Community Impact Award given to organization serving low-income immigrant families in Corona and Jackson Heights

Literacy Partners Volunteer Manager Amber Doniere (center) accepts the Community Impact Award.
Photo courtesy of NYC Service

Literacy Partners, an organization dedicated to enhancing English proficiency among immigrant caregivers to foster greater involvement in their children’s lives, was honored with the Community Impact Award on April 25. This accolade was part of the New York City Service’s Mayoral Service Recognition Program, celebrating significant contributions to the community.

The organization was honored for the efforts of its “English for Parents” program, which works to uplift low-income, immigrant families through the power of education. Free classes, community workshops and educational media are offered to support low-income and immigrant parents in learning the English language.

While Literacy Partners is based in Manhattan, in-person classes are also offered in Corona and Jackson Heights. Additionally, online classes are available for residents of all five boroughs of New York City. The classes run from September to June. Students also have the option to continue the program until they reach intermediate proficiency.

The English for Parents program served 227 students in 2023 alone, and 84 volunteers were recruited for the program during the same period.

“Parents look to us for the opportunity to transform their lives and create a brighter future for their children,” Literacy Partners Volunteer Manager Amber Doniere said. “And we look to volunteers to help us make the magic happen. Fortunately, in New York there are many people who are ready and able to make a difference through volunteering.”

The English for Parents program provides its students with an immersive English learning experience where volunteers facilitate discussions or offer one-on-one support to foster moments of connection that increase the bond between a parent and child. This also helps parents read with their younger children more often.

The volunteers are engaged in leading these classes to enhance participants’ language abilities and the parents’ levels of practical language proficiency. As a result of the volunteer-led classes, parents’ proficiency levels improve, and they grow more confident as advocates for their kids’ education, better equipped for daily interactions and more integrated into local society.

Founded in 1973, Literacy Partners has assisted over 35,000 students in learning English. Throughout its existence, the organization has maintained its goal of uplifting individuals who have been excluded from educational opportunities due to racial discrimination, sexism, immigration status or economic disparities.

The Community Impact Award is given to organizations that leverage the power of volunteers in innovative and resourceful ways to strategically address the needs of the community and city. This year’s winners were unveiled at the Mayoral Service Recognition Ceremony, with each receiving a trophy and $500 cash prize.

Over 140 nominations were submitted for the five Impact awards on the NYC Service website (nyc.gov/service) in February 2024. A ten-member committee comprised of NYC Service staff evaluated each nominee, deciding upon three finalists for each category. The next round of deliberation involved a public voting process shared on social media by NYC Service (@nycservice), as well as through email newsletters, where New Yorkers were able to submit their choice for the most impactful volunteer project of 2023. An estimated 2,400 votes were submitted for this year’s winners.

Other 2024 recipients of an Impact award included the Clinton School’s Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) group for the Youth Impact Award, Alibamba Sillah for the AmeriCorps Alum Impact Award, Annabel Amir for the Spirit of the City Award and Macquarie Group Limited and Team Kids for the Partnership Impact Award.

NYC Service is a division of the Mayor’s Office that provides meaningful access, opportunity and resources for communities to come together and answer the call to serve the city.