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.

The Road to Citizenship

Wendy arrived in 2008 from Honduras. She couldn’t speak, write or read English. She experienced culture shock and found it difficult at first not knowing the language. She found it especially frustrating not being able to communicate with her children’s teachers and the school administration. Wendy set some goals for herself. She would learn the language, get a driver’s license, find a job to help her family and eventually get her United States citizenship. She soon received her driver’s license and got a night time job in a party favors factory. In 2014, Wendy enrolled in the Family Literacy program at Vita. She came to school during the day and worked at night. She worked hard to improve her English and now has progressed to an advanced ESL class. She is much more comfortable communicating in her children’s school and all other areas of her life. This past January, Wendy passed her U.S. citizenship exam. She is eagerly anticipating her swearing in ceremony. She dreams of becoming a real estate salesperson one day.

Vita Needs Your Vote

Vita is one of the ten finalists for The Intelligencer’s 2016 Good-Doer Award. To win the award, we need YOUR VOTE. You can show your support of Vita by voting every day from January 2-11at www.theintell.com/good-doers. The nonprofit organization with the highest number of votes will be the Good-Doer Organization of 2016. In addition to community bragging rights, the honor comes with an award and prize.
Read all about Vita in an article on Sunday, January 1, in The Intelligencer and at http://www.theintell.com/tabs/good-doers/. Let’s get out the vote!

Interactive Learning

The Family Literacy Program offers Interactive Literacy Activities as one of its components. Our weekly three-hour sessions provide an opportunity for mothers and children to make a connection in their learning experience. Age-appropriate activities are stimulating and enjoyable when done with a parent. Benefits of ILA are mutual and include increased confidence, skill development and growth of a parent-child bond.

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.

Vita Receives Grant from The Philadelphia Foundation

logo_philadelphia_foundation1 Vita Education Services has received a $34,000 grant from the Walter E. Hering Fund #2 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 great philanthropy and stronger nonprofits in service to community needs. To learn more, visit www.philafound.org

Vita Presents at National Conference

CEA Logo Linda Wolfson, Vita’s Executive Director, and Vita’s Curriculum and Training Specialist, Gail Huber, recently presented a workshop at the Correctional Education Association (CEA) International Leadership Forum in Marksville, Louisiana. CEA is a professional organization for educators in adult and juvenile corrections settings.

The topic of the presentation was “Teaching Decision Making in a Criminal Justice Setting.” Attendees included teachers and administrators from jails, prisons, probation departments and university faculty from around the country.

The workshop was based on Vita’s 45-year history of teaching its Decisions process to at-risk populations in a variety of criminal justice and community settings. These include incarcerated adults, probationers, teens, and adult basic education students. Vita has developed unique, copyrighted Decisions curriculum materials for each of these populations. Click Here for more information about these products.

Let’s Go to School!

Vita held “Power of Moms” year-end celebrations at its two Family Literacy class locations in Bristol Township and Centennial school districts. The “Power of Moms” theme is in recognition of the research findings that “a mother’s literacy level is the greatest predictor of a child’s success in school.” Each program included speeches by students, the presentation of attendance and achievement certificates, and an “around the world feast” prepared by the students. Projects and artwork made by students and their families were on display. One of the student speakers, who has two young children who attend the program with her, said, “I want to thank each person that makes Vita Family Literacy possible. It is a big challenge learning English, but not impossible. My children are learning so much. Everyday my daughter gets up and says, ’Wake up everybody. Let’s go to school!’”