Volunteer-Based Organizations Dedicated to Education

It’s hard to believe that it’s “back to school time” – for students of all ages. So as children and adults head back to the classroom, let’s take this opportunity to salute the many, and varied, educational programs made possible by the dedicated work of our neighbors and friends in Middlesex County. Through partnerships with the Community Foundation, these volunteer-based organizations help improve the quality of life for young and old. Here are two examples of how great things can be accomplished through a collective effort.

For the past nine years, Bill’s Seafood Restaurant, a Connecticut shoreline landmark, has hosted a fundraising golf tournament to support scholar-athletes from Westbrook, Clinton, Old Saybrook and Valley Regional High School. The September golf tournament is a way for owners and staff to show their overwhelming gratitude for the area’s long standing support, and to help local students pursue higher education through financial assistance. Selected by a volunteer committee, award recipients are a graduating male and female student from each of the four high schools, who has demonstrated positive character, leadership and good citizenship qualities; has participated in their school sports program; and has plans to attend a four-year, junior college, business or vocational school. To date, the Bill’s Seafood Golf Tournament Athletic Scholar Fund has awarded over $97,000 to local graduates. It’s a great partnership: the Community Foundation established and manages the Fund, so Bill’s volunteers can focus on running the tournament and giving back to the community that means so much to them. Together, everyone wins.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) has been tending to the shoreline’s adult education needs (specifically, learning English as a second language and adult basic education) for the past 36 years. Since they began, LVVS has worked with more than 700 tutors and reached more than 1,000 students. While those numbers are impressive, the need is not diminishing. According to the National Assessment on Adult Literacy, there are more than 14,000 adults who lack the life and work skills necessary to attain and maintain meaningful employment here in the Valley Shore area. To serve the growing wait list, LVVS depends on volunteer tutors who are willing to complete a certification program. After completing a three-month training program, tutors are assigned a mentor who is selected from the workshop leader corps. Together, teacher and mentor prepare lesson plans; conduct skills assessments of the student; and set, meet, and even exceed learning goals. LVVS works to keep costs low, and grant funding through the Community Foundation helps with the purchase of training materials and to run training sessions. The Community Foundation is proud to support LVVS and ensure adults have the tools and skills to succeed.

We are grateful for the opportunity to help so many businesses, organizations, and individuals “pay it forward” by giving a helping hand to those looking to broaden their knowledge and life skills. It is a very real and impactful way to make a difference in someone’s life today and well into the future. We invite you to learn more by calling us at 860-347-0025 or emailing us at info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org.

 

This article was previously published in September, 2015,  in both the Valley Courier and the Harbor News.

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