Transforming Immigrant Digital Equity (TIDE)

Pilot Site: Literacy for Life

Literacy for Life student using a laptop and smiling
Location Williamsburg, VA
Expanding to Newport News, VA
Organization Type Community-based organization
Size 463 students served per year
11 staff
148 volunteer tutors
Student Population 73% women
69% Hispanic
53% ages 24-44
15-20 refugees
Contact Jason Thornton, Executive Director 

Literacy for Life (LFL) is an adult literacy nonprofit based in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a mission of empowering adults by building foundational skills for success in life and work. LFL provides individualized, one-to-one and small group tutoring in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), as well as basic literacy and numeracy skills. This model, which is made possible through a dedicated network of almost 150 volunteers, allows learners to receive instruction tailored towards their specific goals and needs, especially those that may not be addressed in a typical classroom or large-group setting. All tutors receive in-house training and are expected to commit to at least one year of service.

In addition to tutoring, LFL also provides state-funded ESOL classes as part of Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) and Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs. Additionally, LFL offers classes for learners pursuing an English GED®, employment, and career advancement. These ESOL classes differ from most other government-funded classes in Virginia, as they are offered in shorter blocks of time (e.g., 12 weeks) and focus on different topics of interest (e.g., conversational English, civics, grammar).