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Literacy Volunteers: How You Can Help
The Gift of Literacy
A Simple Gift with Enormous Results
Browsing about, via internet we can go most anywhere and search billions of sites that create for us, the World at our fingertips. It's a wonderfully amazing thing. Born and educated prior to the computerized blast of technology so prevalent and continually advancing for the past few decades, I am blown away even now, by the magnitude of it all.
In addition to all that this technology brings us, the writer feels especially powerful to have such advantages and benefit to our passion. What could be more wonderful for the word smiths of this world?
Just as we feel blessed with family and friends, having close ties with loved ones, we can feel a deep sadness when we become aware of all the people who have no one of any significance in their life. Likewise, If we have a love for reading and writing, we're in a world of bliss,where words are our tools,comfort and entertainment. Can we imagine an enormous void in our entire being, to be unable to read or write, thus understand the printed word? Many adults exist who deal with this void through little fault of their own.
In searching my heart for something of value to give, to share with others, in an effort to improve man's humanity to man, this question came to me in clear and simple terms. Just as clearly, my thoughts turned to the organization, Literacy Volunteers of America. Yes, of course this was it. I knew what to do.
Give a gift of your time & talents
Square One, Making the connection
Once we choose to make a commitment to give of our time and talents to help others, we search for a starting point. Taking that first step, making that first call, opens the door and it's full speed ahead from there.
You can locate Literacy Volunteers through any number of their centers by searching online, checking your Yellow Pages, or simply inquiring at your local Library. This is a high profile group with millions of leaders and supporters.
The responsibility of a volunteer is to tutor adults over 21 years of age, who have limited English skills. When you first volunteer your services, you may be required to complete some basic forms and/or meet with an LVA administrator for a personal interview. It may also be necessary for you to attend a standard training session, depending on the particular situation.
In any case, suffice it to say that you will be welcomed by LVA with open arms and much appreciation. As with any National Organization, volunteers are the heart of the system and always in demand. Bilingual individuals are an especially treasured candidate for volunteer tutoring.
Once a hopeful volunteer has been through the required initial process, LVA does an impressive job at matching students with their tutor. From this point, it is the responsibility of tutor and student to arrange their introduction, in order to meet face to face and determine how they will set up their schedule of classes. As with all efforts at education, there are a few standard rules to follow for both student and tutor.
Intermission: Interesting Video!
Comfortable, safe locations, conducive to literacy classes.
Classes should take place in a variety of public locations.
Within the majority of communities throughout the Nation, there are appropriate public facilities that are happy to provide the environment to accommodate Tutor-Student one-hour classes. In most areas, the local library is utilized for this purpose, although churches, schools and community centers can also be available.
In terms of the personal, as well as professional relationship between the LVA tutor and student, both must be committed to one full year of two, one-hour classes per week, at a minimum. Both must agree to show up each class day on time and always show mutual respect. The student must also be prepared to do homework assignments as given.
Each tutor may create their own unique teaching format and include whatever tools and materials to their avail, using their talents and imagination to make each session as fun and interesting as possible. If teaching is second nature to you due to your career, you're at an advantage. However, it's safe to say that anyone having volunteered with LVA, has a serious desire and affinity for teaching. This scenario can be an incredibly exciting and self-satisfying experience.
The Value, Fun, Purpose & Rewards
A Look inside the teaching sessions
It is with pride and pleasure I am able to share this with you, based upon personal experience. Since completing four years participation with the Big Brother/Big Sister Organization, several years back, I'd been contemplating becoming involved with another but different volunteer organization.
Literacy Volunteers of America had always called to me, but it was my involvement with our HubPages H.O.W. Mission that gave me the gentle push I needed to go forward. I cannot help but see the value of a literacy program to advance the goals of helping to make Humanity One World.
Try to imagine the heartwarming experience, of meeting an adult, who, for all intent and purpose, has shown up to their first day of English class, all excitement and jitters. It is a visible, tangible aura he/she displays, that you the tutor, offer a new path for them to literally improve the quality of their life. This is powerful.
It is important to understand that in my particular area of New York State, farmlands of every variety,span hundreds of thousands of acres. It is because of these farms that migrant farm workers are drawn to this area from not only Puerto Rico but also, this opportunity brings Mexicans who have obtained work visas. Most of these workers come with their families and reside in temporary housing provided by the farm owners.
Through the years, it has become a common practice, that while the men work the farms from sun-up to sundown, their wives will attend classes to learn the English language. They hope to not only learn well but also to bring what they have learned home to their husbands and children.
A 24 year old "Rosa," was my first student and what a joy was Rosa to work with. Not only eager and determined, she was a sweet, happy person. With my basic grasp of Spanish, combined with Rosa's collection of approximately 20 English words and a deck of picture cards I had printed up, we muddled through our first conversation.
I'm not sure I can adequately describe the pure joy of seeing Rosa's eyes light up and her big smile, each time she made a connection to an item from Spanish to English. She would hold the item for dear life and repeat the word over and over.
We have our third session this week and I am completely convinced at this point, I made a wise and rewarding decision to join LVA. I am already looking forward to taking on a second student since it seems within my comfort zone to donate a mere 4 hours per week to this end.
Would I encourage others to make an inquiry of Literacy Volunteers of America? Not only would I say, "absolutely," but I feel confident to promise you an exciting and satisfying experience. You are giving of your time,talent and concern for a fellowman, in an effort to assist them in their quest to improve their quality of life.
If this is not amazing and powerful, I'm not sure what might be. Adios, Amigos. Hasta Luego.