The Literacy Center of the Lehigh Valley
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Past issues of our newsletter,

Literacy in Action!

Spring 2013

Summer 2013

Fall 2013

News and Events  


Storybook Theatre 2014

The Literacy Center's most significant fundraising event of the season,

Storybook Theatre 2014, was a spectacular success! 

Held Saturday March 15th at the Kasych Family Pavilion on the campus of Lehigh Valley Health Network, the Storybook Wizard greeted 250 parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and cousins for a full morning of exciting and educational activities.

"Terrific Tales and Staggering Stories" is the best way to describe the day.  Special guests were award-winning, international storyteller Kristin Pedemonto who presented "Safari Through Story" offering tales of her adventures from around the world.  Grace the Pirate (Kitty Jones) offered a whimsical aspect of pirate life as the actual, historic Irish pirate Grace O'Malley.  Attendees helped to tell the tales and enjoyed being a part of the story.  Each presentation offered multicultural and theatrical stories, provided educational facts and loads of FUN audience participation. 

Storybook Theatre also offered the ever popular Super Duper Book Swap with more than 500 new and gently used books for all ages.  Books of every theme and topic provided the opportunity for no one to go home empty handed.  Through the support of many community organizations, businesses and friends The Literacy Center offered a raffle of more than 60 baskets and prizes includiing adventures, goodies, toys, and of course, BOOKS!  Adult raffle items offered the opportunity to entertain, pamper, and enjoy the local cultural arts scene.

More than 35 volunteers worked tirelessly to make this event one to remember.  Our utmost thanks to everyone involved!

Our sincerest thanks to the Leadership Circle of Sponsors: The Morning Call, Guardian, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.  Literati Sponsor: PPL.  Literacy Champions: Capital BlueCross and Randy and Rhonda Dietz.  Literacy Advocates: Campbell, Rappold and Yurasits, LLP, Highmark BlueShield, Lehigh Valley Find and Go Seek, Michael's Craft Store, National Penn Bank, Nestle Purina PetCare, PepsiCo, Ilene and Michael Prokup, UGI Utilities, Inc., MaryAnn and Phil Weber

All net profits support The Literacy Center's mission "to help people of the Lehigh Valley achieve the literacy and Englich language skills needed to succeed in life."

Watch for next year's theme and date.  We look forward to seeing you in 2015!


Many thanks to our sponsors!




The Literacy Center is pleased to report that we have received a grant from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation in support of our Advanced Transitional ESL program.  This program is designed for our English as a Second Language students who are interested in moving forward to college and/or job training.  For more information about the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, please visit their website at




Faces of Literacy: Our Students, Our Story was a unique event at Miller Symphony Hall highlighting The Literacy Center and the remarkable accomplishments of our students. For more than thirty-six years, The Literacy Center has demonstrated leadership in community-based literacy education built on innovative, cost-effective instructional services that ensure excellence in student outcomes.  Many thanks to all who attended!



Faces of Literacy featured the works of Marco Calderon. In addition to several photographic exhibitions of his work in Mexico, Marco has created three new exhibitions focusing on the Lehigh Valley and Allentown. Selected pieces from each of these exhibits were on display.

  • Welcome Neighbor (Immigants of the Lehigh Valley)
  • Block by Block (store Owners of Downtown Allentown)
  • Fighters (The Allentown Boxing Club)

     Marco has graciously created Faces of Literacy, a new fourth collection featuring three Literacy Center students.

  • Michael dropped out of high school more than 30 years ago.  Now with five grandchildren, he is committed to demonstrating the importance and value of education through completion of his GED.  He is employed by a local not for profit and volunteers time at The Allentown Boxing Club.


  • From Mexico, Alely arrived in the Lehigh Valley with no English skills and a 6th grade education.  She enrolled in our ESL classes, successfully graduated, and is now pursuing her GED in English.  With The Literacy Center’s support she has recently completed her clearance paperwork to volunteer at her daughter’s elementary school.


  • F.A. emigrated from Eritrea after being held as a political prisoner.  After enrolling in our ESL classes and while holding two jobs, he successfully graduated.  Hard work and education enabled him to bring his wife and son to safety in the Lehigh Valley.  While gainfully employed he donated 250 volunteer hours to Habitat for Humanity, meeting their criteria to build and own his own home.  Through the Center’s support he recently earned US citizenship for himself and family. 

     Each photo and story illustrated how improved literacy skills influence a life, impact a family, build community, and inspire a desire for community involvement – volunteering for The Allentown Boxing Club, The Allentown School District, El Sistema Lehigh Valley, and Habitat for Humanity.

We are proud to share these amazing stories and tremendous accomplishments.


United Way Day of Caring 2013

On September 12 The Literacy Center welcomed 4 volunteers from Muhlenberg as they spent the day helping our around the office with organizing, cleaning, and sprucing up our Computer Lab and Library.  To see the you tube video from United Way, click here.  Thank you to United Way and Muhlenberg!


Congratulations Class of 2013!

The Literacy Center is proud to announce that for Program Year 2012-2013 we graduated a total of 30 English as a Second Language Students and 27 General Equivalency Diploma students.  In total, 39 students attended the June 17 Graduation Ceremony and walked the stage in front of over 125 families, friends, Literacy Center staff, Board Members and donors.  It was a proud moment for everyone involved!  Our class speakers shared their stories and inspired everyone to continue moving forward regardless of their personal challenges.  This years Linda V. McCrossan Award winner told of her journey since graduating from The Literacy Center's ESL program in 2008. It was a lovely evening filled with joy, pride, and accomplishment. 





     The Fourteenth Annual Storybook Breakfast sponsored by The Literacy Center on

March 23 brought Terrific Tales and Staggering Stories to life through theatrical performances. Over 100 children and family members enjoyed Rudyard Kiplings’ Just So Stories by Chris Davis (The Renaissance Man), the Meistersingers of Nuremberg by Middle-earth Studios, and Pioneer Travel on the Oregon Trail by Kit’s Interactive Theatre at The Kasych Family Pavilion of Lehigh Valley Health Network.  Lehigh Valley Cloggers engaged the children in dancing while Muhlenberg College students and representatives of Michael’s Crafts assisted children in making clothespin animals and decorating visors.  The lively morning included a buffet breakfast, children’s book swap, and silent auction of colorful activity baskets and family gift certificates. All proceeds are used to provide literacy instruction to over 650 adults annually who enroll in classes toward their GED, study English as a Second Language, or receive tutoring in basic literacy skills. Specialized classes in health literacy and basic computer literacy are also provided.

Thank you to everyone who participated!



We would like to especially thank the following sponsors of Storybook Breakfast:




Campbell, Rappold, and Yurasits

Capital BlueCross

Rhonda and Randy Dietz

National Penn Bank




The Literacy Center is pleased to introduce.....

Marco Calderon, a new addition to our Board Directors.  Marco is Owner/Photographer at Marco Calderon Photography as well as Projectionist for Civic Theater.  A native of Mexico, he previously worked for the Government of the State of Mexico, Ministry of Work, in charge of social communications.  He is currently a Studio Arts Major at Muhlenberg College and holds the B.A. in Communications from UAEM University in Mexico. 

He shares, “I, Marco Calderon, meet people through my camera.  I like people, their faces and the stories they tell without speaking.  I began shooting portraiture while conducting interviews with indigenous Mexican students about their experiences with intercultural bilingual education in Northern Mexico.  Later, I documented political campaigns in the State of Mexico further solidifying my passion for journalistic photography and demanding me to capture emotion and depth in a single frame.  Since moving the Pennsylvania, I have worked with The Collective Memory Project of the Lehigh Valley, the Old Allentown Preservation Association and the Allentown Economic Development Corporation to document individual histories and local communities.  The Collective commissioned me to record faces and stories of immigration to the Valley while elucidating the points of connection amongst people.  The opportunity to photograph fellow immigrants and the honor and responsibility of recording their expressions of transition was one I am both grateful for and humbled by.  I have continued to shoot environmental portraits of small business owners in the Old Allentown Neighborhood, attempting to capture the charm and vitality of place through the faces of the people who live and work right here in Allentown, PA.”



Natalie Dolan, another addition to our Board of Directors, is employed as Treasury Manager at Guardian in Bethlehem.  She began with the company in 2001 and also served in the positions of Financial Analyst and Senior Treasury Analyst.  She holds an Accounting Certificate from Moravian College as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from National Automobile and Highway University in Kharkov, Ukraine.  She is fluent in both the Russian and Ukrainian languages.  Natalie reports “English is my second language as I immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine 16 years ago at the age of 26.  I can truly relate to the value this program adds to people lives like myself.  I believe this opportunity would make me feel involved in giving back to the community.”

801 Hamilton St., Suite 201 | Allentown, PA 18101-2420
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