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Mission & History

Changing lives through literacy since 1981.

When founded in 1981, our organization's focus was to train volunteers to teach English-speaking adults how to read. Over time, services have expanded to reach the fast-growing and diverse immigrant population of Somerset County for whom communicating in English presents a challenge.

These hard-working and dynamic members of our community aim to be fully engaged and participating members of society but their access to social and economic opportunities are limited by their English language skills.


LVSC's mission is to promote literacy throughout the community by providing student-centered tutoring and literacy programs for adults so that they may function more effectively in their daily lives. Our mission is founded on the belief that the ability to read and communicate in English is imperative to leading a productive life, and is essential for the protection of individual freedom and equality of all people.


Founded by retired schoolteacher Alma C. Liotta, our organization was initially called Literacy Volunteers of the Somerville Area. In February 1981, Literacy Volunteers of the Somerville Area hosted its first tutor training workshop at the Community School for Leisure Learning. At that time, volunteer tutors were trained to teach English-speaking adults to read. One-to-one tutoring took place in three libraries.

Our 40th anniversary approached in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. LVSC began training volunteers virtually on Zoom.  All tutoring was conducted remotely by video chat, email, and phone. In addition to the one-to-one tutoring program, services had expanded to include English conversation groups, and U.S. citizenship preparation classes. Plans to return to in-person services would include programming in 10 local library branches. Read more about our history.

While much has changed in 40 years, our mission of providing student-centered literacy instruction for adults remains the same. LVSC continues to be a community-focused nonprofit organization committed to building stronger communities and changing lives through literacy.

(Pictured: LVSC's founder, retired school teacher Alma Liotta.)