In a 400 square-mile area where 64 different languages are spoken and families hail from 93 different countries, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s adult education programs are in great demand. Since 1962, LCNV has imparted the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English, empowering participants to engage more fully and confidently in their communities. Unique among literacy programs, LCNV focuses specifically on adults who cannot read or write beyond the fifth grade level – and cannot take advantage of citizenship, GED, or technology classes elsewhere. For these individuals, LCNV is the first serious step on the road to higher education. Last year its 700 trained volunteers provided more than 34,000 hours of instruction to 1,500 students. Its Family Learning Program also teaches English and reading skills to immigrant parents through activities that reinforce what their children are studying in school; civics, nutrition, and health are covered too. In the words of one successful graduate: "Now I feel good about myself. I don’t know how I could repay the Literacy Council."