Meet June's Literacy Leader - Dr. William Snyder!

Dr. William Snyder is an English professor at Concordia College who has contributed his teaching skills and expertise to adult literacy students by volunteering in the Moorhead Adult Basic Education program for the past 10 years. He volunteers Thursday mornings in an ESL classroom, where he and his students sit around a conference table and discuss a pre-selected news article. William does this so his students are more comfortable with colloquial and newer vocabulary, and so they are up–to-date on current events. He says, “I enjoy very much being in the presence of people who are from other cultures and countries. I enjoy teaching them slang, the various definitions and usages of individual words, and information that may help them with their continued development as New Americans.” Conversations often stray from the main topic, but are always rich and fun, says William. “I don’t really have a single best moment. I always enjoy the mutual appreciation we have between us—volunteer and students, when I leave each week”.

Tammy Schatz, Snyder's site coordinator, said this about William: "Although he is a humble man, Dr. Snyder has an undeniable passion for humanity. He empowers and engages the Moorhead Adult Basic Education English Language Learners while connecting them to the greater community.  One of my favorite examples of this was when he hosted a number of ABE students, staff, and his college students to present about the refugee experience at a Concordia College Symposium. It has been a pleasure to partner with such a multi-talented individual over the past decade.  He has shared his gifts of music, read-aloud his own poetry, guided students in writing their own poetry, played guitar and sung, and led conversations around current events.  We are grateful for this once in a lifetime volunteer!"

William’s volunteer work goes beyond what he is able to do himself. In many of his college courses, he actually requires his students to volunteer in an adult literacy program 90 minutes a week for the entire semester. He stresses the importance of diversity in his college classroom, and often gives presentations to introduce his students to new cultures and ideas. He has led Study Abroad programs to Malta, Tanzania, and India, among others. Except for 2012, he has led Rwanda: Service in the Heart of Africa—a program he developed—since 2009.

Professor Snyder has published poems, short fiction, and essays in over two hundred literary journals and magazines, nationally and internationally, including Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, Folio, Cottonwood, and Southern Humanities Review.

William’s passion for learning takes many shapes in his life, but his commitment to volunteering with adult literacy learners is what makes him a Literacy Leader. From everyone at the Minnesota Literacy Council, thank you, William!

 

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