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.

Immigrants in Bucks County

Vita’s Executive Director Linda Wolfson was interviewed for and quoted in the following article, which appeared in The Intelligencer.

April 5, 2017 –    The Intelligencer
By Peg Quann, staff writer

Agencies that help immigrants see that even those legally in the United States feel concern about Trump’s immigration plans.

The climate in Washington, D.C., regarding immigration has left many immigrants feeling uneasy about their status in the United States, even if they have come here legally and have proper documentation, say those in Bucks County who are trying to help them.  Read More

Immigration Attorney Presentation

Immigration attorney Wayne Nguyen with Vita Board President Betsy Arrison (left) and Vita’s Executive Director Linda Wolfson (right).

Doylestown, Pa. (March 27, 2017)   Vita hosted a presentation by Wayne Nguyen, an immigration attorney, who presented an overview of legal permanent residence status and current immigration enforcement and removal policies. Over 40 Vita staff and Board of Directors members attended the presentation, held at The Intelligencer in Doylestown.

Nguyen is with the Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. He has extensive experience working with family-based as well as business-based immigration. He has defended clients in removal/deportation proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and has assisted in appeals at the Board of Immigration Appeals and Circuit Court levels. A first generation U.S. born son of Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen is a graduate of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University.

Volunteer to Help Make a Difference

ESL Students
Decisions For Living (DFL) tutors work with inmates in the Bucks County Correctional Facilities, teaching a process that emphasizes self-awareness, personal responsibility, critical thinking, and goal setting. DFL provides inmates with tools to help them reintegrate more effectively into the community upon release.
Basic Literacy (ABE) tutors work with adults who want to improve their basic education: reading, writing and math skills. Individual and small group tutoring supports English speakers who are assessed at Beginning Literacy, Beginning ABE and Low Intermediate ABE levels. Tutors can choose to work with adults in the community or in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.
English as a Second Language (ESL) tutors work with adults for whom English is not their first language and who wish to improve their English proficiency. It is not necessary to speak another language. The ESL tutoring program is focused on small group instruction from beginning to advanced levels.
Click Here for more information about our volunteer programs.

Looking for a Unique and Rewarding Volunteer Experience?

Doylestown, PA (September 29, 2016) Vita Education Services is offering a Decisions For Living (DFL) tutor training course for volunteers interested in working with adults preparing to leave prison. DFL tutors work with clients in the Bucks County Correctional Facility in Doylestown teaching a logical five-step process that emphasizes self-awareness, personal responsibility, critical thinking, and goal setting. This unique decision-making process provides clients with tools to help them reintegrate more effectively into the community upon release.

The 15-hour volunteer tutor training will be held in Doylestown on six Thursday evenings beginning Nov.3. The training includes learning the DFL process and a tour of the Correctional Facility. No teaching experience is needed to tutor DFL; volunteers must be at least 21 years of age. Criminal record clearance is required.

Click Here for more information and the registration form.