Volunteer Voice

Linda (left) works with a learner at Adult Options in Education.

If you’re from the Midwest you know that April is a month of uncertainty. Will spring finally come? Or will it stay cold and snow another six inches before May? Though spring comes with uncertainty, one thing is certain-- the GED students of Adult Options in Education- St. Louis Park will blossom with the time and dedication of seven year-volunteer Linda Beck.

Ah, February; the month of Groundhogs Day, leap years, and maybe most importantly, Valentine’s Day. For many of us Valentine’s Day means showing those you care about that you appreciate them. When I initially emailed Mary Zamacona, coordinator at Open Door Learning Center - Arlington Hills, to ask if I could write this month’s Literacy Leader on Coral Berge her immediate response was, “That is wonderful news.

When I think of the New Year, like most people, I think of resolutions and goals; I’ll keep my desk organized or I’ll finally learn how to fix my sink. But for many adults in Minnesota and all over the country their resolutions and goals include learning how to use a computer. That’s where January’s Literacy Leader, Steve Burrill comes in.

To continue with last month’s theme of Literacy Leaders who received honorable mention from the Minnesota Literacy Council for the Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2013, we would like to highlight volunteer Michael Root and his service with Minneapolis Adult Education - South Campus. Being retired, Michael wanted to volunteer his time with an organization that promotes literacy and heard about Minneapolis Adult Education through a colleague that volunteered with the organization’s North Campus.

When searching for November’s Literacy Leader I was automatically steered to Jim Wheeler, a volunteer who received honorable mention from the Minnesota Literacy Council for the Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2013 for his time spent working with students at Metro South’s (formerly known as SHAPE) Bloomington location.

            This summer has been an amazing volunteer experience. In my position as Volunteer Outreach Intern at the Literacy Council, I worked mainly with recruitment, tabling at events and managing social media. Working with so many dedicated individuals and community organizations was a real pleasure, and I gained insight into the great system of educators in the Twin Cities area. As part of my internship, I had the privilege of visiting some of the centers in our volunteer community.

The Literacy Leader for August is Christie Roberts, a creative and passionate computer skills volunteer with Learner Web Computer Classes. Since she started volunteering last September, learners and volunteers have recognized Christie’s kindness, patience and energy in the classroom. JennaRose Bondeson, coordinator of the Learner Web classes, particularly appreciates Christie’s approach when dealing with ideas that are new to students.

Our Literacy Leader for July, Joe Schaedler, has been a volunteer at the International Education Center for over seven years. During evening classes at the IEC, Joe works as a teaching assistant, providing one-on-one tutoring to ESL students and leading small group reading activities. His flexibility and deep interest in education and language make him a great educator, but it is the personal touch that he brings to the classroom that makes Joe a truly exceptional volunteer.

Columbus Day
Written by Phat Le, Waite Park

Today we celebrate the date that Christopher Columbus and his crew set foot on the island of San Salvador in October, 1492 as the first traveler in the Americas. Christopher didn’t go to school to get education, but he has a lot of tutors in the navigation area who were proficient sailors. In the same way, Christopher Columbus’ tutors prepared him for his journey to the new world, Mr. Paul is preparing me for my life in the new country.

I was working with a group on students on numbers. When I showed a flashcard, a student would read the number.

On Thao’s turn, the flashcard showed a “5”.
He read the number: “fie.”
I corrected him: “five.”
He repeated: “fie.”
I emphasized the last consonant by exaggerating it: “fie VUH”.
Thao stated: “fie VUH.”

The next time around, Thao got the flashcard with a “12”.
He read the number: “twel.”
I corrected him: “twelve.”
He repeated: “twel.”


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