The Literacy Volunteers of Illinois (LVI) was incorporated in 1979 as an independent, self-supporting tax-exempt corporation. LVI was founded by the national Literacy Volunteers of America to serve as a mid-level support system for LVA-affiliated programs. Over the years, LVI evolved into a resource and training center for all literacy programs by providing a range of services to staff, tutors, and learners in five areas - Resource and Referral, Correctional Education, Public Information and Advocacy, New Reader Leadership, and National Service.
Resource and Referral Center
This Center serves as a clearinghouse for individuals interested in becoming or accessing the services of a volunteer tutor by connecting them with literacy programs in their communities. An up-to-date Volunteer Directory of adult literacy programs and their needs, services and location is maintained by LVI and can be accessed by clicking here. LVI also conducts through the Center two annual conferences for tutors, students and staff - a spring On The Road To Literacy Conference and Awards Presentation that is co-sponsored with the UIC Center for Literacy and a fall-student led conference, on behalf of the New Readers for New Life.
LVI is a leading organization within the national service movement and has through five different federal and state AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) programs engaged over 900 national service members in some 150 adult literacy, family literacy, and Head Start programs throughout the state. National service programs conducted by LVI include the VISTA Literacy Corps, Project UPLIFT (Urging Partnerships in Literacy Initiatives for Families and Teens), Project I-CARE (Involving Communities in America Reads Endeavors), and Project HEART (Hines Employees As Reading Tutors). LVI's current national service program, VOCAL*AmeriCorps (Volunteer Outreach for Community Action in Literacy) has 30 full, part, and minimum-time AmeriCorps members serving as Literacy Specialists in volunteer literacy programs throughout the state.
Being struck by the staggering low literacy rates among inmate populations, LVI began its work in correctional education by helping to develop volunteer programs in adult correctional centers. From these efforts sprung the Jump Start program, an intergenerational tutoring and mentoring effort that targets retirees, especially retired teachers, to serve as volunteer tutors to incarcerated youth. The Jump Start program currently serves youth residing in the Illinois Youth Centers located in Harrisburg, Kewanee, St. Charles and Warrenville. Volunteers of all ages are needed !
Advocacy and Special Events
To raise public awareness about adult literacy and generate new resources for literacy programs, LVI participates in numerous coalitions, commissions, and advisory councils at the local, state and national level. LVI also sponsors events throughout the year.
New Readers for New Life
As a learner-centered organization, LVI encourages students to be active participants in all phases of the learning process from choosing the materials they want to read to taking leadership roles within their programs. To bring this about, LVI provides consultation, training and administrative support to the statewide organization, New Readers for New Life, a network of past and current adult literacy students.