Literacy Center of Milford expands, changes name to reflect broader scope

The Literacy Center of Milford, Inc. has undergone a name change to Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut, Inc.

The Literacy Center of Milford has been tutoring adults in the Greater Milford area, including 10 surrounding cities, for 20 years.

“We service many more communities than just Milford,” said Executive Director Tami Jackson.  “It became important for us to change our name to properly serve the immigrant population and meet the needs as it continues to grow.”

Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut will continue to serve more than 100 adults each year with literacy support, Jackson said. The organization’s mission is to provide services at no cost to any individual who wishes to learn the English language or enhance their reading, writing, speaking and math skills necessary to lead productive lives in the community.

“Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut envisions a community of harmony and abundance where all people and their children attain their educational and life goals, and become functioning and contributing members of our communities and society,” Jackson said.

The organization's main headquarters are located at the Fannie Beach Community Center at 16 Dixon Street in Milford with satellite offices at the Milford Library and Stratford Library. Its organization consists of a board of directors and an executive director who guide its operation. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the organization gets its funding from civic donations, corporate and financial institution donations, charity foundation grants, fundraising events, and individual contributions.

Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut offers adult literacy programs which are designed to help students with the GED (General Education Development) exam, NEDP (National External Diploma Program) and with the process of attaining US Citizenship, as well as to develop basic skills in English with its ESL (English-as-a-second-language) program or math in order to become functioning members of society. In 2014, the organization expanded its curriculum to include a hands-on, basic computer education program so that students can become comfortable with computing.

The center also provides expanding literacy programs designed for children, from babies and toddlers to middle-school-age kids. It holds weekly story hours, book give-a-ways, individual reading sessions, and family-based literacy programs at the local middle school. In 2015, volunteer readers logged over 200 hours in the children reading programs, and donated 1,000 books to local children.

The organization is an affiliate of the national Pro Literacy Worldwide network of adult basic education and literacy programs, and is a United Way of Milford member agency.

Like most organizational beginnings,the agency started out small – as a committee-run satellite office of the Literacy Volunteers of New Haven with funding from the Junior Women's Club of Milford. The charity later became the sole task of Frances O'Neill, its first executive director. She ran the program out of her home until 1992 when the City of Milford provided office space at the Margaret Egan Center.

In 1994, O'Neill turned over the reins to Joy Stonier and Karen O'Neill, who were instrumental in forming the non-profit, community-based literacy agency known as The Literacy Center of Milford. Through corporate sponsorships, donations, and specialized staffing, the organization sprouted. In 1995, the center was relocated to the Fannie Beach Community Center, its current headquarters.

Anyone interested in becoming a literacy volunteer may call 203-878-4800.  The next tutor training class will be at the Stratford Library, 2203 Main St. on Wednesday, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.  6 p.m. - 8 p.m.  More information can be found at