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Learning in Action at the University of Virginia

Virtual Tutoring: Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle

By: 
Michelle Abban

Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle (LVCA) provides one-on-one, confidential tutoring in basic literacy and English as a second language to adults living or working in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. This service is provided by compassionate and enthusiastic volunteer tutors. Read on to hear more about the program and how you can get involved.

What is the primary mission of Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle (LVCA)?

Volunteer tutor with student in officeLVCA was founded in 1983 by the director and staff of the Charlottesville Adult Education Center, who identified a need for an “adult readers program” for the area. Over the last 40 years, the mission has remained the same to support adult education.

LVCA provides one-on-one reading, writing, and English language tutoring to adult learners. We support our students in achieving their goals to become integrated members of our community. Most of our students of non-native English speakers (refugees and immigrants), but we also serve many native English speakers who had to leave school or had learning disabilities that made continuing school difficult.

How can UVA students get involved?

We are looking for dedicated volunteer tutors to work with our learners. We have a growing waitlist of students eager to meet with a tutor.

Volunteers meet with their students every week for two hours. We ask for a one-year commitment to provide a sense of structure and routine. The tutoring relationship is student-centered, so students learn information that is most relevant to their lives. Volunteers are the backbone of the organization; their work with the student is invaluable.

What training is involved in volunteering with LVCA?

Volunteer with student in officeCurrently, our training is online and consists of three two-hour Zoom sessions with asynchronous work between sessions. Training is concluded with a match meeting with our program director to have the most successful pairing possible. The goal of the training is that you would be prepared and confident to tutor your student.

How has LVCA’s work adapted during the pandemic?

The most significant change has been online tutoring. Many tutor pairs meet online or use a hybrid format depending on their comfort level. As an organization, we adapted our programming online and worked to create resources to help tutors with the transition.

Michelle Abban
About the Author: 

Michelle Abban is the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for LVCA. She is a recent UVA grad (Class of 2020) where she majored in Global Public Health. She enjoys learning about other cultures, cooking, and dance.