Literacy Volunteers on the Green in New Mlford recently enjoyed a packed house for its gala biennial, "Celebration of Literacy," at the Candlewood Inn in Brookfield.

The April 30 celebration for the New Milford-based organization drew nearly 200 supporters for live and silent auctions and music by D.J. James Romaniello of James Daniel Entertainment.

Founder Anne Maitland and vice president Carol McCarthy organized the event for the organization, which teaches literacy to Litchfield County residents.

Among the speakers was Jose Fernando C. De Aguiar, 25, of New Milford, who came to the United States three years ago with no English language skills.

He enrolled in a free Literacy Volunteers on the Green course taught by volunteer tutors, learned English and is now a student at Naugatuck Community College and works as an electrical technician.

Jose was recently elected to the board of Literacy Volunteers, a partnership group of the United Way.

"Without the help of LVG, I would be nowhere," Mr. De Aguiar told the guests. "They have given me the foundation I needed to start my life in the United States."

Sponsors for the event included lead underwriter, Union Savings Bank, along with Shred-it, Medical Instill Technologies, Inc. and Walmart of New Milford.

Additional support came from Bain Real Estate, Nicholas Tobin Insurance, Webster Bank, Ericson Insurance and Canterbury School.

Bidders took home a variety of prizes, ranging from rounds of golf at Bull's Bridge Golf Club and Lake Waramaug Country Club, a necklace from Tiffany & Co. of Westport, a cruise on Candlewood Lake, to giant sized baskets of Walkers Shortbread and selections of wines from Kent Wine and Spirit.

"There are an estimated 9,000 functionally illiterate people in Litchfield County," said LVG board president Allan Priaulx. "Our job is to help them fill that huge gap in their lives through basic literacy instruction."

LVG has worked for five years with people who are new to the United States, giving them the gift of the English language.

Twelve LVG students have become U.S. citizens.

For information, check www.lvg-ct.org, e-mail info@lvg-ct.org or call 860-355-0830.