In honor of National Volunteer Week this month, we would like to recognize Mandy Cardinal, a very special literacy volunteer from our Open Door Learning Center - Northeast. Since Mandy Cardinal began volunteering at Northeast in August, she has been admired for her dedication, creativity, and sense of humor as a volunteer ESL teacher.
Our April Literacy Open Door Learning Center - North Side Leader, Cletus Maychrzak, is well-known to every student at the learning center. In the two years since Cletus started volunteering at North Side, he has worked in almost every class. His popularity and the deep impact he has made on his students, however, might be better explained by Cletus' passion for teaching and his enthusiasm in the classroom. When a student who attended Cletus' Science GED class over a year ago was asked, "When you think of science, what do you think of?" She responded, "I think of Cletus' laugh."
Every week for four days a week, Chris Montgomery arrives at the Open Door Learning Center - Rondo an hour early to work one-on-one with students before class begins. Then he assists in the set-up of his classroom and proceeds to spend the rest of the day co-teaching GED, monitoring practice tests, tutoring small groups, and mentoring students. A leader to all in his indefatigable energy and drive to support both his students and learning center, Chris has earned the distinction of being our March Literacy Leader.
We would like to congratulate Mary Gilbertson of Open Door Learning Center - Arlington Hills as our February Literacy Leader! Mary started volunteering as a teacher at Arlington Hills in October of 2012. However, she first began her work with ESL students early on in her career as a teacher in the ESL program at Highland Junior and Senior High in St. Paul. Mary appreciated these students' tenacity in the classroom and their eagerness to learn. "Looking back at that time," she says, "I believe I learned more from them than they learned from me." Inspired by her students at Highland, Mary decided to continue her work with ESL by becoming a Minnesota Literacy Council volunteer.
For over a year, Kathy O’Connor has worked as classroom assistant in Mary Pat Davini’s Computer Basics class at Goodwill Easter Seals. According to Mary Pat, however, Kathy is more than just a dedicated volunteer: “I can't stress enough how important this volunteer is to our Computer class at Goodwill!” Mary Pat says of her assistant. “If it weren't for Kathy O'Connor, simply said, it would not be possible for hundreds of adults to be successful in literacy and computer skills.” For going above and beyond in in supporting learners and staff alike at Goodwill East Seals, we would like to honor Kathy O’Conner as December’s Literacy Leader!
Three years ago, Corrine Mady stopped by the Adult Academic Program of Robbinsdale Area Schools and looked in on a classroom of ESL students. As she stood in the door and observed the students, Corrine knew instantly that this was where she wanted to volunteer. After countless hours of volunteering since that fateful day, Corrine has earned both the Literacy Council’s 2012 Outstanding Volunteer- Honorable Mention award and the honor of being November’s Literacy Leader.
Congratulations to this month’s Literacy Leader, Jim Kuhl, a volunteer Citizenship tutor at the District 518 Community Education program, in Worthington. Jim recently received the Literacy Council’s 2012 Outstanding Volunteer- Honorable Mention award after being nominated by Literacy Volunteer Coordinator Justin Stevenson.
This month’s Literacy Leader Jack Harris blew me away with his eagerness and genuine passion for tutoring. Jack has made himself indispensable at the Franklin Learning Center. Charming personality besides, you’ll be hard pressed to find another volunteer who has committed more time. Jack drives in from Hopkins four times a week and stays for two or three hours every time. He has volunteered for four years now and has dedicated over 1,000 hours. Jack, nonchalant about his commitment, reflects, “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it.” Tutoring has given Jack structure to his day, which he missed after retiring from the workplace as a school psychologist...
Congratulations to this month’s literacy leader, Norma Van Sickle! Norma began volunteering eight years ago after retiring as an English teacher at Fergus Falls High School. Norma says volunteering has impacted her because, “A person can read statistics about the number of adults who struggle with reading and writing difficulties. Volunteering has brought me literally face to face with the realities of this problem.” Norma volunteers on Monday afternoons, working with a small and diverse group of students on their reading competencies.
After studying at the International Education Center for two years, Mika Okamoto took on a new challenge: tutoring English to others. She has been volunteering for two and a half years now as a beginning ESL tutor.