LCNV advances education equity for those who need it the most. While there are strong intermediate and advanced programs existing at public schools and community colleges, LCNV uniquely focuses on beginning level English language students. Without LCNV, these students (80% of whom do not make a living wage), would be cut off from improving their lives through education. LCNV focuses on best practices in teaching adults with low language and literacy skills, teaching civics as well as workplace skills to 1,500 each year. LCNV developed its workplace program, Destination Workforce®, which works in partnership with local businesses, offering adults beginning-level English language and literacy classes, and an on-ramp to career pathways. With English skills, adult learners can gain a foothold in the workforce, obtain better jobs, or move on to higher-level learning. With English skills, adult learners can more effectively participate in their children’s education and social development. With English skills, adult learners can gain U.S. citizenship and become actively engaged in our community.
The greatest evidence of success can be seen in the changes that it makes in the lives of the learners. No quantitative measures can replace the realization of hopes and dreams that our learners feel from their academic achievements. Heba is just one adult who receives instruction from LCNV. Her story exemplifies how LCNV can help adult learners fulfill their hopes and dreams by improving their English language and literacy skills.
“My name is Heba Al Bashiereh. I am from Jordan. My mother language is Arabic and my religion is Islam. I came to Virginia with my beautiful family ten years ago. I am the mother of three kids. I have one daughter named Hejan and two sons named Elaf and Ahmad. When I came to Virginia, I faced many struggles, such as speaking the English language. I was very shy and less confident in myself because I didn’t know how to speak English. When I was going to meet my kids’ counselors or their teachers or their doctor, I didn’t know how to speak English. When I went to shop, I didn’t know how to speak English to ask about prices or to speak with a cashier. When I watched the news, I had a hard time understanding what’s going on around me. When I rode the Metro bus, I didn’t know how to communicate with the driver. I registered in many branches of churches, NOVA in Alexandria and James Lee Center [LCNV] in Falls Church to learn the English language.
First of all, learning English improved my life skills in speaking, reading and writing. After that, I increased the confidence in myself by doing those things. In 2011 I got a driver’s license. I became an American citizen five years ago. Next, learning English improved my knowledge and thoughts on how to understand other cultures and religions in my community. I have new friends from other countries and share my experiences with friends to get new positive knowledge from the people who live around me in my community. I tried food from different countries and shared food from my country. Also, learning English improved my life experience on how to help people to find a job and to encourage the people to register for English language class at their kid’s school or other centers as James Lee Center to improve their English. Then to help them understand the manual of the driver’s license by studying and to take them to the DMV or to help them become American citizens. In addition, learning English improved my life skills like how to practice my American rights by the law. I answer other people’s questions when they ask me what Islam means such as why do I have to cover my head with a beautiful scarf and wear a nice long dress. I can answer other questions about my religion.
In conclusion, I got a lot of experience from my new life in Virginia like: how to open a bank account and deposit my money, pay my bills by smartphone, apply for a job, buy things I need online, and search for a new apartment when I need to move. I learned many things that can build my skills, thoughts, experiences, relationships, and knowledge. I can be a strong lady before the struggles. Actually, learning English was a really big challenge, but I succeeded. I love my life."