Conversations in Color Recap

November 10, 2020

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The beautiful Shangri La by Anita Ewing


Did you know that Conversations in Color was sparked by artist Marcia DeFalco? She generously donated 38 pieces to the sale to kick start our event. Sixteen artists joined Marcia in supporting our mission with their generosity — thank you local art community! We are also grateful to our Conversations in Color sponsor, Sandy Spring Bank.

The beautiful artwork that we used to promote the event was sold in our art sale. Longtime AACLC volunteer, Anita Ewing, donated her watercolor Shangri La, and it found a home with one of our tutor-assessors.

Special thanks to Lisa Vernon and AACLC volunteers Anita Ewing, Catie Comer, Drew Thimmesch, and Alec Bayne, as well as our staff for all of their help!


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Our first-ever virtual art sale was a success! Many thanks to the artists and donors who contributed. We raised over $2,300 to support AACLC’s free tutoring programs.

In other virtual news, we continue to train new tutors in this time of remote learning. Through ProLiteracy, the international adult literacy organization, we have access to online training modules. Since the spring, we have trained more than 30 new tutors.

Eight of our ten laptops are currently loaned to students so that they may connect with tutors, lessons, and resources. Smartphones have also been useful — many of our students do not have access to technology or the internet, thank you for your patience as we work hard to find ways to match tutors with students.

Please stay tuned to the Literacy Council’s Facebook page and our Instagram. We will continue to share news and updates there. We’re on Twitter and LinkedIn too.


Jane Seiss, Executive DirectorJane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
410-926-5797 (cell)
Post image for Student Update: Felita Thompson

Felita Thompson (the student) shares about her experience with remote learning.

“I started with my tutor, Pat Baker, in 2018 and here I am almost two years later. There have been times when I just wanted to give up and thought it was not worth it, but with her words of encouragement, my tutor gave me the push to keep going. Admitting to myself and to a stranger that I needed help was the hardest part. If you have a tutor you know what I’m talking about.”

“So for those of you who are striving to better your reading skills, your math skills, or just getting started this is what I have to say to you: ‘good, better, best.’ Never let it rest until your good is not just better, but is your best.”

“We meet by phone every week and have not missed a beat. But, I do miss the face-to-face.”

— Felita Thompson

AACLC Tutor Pat Baker

Tutor Pat Baker

Pat’s view (the tutor)

“Sometimes you have to look back to know the distance you’ve traveled. During the two years Felita and I have been working together, she has read 21 books and is about to embark on her 22nd book, Angela’s Ashes. These books run the gamut from the classics, to the modern novel, to biographies, to memoirs, and to best sellers. Sometimes I have to ‘run’ to keep up with Felita’s readings.”

“As James Baldwin said, ‘Read, read, read, never stop reading. And when you can’t read anymore . . . WRITE!’ And that is what Felita is now engaged in, writing a memoir.”

“So when I look back over the past two years, and I see all those new books lining my bookshelves, I smile, and wonder how many more books will line those bookshelves all because of Felita’s desire to read.”

— Tutor Pat Baker

Post image for Wendy Wellington New Tutor Coordinator

Wendy Wellington, AACLC Tutor Coordinator


Wendy talks about her work with the Council —

“I’ve always loved teaching and throughout my career in computers, I found many ways to teach, such as managing a small IT Help Desk, working as an Adjunct Faculty teaching user applications, and participating in a tutor program with a high school.”

“After a few years as a substitute teacher primarily in elementary schools, I decided to become a tutor for AACLC and have been impressed with the training and support they provide tutors. I have learned through the several students I’ve worked with just how difficult it is as an adult to play catch-up, whether it’s math or reading.”

“I find tutoring to be very rewarding and particularly like the challenge of fine-tuning the teachings to connect with a particular student and their needs.”

Welcome, Wendy!

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Conversations in Color Official Sponsor
Sandy Spring Bank

Sandy Spring Bank logo -- art sale sponsor

CLICK HERE for the event flyer

Conversations in Color Art Collage

Beautiful donated art featured on our Instagram gallery @aacoliteracy

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Please join us on October 7, 8, and 9 for AACLC’s first-ever virtual art sale! Local artists and collectors have donated pieces that we will feature in an online catalog.

All proceeds will support our free tutoring programs.

Conversations in Color goes live on Wednesday, October 7 at Browse and buy art on a first-come, first-served basis.

Major thanks to our event sponsor Sandy Spring Bank!

Preview art now on our Facebook page and in our Instagram gallery.

After the sale, volunteers will locally and safely curbside deliver art.

A huge thank-you to all of our donors!

Jane Seiss New AACLC Executive Director


Jane Seiss, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
410-926-5797 (cell)

Jane Seiss, Executive Director AACLC

Jane is a journalist by trade, an excellent communicator, and is well known and loved by all of you in her most recent role as tutor coordinator. She has integrity, passion for our cause, and a deep knowledge of the workings of our program. The Literacy Council will be well cared for with her leadership. Click below to view or download her resumé.

Jane Seiss Resume


Post image for Director’s Message: Farewell and Congratulations

After much deliberation, I have decided to turn over my executive director duties to Jane Seiss on September 16th. Jane is a journalist by trade, an excellent communicator, and is well known and loved by all of you in her current role as tutor coordinator. She has integrity, passion for our cause, and deep knowledge of the workings of our program. The Literacy Council will be well cared for with her leadership.

I have also identified a tutor coordinator to take Jane’s place. Her name is Diana Larmore, and she is interested in working with Jane to write and submit grants, which will be very helpful!

Tom and I will miss you, both as friends and as colleagues. Your passion for improving adult literacy in our community, your outstanding support for our students and tutors, and your generous sharing of time, talents, and funds have helped to bring us to where we are today.

Since I began serving as executive director in 2012, we have successfully expanded our services beyond basic literacy to now include math, GED, NEDP, ESL, and ASVAB instruction. The number of students served has also expanded from 27 in 2011, to 390 this past year. This would not be possible without the tremendous skills/talents, hard work, dedication, and support from supporters such as you, our volunteers, staff, and our outstanding AACLC executive board of directors. Also, during this time, my husband Tom has served on the board and worked tirelessly by my side to expand our free adult literacy and math services in Anne Arundel County.

Thank you for improving so many lives through literacy (and math!) these past 8 years. Tom and I have been blessed by each one of you. We will miss you and hope you will stay in touch by email (, by cell phone (301-523-6750), and/or by connecting with me through LinkedIn (

In friendship,

AACLC Executive Director Lisa VernonLisa Vernon, executive director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
301-523-6750 (cell)

Post image for Literacy is Empowerment: Spotlight on Tutor Stan Milesky

Stan Milesky and his student Ulysees lifelong friendship and learning bonds were formed twenty years ago and remain strong today. “Ulysees and I are good friends and still read together – twenty years this month. He is about to move back to South Carolina and we will continue to correspond via Zoom.”

In addition to tutoring, Stan served on the Anne Arundel Literacy Council’s Executive Board as President and Vice-President for 10 years and has enthusiastically supported the Council’s work for the past 2 decades.

“The memories of my association with the Council are among the things in my life that continue to give me joy and inspire me to continue to find a way to help. The ability to read is the starting point for engagement with our larger world. It is mind-boggling to me that so many people among us are unable to read at all, or are effectively illiterate and unable to grow, explore, and take advantage of the wondrous things our world and our time has to offer; to their own best advantage and as they otherwise might. Literacy is empowerment.”

To read more about Ulysses and his story, CLICK HERE.

Post image for Illiteracy To Voting Citizen: Ulysses’s Story

On November 4th, 2008, Ulysses Martin voted for the first time in his life. Ulysses was 57 years old. Ulysses and I had been partners in a student and tutor pairing for the past several years.

While Ulysees’ reading skills had grown much since he made the decision to learn to read, nothing so signified how much he had progressed as voting in his first presidential election. With that single act, he crossed over barriers, both real and imagined, and signaled to himself and the world around him that he had achieved something important, something long hoped for, something precious that he earned for himself and no one could take from him.

If Ulysses’ reading skills are still developing, his knowledge of world affairs, his interests, and his opinions were those of a mature 57-year-old man. We discussed and debated the campaign and news items of interest and importance. As the campaign progressed we discussed voter registration.

Ulysees was not a registered voter. He had never been a registered voter. If you cannot read, you are often excluded from many of the things people who read take for granted. Registering to vote became a part of our reading lessons and getting that first voter registration card a mark of special achievement. Voting in the election itself became the next great mountain waiting to be climbed and conquered.

After voting, we went to breakfast, and Ulysees told me, “We did it, our vote counted!” I believe at some level, that remark revealed a deeper, more fundamental connection to a community that he has often viewed from afar. In registering to vote and voting, Ulysees closed that gap and rightfully took a place in his community that he had long hoped for.

Tutor Stan Milesky