportunities.
2020 is America’s 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote. By empowering individuals with literacy skills, more individuals can express their opinions and have their voices heard, making this right significantly more meaningful. As we look into the coming year, we would like to focus on what we want to change, and what we can do to make those changes happen. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, first time LCNV donors will be matched, and donation increases from current supporters will also be matched (up to $2,000)! Please consider giving this holiday season - your support will make it possible to keep serving a community of nearly 1,500 learners from 95 different countries speaking 50 different languages across the 450 square mile area of Northern Virginia. LCNV wishes you happy holidays and looks forward to the positive changes we can create together in the coming year.
With my deepest gratitude and best wishes for a prosperous new year,
Roopal Mehta Saran