Who We Are
Literacy Volunteers of Bangor is dedicated to helping Bangor area adults who want either to work on basic English skills or to learn English as another language. Our student-centered methods reduce barriers and get results.
Since 1969, we have helped change the lives of adults, one at a time. Literacy Volunteers is affiliated with ProLiteracy, the world’s largest non governmental adult literacy organization.
Literacy Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our part-time staff orchestrates the efforts of more than 600 students, tutors, and volunteers. We are overseen by a Board of Directors drawn from the community.
Literacy Volunteers of Bangor strengthens our community by providing free English language tutoring to Bangor area adults.
Our Core Values
We affirm the following as guiding principles for everything we do:
- Literacy is a civil right, the foundation of democracy.
- There is no substitute for the caring heart of a volunteer.
- Everyone has the right to access lifelong learning opportunities.
- Barriers are challenges to be eliminated.
- We believe in readiness instead of compliance.
- There is no such thing as an average learner, and there is no such thing as the best way to learn.
- We seek to change the direction of students’ lives without judgment, not to change their lives.
- We provide opportunities for lifelong learning, not remedial education.
- Adults expect and deserve individualized, personalized education.
- Mistakes are opportunities to learn.
- The adult learning process is a teacher/student partnership and relationship.
- The process begins by starting where the adult learner is.
We began in 1969 with a Catholic nun and a Baptist laywoman. Retired teachers, Sister Mary Benigna and Agnes Beckwith were part of the heady mix of idealism and ecumenism that marked the late 1960s. They were recruited by the local chapter of Church Women United, whose national organization had set a goal of addressing low literacy.
With $50 and high hopes, Sister and Agnes set off for training in Syracuse, NY, where the pioneering Ruth Colvin had created an innovative tutoring program, Literacy Volunteers of America (now ProLiteracy).
Back in Bangor after the training, the two recruited a handful of volunteers and began the work that has changed the lives of countless Bangor-area adults.
We were the first Literacy Volunteers program in Maine, and the first outside New York. Fifty years since our founding, we proudly boast a small but mighty staff and hundreds of volunteers serving more than 300 area adult students each year.
Click here to learn more about the people who made Literacy Volunteers happen over our 50-year history.
Annual Report Cards
Each year, we compile results of our programming year. We assess how many students we’ve served, what types of goals they have reached, how many volunteers support this mission with their time, and how we’re doing financially.
These Annual Report Cards are quick snapshots that represent our progress and are accessible to the public. Click below to see how we’re doing.
Mary Marin Taylor
Board of Directors
Northern Light, Eastern Maine Healthcare
Vice President, Product Manager
Bangor Savings Bank
J.P. Oltmann, IRS Representation
Financial Services Representative
Vice President Resource Development (Retired)
United Way of Eastern Maine
Human Resources (Retired)
University of Maine System
Project Manager, Process Improvement
Bangor Savings Bank
Brown, Holmes & Milliken Agency
Moderate Special Needs Teacher (Retired)
Chelmsford, MA, Public Schools
Client Serve Associate
Northern Light Acadia Hospital