Celebration of Lifelong Learning 2020 video

Literacy for Life's services are available remotely at this time. Our physical offices will remain closed to the public until the William & Mary campus reopens to the external community. Contact us for more information at or (757) 221-3325.

We encourage our tutors to continue meeting their learners virtually via Zoom Meeting, FaceTime, phone, or email. Please log any instructional hours using Easy Hours by  clicking on "Tutors" below.


Empowering Parents Program

Funded by Impact 100, this exciting new program targets parents of elementary-age children and seeks to improve their literacy skills in four key areas: reading with children, interacting with schools, health literacy and workplace soft skills. The program also eliminates many of the barriers parents face to pursuing adult education by meeting at a convenient time at their child’s school and by providing child care.

For more information, please contact Fiona VanGheem,




 EmployEd Program

The EmployEd Program provides career development services to adults who are seeking to gain employment, retain their current employment or advance in their careers. The program offers both group and/or one-to-one tutor training to adults seeking to grow  their financial literacy skills, career readiness skills, and/or soft skills. Adult participants will meet with a Certified Workforce Development Professional to develop a customized work readiness plan to enhance their interviewing skills, write a resume and cover letter, career search strategies, and utilize local resources to meet their own needs. In addition, adult participants can receive individualized and tailored training services and support to help prepare them to take the GED exam, Virginia Placement Test, and/or enter into a college or industry specific training program.

For more information, please contact Andrew Martin at 757-221-1144, via email at, or through text messaging at 757-634-3633.

Reading, Writing and Math – Adult Basic Education (ABE)


In the Adult Basic Education program, learners develop their reading, writing and math skills and work towards personal goals in areas such as employment, parenting, health, or increased independence. ABE learners range from those learning to read for the first time to those preparing for the GED exam or job-related certification. They all are striving to reach their full potential through improved literacy skills.

For more information, please contact Mary Lynch,




English as a Second Language (ESL)


Foreign-born adults improve their ability to participate in American life by developing their English language skills and their understanding of American life, government, history, and culture. Learners may lack any formal education or may be well educated, and they may speak no English at all or be fairly conversational. Many are pursuing U.S. citizenship. They are all striving to integrate more fully into American society by improving their English literacy and civics skills.

For more information, please contact Jason Thornton,


 Offsite Programs

Literacy for Life provides classes led by professional instructors with volunteer tutor support at area businesses, schools, correctional facilities, and nonprofit agencies. Class content is customized to meet the unique needs of the learners being served.

For more information, please contact Jason Thornton,

TNCC – Free Tutoring Program

In partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), Literacy for Life provides free one-on-one tutoring for adults who need support in preparing for the community college entrance exam, the Virginia Placement Test, as well as those who need extra attention in reading, writing and math in order to succeed at TNCC.

For more information, please contact Mary Lynch,

HEAL Program

Literacy is a stronger predictor of an individual’s health status than income, employment status, education level and racial or ethnic group. Low literacy affects more adult Americans than obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer combined. Literacy for Life’s innovative new Health Education and Literacy (HEAL) program funded by the Williamsburg Health Foundation improves the health of adults using two approaches — HEAL classes and training of medical professionals:

For more information, please contact Fiona VanGheem,


HEAL Rescue Squad
HEAL Rescue Squad

HEAL Classes

We provide an 8-week course for both ABE and ESOL adults that increases their knowledge of current healthcare topics, medical terminology, and standard processes and practices. Students learn to:

  • describe symptoms to a doctor
  • read and understand medication instruction
  • know when to use Urgent Care instead of Emergency Room
  • understand and fill out medical forms
  • ask medical staff questions to understand what the diagnosis, prescription and next steps are
  • identify lifestyle changes to improve health

The class ends with a field trip to a local hospital, where students learn the locations of various departments and where to ask for help. Through new knowledge and increased familiarity with the healthcare system, learners gain the confidence they need to take control of their health.

Training Medical Professionals

The HEAL training for medical staff raises awareness about the issue of low health literacy and gives practical tools and strategies for working with patients that can be used immediately. The presentation is interactive, engaging, and packed with information. Key topics include:

  • identifying low literate patients
  • communicating clearly and effectively
  • creating easy-to-read materials
  • checking for comprehension
  • being culturally sensitive

Click here to see a PDF of the prescription pad given to medical offices to help them refer their patients to the HEAL classes.

What people are saying about HEAL:

Virginia Gazette Article Literacy for Life offers ‘HEAL’-ing touch with award winning program

WY Daily Article
 HEAL earns national award in innovations in health literacy.

“The class was very informative. I don’t know if this program is taught in our schools; I think it should be. So many families don’t have insurance. It would help to know where to go and what to do in time of a crisis. Thank you for your knowledge and time in teaching this program.”  Rebecca, a Fall 2014 learner

“I would advise anybody to come take this class.”  Charles, a learner from Williamsburg

“I learned…you don’t need to go to the emergency room because there is also ‘Urgent Care.'” – Rita, a learner from Toano

“My teacher asked me to always ask the doctor three questions. The answer actually gives me a short summary of my visit with the specialist. It really worked for me.” – Pamela, a learner from Cameroon

“Great presentation!” – nurse from Sentara hospital in Williamsburg

“We should have everyone see this.” – medical staff person from Williamsburg

In the surveys from the most recent round of medical trainings, 100% of participants said that they would recommend the HEAL training to a colleague.

Want to learn more about health literacy? Click here for more information.

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