Celebrating the Power of Volunteers

English as a Second Language Tutors

Over 75 people attended Vita’s Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 27 at Spring Mill Manor. It was a celebration to recognize Vita’s literacy, ESL and Decisions tutors; office volunteers; and Vita’s volunteer Board of Directors for their hard work dedication, and commitment to making a real difference in the lives of our students, their families, and our community.

Literacy Tutors

Vita’s three tutoring coordinators each introduced their programs and Vita Voices relating to them. Vita Voices is an ongoing project that celebrates the lives of Vita’s vibrant community of students, tutors, teachers, and staff. The stories, told though their own voices, offer powerful insights into their dreams, struggles, and accomplishments. Vita’s valued tutors have been instrumental in this effort, volunteering to be recorded interviewing their students.

A Fond Farewell

After eight years at Vita, preceded by 40 years in secondary education, Peggy Blanco has retired from teaching at Vita. Over the years, Peggy had been both an English as a Second Language and a language arts/social studies GED instructor. With an unwavering dedication to helping students achieve their goals, Peggy has been a true inspiration to hundreds of students. Her grateful students presented her with a handmade commemorative artwork piece with their thumbprints as leaves on a tree, inscribed “May you be proud of the work you do, the person you are, and the difference you make.” Peggy certainly has made a difference in countless lives and she will be missed by students, teachers, and staff alike.

Transitioning to a Better Life

Decisions For Change (DFC), our cognitive skills program for adults on probation and parole, was recently evaluated. Results showed that six months after DFC, 56% of those who completed the course had their cases successfully closed compared to only 29% of those who did not complete it. Read All About It

Celebrating the Faces of Success

Teachers and students celebrated students’ achievements at Vita’s year-end ceremony.

Doylestown, PA (August 27, 2018) Vita hosted a gathering of students, tutors, and teachers from the Literacy Tutoring and High School Equivalency programs to recognize and honor student and volunteer achievements during the past academic year. Over 100 people attended the celebration held at Bensalem Library on August 18.

Kathy White, Director of Literacy & High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs, welcomed the crowd and set the theme for the event, which was a celebration of the faces of success. Attendees included students and their proud families and friends as well as Vita tutors, teachers and staff members. Kathy honored the students, paying tribute to their courage, dedication, and hard work, noting the many challenges faced by adult learners.

Also attending were U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa 8th District)
and State Representative Gene DiGirolamo (PA House Distrcit 18), pictured here with Vita staff.

Adriana Cansino was the featured speaker. Adriana began her studies at Vita as an ESL student and progressed through the Family Literacy and then High School Equivalency (HSE) programs, and recently earned her HSE degree.

Pat Stansfield, Vita’s Literacy Tutoring Program Coordinator, recognized Literacy Tutors who volunteer their time to work with students to help improve their reading, writing, and math skills and work toward getting their HSE diplomas. She thanked them for the hours and hours of volunteer time, noting the accomplishments of their students that came as a result of the commitment and hard work of both tutors and students.

Vita’s teachers were recognized for their dedication and support in helping students achieve their goal. The crowd applauded the success of the students and the contributions made by teachers and tutors.

Celebrating Linda Wolfson

Linda Wolfson, center of first row, pictured with Vita Board members.

Over 100 people honored Linda Wolfson on the occasion of her retirement from Vita Education Services on June 23, at Spring Mill Manor, Ivyland. During her 24 years at Vita, Ms. Wolfson has served as Director of Literacy and Director of Programs, before being chosen as Executive Director in 2009.

Under her leadership, Vita has expanded and grown and is now the lead literacy agency in Bucks County and the largest provider of education services in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Ms. Wolfson was honored by Representative Brian Fitzpatrick by being introduced on the floor of the United States House of Representatives with a tribute entered into the Congressional Record on June 25, 2018. She was presented with a United States flag, which was flown over the United States Capital in recognition of “her 24 years of visionary and passionate leadership and her impact on the community.”

The Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also recognized Ms. Wolfson for her tenure of service at Vita and her contribution toward the well-being of the community. The initiative was sponsored by Senators Bob Mensch, Stewart J. Greenleaf, Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr., and Robert M. Tomlinson.

A highlight of the celebration was the introduction of Vita Voices, one of many successful projects brought to fruition under Ms. Wolfson’s leadership. Vita Voices is a celebration of the lives of Vita’s vibrant community of students, teachers, tutors and staff. Their stories are told through their own voices, a powerful insight into their dreams, struggles, and accomplishments. Vita Voices are featured on Vita’s website as well as YouTube and Vimeo.

Vita Receives Contribution from Centennial Education Association

Pictured left to right are Maritza Aucay, Vita Family Literacy Childcare Worker/Assistant; Karina Wegelius, Vita’s Director of ESL Programs; Centennial School District Reading Specialist Erin Landy; Mary Ellen Donnelly, President of CEA; and Iryna Yefimenko, Vita Family Literacy Instructor.

Warminster, PA (April 30, 2018) The Centennial Education Association (CEA) presented a donation of $1,000 to Vita Education Services to be used to help assist in funding the Family Literacy programs that Vita offers.

The CEA is comprised of teachers in the Centennial School District and has a fourteen-year history of supporting literacy in the community through donations to libraries, reading programs and other literacy programs.

In accepting the donation, Karina Wegelius, Vita’s Director of English as a Second Language, said, “We are pleased to be recognized by the teachers in the Centennial School District for our work to increase the literacy skills of adults and families.”

Vita Education Services offers classes and small group tutoring instruction in literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) throughout the county, including William Tennent High School in Warminster. Also, family literacy programs are offered in collaboration with Centennial School District at the district’s administration building in Warminster and in collaboration with Bristol Township School District at the district’s administration building in Levittown.

Board Officers Announced

Vita announces the election of Board of Directors officers for 2018. Pictured left to right, standing, are 2nd Vice President Alan Gaudio, Doylestown; and Treasurer John Walko, Warrington. Seated are 1st Vice President Rev. Pauline Sexton, Chalfont; Secretary Bill Ford, Warrington; and President Linda Barker, Doylestown.

Vita Elects New Board Member

Doylestown, Pa. (November 10, 2017) Margarita Hossaini-zadeh, of Doylestown, has been elected to the Vita Board of Directors. Hossaini-zadeh is the Assistant Branch Manager of the Doylestown branch of the Bucks County Free Library. She is an attorney who has worked in the fields of eviction prevention and all aspects of employment discrimination. Hossaini-zadeh said, “I have spent my life focusing on civil justice issues whether it was for non-profit agencies or for the government. As a Vita volunteer Board member, I will continue to do so, now on a voluntary basis. Coming from an immigrant family, I am also interested in supporting Vita’s English as a Second Language programs, particularly its Family Literacy classes.”

Celebrating the Faces of Success

Some of this year’s HSE diploma recipients celebrated their achievement at Vita’s year-end ceremony.

Doylestown, Pa. (August 9, 2017) Vita Education Services hosted a gathering of students, tutors, and teachers from the Literacy Tutoring and High School Equivalency programs to recognize and honor student and volunteer achievements during the past academic year. Over 130 people attended the celebration held at Bensalem Library on August 5.

Mercedes Anderson, Director of Literacy & High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs, welcomed the crowd and set the theme for the event, which was a celebration of the faces of success. Attendees included students and their proud families and friends as well as Vita tutors, teachers, staff, and Board members. Mercedes honored the students, paying tribute to their courage, dedication, and hard work, noting the many challenges faced by adult learners.

Representative DiGirolamo addresses the crowd.

Also attending was State Representative Gene DiGirolamo who talked about his immigrant grandparents, their struggles and achievement, and the importance of education. The speech seemed to resonate with the audience, many of whom have overcome numerous obstacles to reach their goals.

Recent GED program graduate Cesar DeAmorim.

Recent GED program graduate Cesar DeAmorin was the featured speaker. He reflected on his experience of coming to the United States from Brazil, learning English and working hard in Vita’s classes to learn and advance in order to pass the GED test.

Vita Literacy Tutors were honored at the celebration.

Kathy White, Vita’s Tutoring Program Coordinator, recognized Literacy Tutors who volunteer their time to work with students to help improve their reading, writing, and math skills and work toward getting their HSE diplomas. She thanked them for the hours and hours of volunteer time, noting the accomplishments of their students that came as a result of the commitment and hard work of both tutors and students.

Vita’s teachers were recognized for their dedication and support in helping students achieve their goal. The crowd applauded the success of the students and the contributions made by teachers and tutors.

Vita Receives Grant from The Philadelphia Foundation

Doylestown, Pa. (July 13, 2017) Vita Education Services has received a $25,000 grant from the Marjorie and H. Donald Doak Fund, the Thomas G. Ashworth Memorial Fund, the Lorimer Distribution Account and the Jonathan C. Neff Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation for general operational support. Announcement of the grant was made by Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of the Foundation.
Linda Wolfson, Vita’s Executive Director said, “The ongoing support of the Philadelphia Foundation is greatly appreciated by our students, staff, and board. Vita provides quality programs to the undereducated, unemployed, and underemployed to help them improve their lives and the lives of their families.”
One of America’s oldest community foundations (founded in 1918), The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF) is committed to improving the quality of life in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. A foundation and a public charity, TPF connects philanthropic resources to societal needs. TPF manages assets of approximately $370 million and more than 900 charitable funds established by its fund holders. It distributes about $25 million annually to nearly 1,000 nonprofits as grants and scholarships, and promotes greater philanthropy and stronger nonprofits in service to community needs.