Welcoming. That is what I think of when I consider 60 years of LCNV teachers who forge relationships with our new neighbors who have only just arrived to Northern Virginia. That is what I think of when I imagine a learner coming to classes this far into the semester and seeing familiar faces of people they can now call friends. I continue to be so proud of the welcoming community that is LCNV, where this semester, we have more than 600 students studying with us, split almost equally between virtual and in-person classes.
Back in January, LCNV held a virtual meeting with senior personnel from the U.S. Department of Education who were eager to hear LCNV’s best practices regarding our online welcoming and training of Afghan newcomers to the Northern Virginia area. In attendance was the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), the Deputy Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition, the Special Assistant for OCTAE, and the Education Program Specialist with the Office of English Language Acquisition. From the federal level to community-based literacy organizations like ours, a significant emphasis is being placed on how to be most inviting to those who have newly arrived in the area, with a focus on helping them become self-sufficient and important contributors to our community. We were pleased this semester to start two new Beginning English classes, one in partnership with Global Shout at Mason at VanDorn, an apartment complex in Alexandria that is housing many Afghan families, and another in the city of Falls Church in partnership with Welcoming Falls Church.
Last month, we held our 4th Annual A Taste of Literacy Fundraising Breakfast. We enthusiastically welcomed those who attended this event in person (the event was virtual the last two years) and were especially honored by the presence of Congressman Connolly, State Delegates Marcus Simon & Mark Keam, and representatives from Senator Warner’s and Kaine’s offices. We thank LCNV Board Member Paul Byrne for his reflection on LCNV’s history, our community partner Ivana Escobar from United Community, and most of all, our student speakers, Abdul Halim and Elizabeth, who welcomed each of us into their personal narratives about how learning English has changed their lives.
As we have come to understand that our virtual programs are here to stay for the foreseeable future, we have realized that additional staff is necessary to create a more permanent online registration system in addition to continuing to develop high quality programming that is signature to LCNV. We are pleased to welcome new staff members Eiman Nimer, Student Intake and Data Assistant, and Juan Perez, Student Services Coordinator, to our mighty team!
We welcome you to celebrate LCNV’s 60th Anniversary with us at our Annual Recognition Ceremony on June 21. Click here to share your fondest memories of LCNV. With these memories, we look back at our history while inspiring all to dream about what we can accomplish together in the future. We know that we will continue to welcome newcomers and friends into our fold for a long time to come.
Roopal Mehta Saran, Executive Director