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.

Vita Presents at CEA Conference

Vita’s Executive Director Linda Wolfson, and Gail Huber, Vita’s Curriculum and Training Specialist, presented a workshop at the Corrections Education Association (CEA) Regional Conference on June 1st in Cape May, New Jersey. CEA is a professional organization for educators in adult and juvenile corrections settings. The topic of the presentation was “Developing Critical Thinking Skills for the Incarcerated Student.” The presentation was well received, with over 40 people in attendance. The workshop is 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. Vita has developed unique, copyrighted Decisions curriculum materials for these populations. Click Here for more information about Vita’s Decisions products.

Vita Voices Coming to Life

Vita launched its Vita Voices campaign on May 24, with an all-day recording session at Bensalem Library. Vita Voices is an effort to disseminate, over a broad spectrum of media, the stories of Vita’s students. The purpose of the campaign is raise awareness of Vita’s mission by telling the personal stories of the individuals it serves.

One of the study rooms at the library was transformed into a sound booth by a professional production team. Vita staff worked to coordinate the scheduling and logistics of this impressive undertaking. Each person was interviewed by a family member, teacher, tutor or another Vita student. Participants, although nervous, were anxious to share their stories.

Listen for Vita Voices – coming soon to www.VitaEducation.org

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.