Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley

Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley is a community-based literacy organization that offers adults the opportunity to gain the skills they need to make a better life for themselves and their families.  We do this by taking the time to understand the unique needs of each learner and tailoring our services specifically to them.   Using real-world applications to teach our students, we help them better retain their skills, empowering them to achieve their personal goals.  Our free services not only help the learners and their families, they enrich the entire Chippewa Valley community.
Dear Supporters of Literacy Volunteers:
As you may have heard or read in the newspaper, United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley has changed their funding model. This change has resulted in funding cuts to several agencies in their 2015-18 budget. At the top of that list is Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley.  We will lose $57,667 per year in United Way funding; this is 14% of our annual budget. In order for Literacy Volunteers to maintain our services at the current level, it is critical to receive continued investments from our donors such as you. Please send contributions directly to Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley via our website at
As we reflect on the reasons for this United Way decision and the impact the cuts will have on Literacy Volunteers, it reminds us of the misconceptions about Literacy Volunteers that, not only United Way, but other members of the public may have about us.

Misconceptions about Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley: 
  • Misconception 1: Literacy Volunteers is an all-volunteer organization. 
  • Fact 1: Our name can be misleading. Literacy Volunteers has 13 paid well-educated staff members (two full-time and 11 part-time) who, like you, rely on their salaries to support their families.  This staff trains and manages the 200+ tutors who work with our 500+ students each year.  The staff also oversees the day-to-day operations; teaches at the Family Literacy Center; teaches in the jails in Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn counties; manages the open learning labs; markets our organization and coordinates our special events such as the upcoming ScrabbleBee; writes grants and explores other fundraising options that allow us to continue to serve; and the list goes on.
  • ‚ÄčMisconception 2: Our students aren’t smart, don’t work and are mostly illegal immigrants. 
  • Fact 2: Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and educational levels.  Yes, some read at a 4th grade level, but others are college graduates. Many of our students work two or three entry level jobs in order to survive economically; they take care of children, and still find the time to commit to their education.  Fifty two percent of our students are white, and some students have obtained citizenship by studying with a Literacy Volunteers tutor. About 80% of our students read at or below the 8th grade reading level and are not eligible for services at a higher learning institution. They still want to reach their literacy goals and through us they receive services that are not available ANYWHERE ELSE. These services not only raise their literacy levels, but their self-confidence and independence as well.
  • Misconception 3: “Why bother? I did it, why can’t they?” 
  • Fact 3: According to 2010 U.S. Census data, there are over 10,000 individuals in the Chippewa Valley that do not have a high school diploma. There are many reasons why someone never finished high school, but does that mean that they should not have the opportunity to learn skills like getting a driver’s license, reading a book to their child or filling out a job application?   
Literacy Volunteers is changing lives one student at a time. We do this by taking the time to understand the unique needs of each learner and tailor our services specifically to them. Using real-world applications to teach our students, we help them better retain their skills, empowering them to achieve their personal goals. Our free services not only help the learners and their families, they enrich the entire Chippewa Valley community.  
We would like to thank the United Way of Dunn County for continuing to fund Literacy Volunteers. We will continue to work with the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley and are optimistic that we will receive future funding.  In the meantime, we appreciate your contribution directly to Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley.
Literacy changes everything. Thank you for your support.


Paul Kulig                                                                                MaryJo VanGompel
President                                                                                 Executive Director

Literacy Volunteers Raises Funds Through ScrabbleBee

The 14th Annual ScrabbleBee was the buzz of the valley Thursday night, raising nearly $37,000 for Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley. There were 39 teams who strategized playing Scrabble to win prizes, bidding on silent auction items, purchasing raffle tickets, and having a honey of a good time. The event was held Thursday evening, April 23, 2015 at the Sleep Inn Conference Center, Eau Claire.
For the ScrabbleBee, teams of up to six players worked together to build words in the “Hare” and “Tortoise” divisions. Three timed games are played throughout the evening, and the team achieving the highest total for all three games was declared the winner. Here is the list of winners in all the categories.

Winning Scrabble Team - Hare division:
  • First place: Nestle
  • Second place: Weld, Riley, Prenn, & Ricci
  • Third place: Applied Data Consultants
  • Fourth place: HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
  • Fifth place: Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)
Winning Scrabble Team - Tortoise Division: Clearwater Kiwanis Club

Highest fundraising team: Luna’s Ladies

Top three individual fundraisers
  • First Place: Sheila Sorensen
  • Second Place: Joan Voigt
  • Third Place: Katherine Schneider
Best Team Costume: Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)

ScrabbleBee was sponsored by Citizens Community Federal, Manpower, Northwestern Bank, RCU, Royal Construction, Volume One, WQOW TV 18, and Xcel Energy.  Emcee for the event was Amie Winters of WQOW. Co-Chairs were Marianne Klinkhammer and Terri Hoepner, and volunteer Word Waiters were assigned to each of the teams. 

Look for photos on this web site as they become available. For more organization information, contact Executive Director MaryJo VanGompel at 715-834-0222.

Literacy Staff Discusses Reading Comprehension Gap

Literacy Volunteers staff and Family Lit student Carol Crane were interviewed by WQOW TV 18 on March 11th regarding the reading comprehension gap. Watch the video.

Celebrate Writing 2015 Request for Entries 

Each year students are given the opportunity to be published in a book of student writings. Tutors and their student(s) will each receive a copy at Celebration of the Stars that will be held May 19, 2015. Students are encouraged to participate!  Students can submit their writing electronically by clicking here.
“What Are You Reading?” is the theme for this year’s book. It provides students with an opportunity to have their photo taken holding one of their favorite books, magazines or newspapers. Then they answer a few questions: What is the book about? Why did you pick this book? How does it relate to you? Why is reading important to you? Please continue reading for more information.

Read our latest newsletter online.

Thank You to Everyone Who Supported Literacy Volunteers at Green Mill

On Dec. 22-23, 2014, if you ate at the Green Mill, 2703 Craig Road, Eau Claire, 20% of your bill went to support Literacy Volunteers.  This was part of the “Green Mill for Good” Give-Back promotion.  Literacy Volunteers received $324.00. 

View 2013-2014 Annual Report

Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley 2013-2014 Annual Report is available now.  Read it online

Spanish Speakers Phone Line and Poster

Spanish speakers are the fastest growing immigrant population in the Chippewa Valley. Our latest outreach efforts have dedicated a Spanish phone line at LVCV and displayed new posters in Mexican restaurants and grocery stores in Eau Claire. If you know a Spanish speaking adult who wants to learn or improve English, offer our Spanish line (715-456-3155) and a Spanish speaker will return calls promptly. You may also direct them to our Facebook page.