BEACON was founded in 1992 by Sister Eileen Heaps in response to the overwhelming adult literacy needs of the local immigrant community in Manassas City, Manassas Park, and Prince William County.
The Benedictine Sisters have always served the at-risk population in our community through Benedictine Education Assistance Community Outreach to Neighbors (B.E.A.C.O.N). Offering an affordable and accessible way to improve English literacy skills is the key to financial stability.
We draw from a wide range of volunteers and skills to help meet the needs of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Citizenship. We accommodate an average of 400 students and 130 literacy volunteers per year, and anticipate steady growth. While the majority of our students are Latino, BEACON’s classes have included individuals from over 49 different countries annual – from Turkey to Togo, from Italy to Indonesia.
Since our inception, we have served over 5,000 students. BEACON continues to expand core programs to reach out to an ever-growing immigrant population. Recent program expansion has included Citizenship preparation, conversation, computer literacy, financial literacy, and workforce development.
In acknowledgement of our program’s excellence and commitment, we have been recognized by numerous organizations for our contribution to adult literacy. BEACON has received the Virginia Department of Education’s Top CBLO Award, the Jeannie P. Baliles Award from the Virginia Literacy Foundation, and the Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Award of the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce.