Post image for GED/Math Coordinator Dr. Perinaaz Gandhi

AACLC has set up a partnership with the Army Recruitment Centers in Annapolis and Glen Burnie to help their applicants pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test; a prerequisite to enlist in the various branches of the Armed Forces including the Coast Guard and Police. Our tutors began preparing these applicants in high-school level Math, Science and English when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, shutting down our meeting locations including libraries and coffee shops. The only option left was to tutor students online.

Despite the shutdown and social distancing rules put in place for everyone’s safety, our volunteers have found ways to continue to help out-of-school adults pursue their dreams and further their education. They have been able to connect with their students once or twice a week to maintain continuity in their tutoring sessions. Video chat platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom or Google Hangouts have worked well to have a face-to-face conversation while homework and online resources are shared via email. GED tutor Susann Felton has begun tutoring her student Pernell Matthews, a young aspiring army recruit, via Zoom three to four times a week. They both have the same ASVAB textbook which makes it easier to communicate and share classwork and homework.

Pernell is very appreciative of the support he is receiving. His goal is to maximize his score to allow the best options when he enlists as soon as the quarantine is lifted. Pernell says, “Distance tutoring via Zoom is allowing me to maintain the pace and improve my knowledge base prior to taking the exam. I needed to brush up my math skills and increase my vocabulary. The discipline of tutoring is assuring both!”

See also Tips for Virtual Tutoring

Post image for Distance Learning Using Zoom and a Smartphone

Tutor Jill Berie


“Because of social distancing restrictions, I am now using the Zoom format for tutoring my student Brosha. I was worried that it would not work well because Brosha only has access to a Smartphone. But, amazingly, our initial session went very well. In fact, I think this new format may be even better for us. Brosha is more physically comfortable, less self-conscious and more focused.

As a result of Brosha’s increased comfort level, I found I slowed my pace, and increased the complexity of the questions I asked of her.”

BASICS​ for Zoom​:

  • Tutor sets up a free Zoom account.
  • Student downloads app on phone, or sets up ​a ​student with Meeting ID and Password.
  • Student joins the meeting.

Note: In a 1:1 meeting, there is no time limit.

(Because ​my student​ does not use email, I texted her the Meeting ID and Password.)

There are literally hundreds of online video tutorials for Zoom that would be helpful to tutors. There are also other platforms including Google, Microsoft, Skype, etc. but Zoom seems to be easy to use and has lots of features.

​This link​ might be useful to​ tutors​.​ ​

See also Tips for Virtual Tutoring

Post image for Maria and Tutor Karen Calhoun

“I live in Pennsylvania for part of each year. As a result, for the past two years, during the months I’ve been away from Anne Arundel County, my ESL student Maria and I have been doing our lessons virtually.

Our tools and methods have been simple. I have emailed the lessons and homework assignments ahead of class. My student has taken pictures of completed work with her phone, then texted those photos back to me. We have talked about the materials that we’ve exchanged with each other during a weekly two-hour online FaceTime call.

I should also say that my student is accustomed to working with a laptop and smartphone, has a reliable WiFi connection at home, and has basic proficiency with a variety of online applications and tools.

Another lesson learned during this time may be worth sharing with AACLC tutors—now more than ever, it’s important to be resourceful, patient and kind. What a crazy time we are all living through!”

See also Tips for Virtual Tutoring

Tips for Virtual Tutoring

April 20, 2020

Post image for Tips for Virtual Tutoring

AACLC is uniquely positioned to address the current needs of those who find themselves unemployed and lacking literacy and/or math skills to qualify for new employment. Working one-on-one with a caring, trusted, and skilled tutor can enable learning during times of transportation, scheduling, and life challenges, and the tutor can adjust learning sessions when needed.

AACLC volunteers are also adapting to the online learning challenge for our students during times when social isolation is required. Please take a moment to click the links below and see how tutors Karen Calhoun and Jill Berie have adapted technology to continue tutoring during times of physical separation from their students, and read an update from Dr. Perinaaz Gandhi on how online platforms are assisting the tutoring of our math and science students.

Oprah quote about teachers

Letter of Support: HACA

April 20, 2020

Post image for Letter of Support: HACA

HACA letter

Post image for Director’s Message April 2020

As an AACLC volunteer and/or supporter, you have provided 350 low-income adults and out-of-school youth with free books, tutoring, and assessments this past year, allowing them to achieve personal goals of jobs, better-paying jobs, GEDs, passing the ASVAB tests, and improving the quality of their lives and those of their families. You are a hero and champion for these students and we salute you!

Much has been achieved this past year and there is so much to celebrate! Please be sure to read the letters of support from the U.S. Army Recruitment Center, the Housing Authority City of Annapolis (HACA), the Chrysalis House for Women, the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), and the Jennifer Rd. Detention Center. They are all thanking you for improving the lives of their clients. Their letters of support are featured elsewhere in our blog, and can be read by enlarging your screen.

Here are a few comments from our partners. “For several years now the AACLC has been an extraordinary partner of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis…serving the 790 units of residents of the Authority.” “With the help of this Council we are able to bridge the gap and provide young men and women the opportunity they deserve but can’t yet obtain. We are able to provide careers for those who would otherwise live job to job. A foundation for the future. This is made possible due to the great partnership the Council has provided.”

“The partnership between AACLC and the National External Diploma (NEDP) has resulted in something quite beautiful here in Anne Arundel County. Most of the NEDP clients I have worked with have suffered a chronic lack of support when it comes to education…AACLC tutors make it possible for them to experience success.” “To be able to offer your services to nonprofits like the Chrysalis House and to our clients without a fee is truly a gift. I have observed the interaction between your tutors and our clients and it is really special. One of our current clients is receiving your tutoring services with her nine-year-old daughter side-by-side.”

You are incredible!
Warmest regards,
AACLC Executive Director Lisa VernonLisa Vernon, Executive Director
Anne Arundel County Literacy Council
301-523-6750 (cell)
Post image for AACLC is 2020 Award-Winner!

We recently received the following exciting email message:

Congratulations! Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, Inc. has earned a spot on the 2020 Top Rated List! Your community has shared their inspiring stories about your work. We congratulate you on all of your accomplishments. 

You’ll be featured on our site, our 2020 Top-Rated List, and distributed to media and corporate foundations. The official 2020 Top-Rated List will be announced after October 31.

Be sure to use your new Top-Rated badge and share the good news.  Keep up the good work!

AACLC is one of the first winners of a 2020 Top-Rated Award from  GreatNonprofits, Read inspiring stories about us and add your own!


Support the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council with a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from Your IRA

QCDs satisfy the required minimum distribution for donors age 70-½ or older.

What is a qualified charitable distribution?

A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is a distribution of funds from your IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE IRA) directly to a qualified charitable organization, such as the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council. Because the gift goes directly to a charity without passing through your hands, it does not incur income tax. You can make QCDs totaling up to $100,000 each tax year.

To learn more about QCDs, please visit »

Who can make a qualified charitable distribution?

QCDs can be made by anyone age 70½ or older who is required to take minimum withdrawals from their IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE IRA). If you are subject to the required minimum distribution this year and do not need some or all of that money for personal use, consider making a QCD. You will satisfy your distribution requirement, not incur any tax obligations, and support the work of the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council all at the same time!

To learn more about eligibility, please visit »

How do I make a qualified charitable distribution to the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council?

Your QCD must be made directly from your IRA custodian to the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council on your behalf.

For more information, call our Executive Director, Lisa Vernon, at 410-269-4419 or use this website’s Contact Form today!

Post image for A Day At The National Portrait Gallery

My student and I share a love of art, so we decided to use one of our tutoring sessions to visit the National Portrait Gallery at 8th St NW in Washington, DC.

We traveled by the MARC train to Union Station. It was a sunny crisp day, so we walked to the gallery. Along the way, we heard the bells ring from the Robert Taft Carillon and saw the monument of General Meade. We visited Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House.

The Petersen House offers visitors an opportunity to see a three-story high stack of books written about our famous 16th president. Once at the portrait gallery we viewed an exhibit of Matthew Brady photographs of Civil War women, a special exhibit dedicated to the life of contralto Marian Anderson and the collection of presidential portraits.

My student was particularly interested in the portraits of Presidents Jackson, Monroe and Roosevelt. Venturing further into the gallery we had the opportunity to see the conservation and preservation department.

We spoke with a conservationist to better understand the work involved in repairing and safeguarding the art entrusted to the gallery. Our field trip afforded us the opportunity to discuss the art we were looking at and to enjoy a day of English as a Second Language lesson.

-Tutor Sandy Deeds

Post image for Student Success: Charlene Renaud
Left to right: April Cleckner, Charlene Renaud, and Bonnie Wright


Charlene expresses thanks and appreciation to tutor Bonnie Wright and her good friends and biggest supporters Bea Colesmith and April Cleckner who told her about the Literacy Council.

“Charlene has been my student for three years. She couldn’t read when we first started but was eager to learn and a hard worker. Charlene’s goal was to read her Bible in her Bible study group and she was quite motivated to succeed.

Charlene began by learning the letters of the alphabet and came to understand how the sounds of the letters combined to make words. Charlene made steady progress and her self-confidence grew. We tried to make learning relevant and had some happy victories along the way. One terrific example is the first time she was able to read a birthday card from her son!

Charlene Renaud, AACLC student

AACLC Student Charlene Renaud

Charlene can now read a menu in a restaurant and order what she wants. She can read street and building signs when she is out and understand the writing on items in a store when she is shopping. She reads the notices and signs posted by management in her building, and she can write her own checks.

Things most people would take for granted have been hard-won for Charlene. She is deservedly proud of meeting the challenges of the last three years and all the hard work it took to get where she is today. She is a wonderful example to others that they also can do what was thought impossible.”

– Tutor Bonnie Wright