Volunteer Voice

Lincoln ABE – Mankato volunteer Jo Johnson has been volunteering in English language classes (ESL) for 17 years. She knew there was a need for adult literacy volunteers, and she was finally able to start volunteering after her retirement. Jo always suspected it would be a good volunteer opportunity for her, but she’s been pleasantly surprised by just how wonderful adult ESL has been.

When Karen Verburg worked for a family collaboration in six elementary schools in Mankato Area Public Schools, she served as a support between home and school and often knew adult ESL students as the parents of her elementary students. Since she retired from her long career in K-12, she has spent much of her free time volunteering with those parents, along with other adults, at the Mankato Area Adult Basic Education program.

Bob Adams has been volunteering at WEST Adult Basic Education - Monticello as a one-on-one English as a Second Language tutor for four years. He heard about the program through his wife, Thea, who is a long term volunteer as well.

By Kehinde Winful, Community Outreach Intern

“The best social service program in the world is a job,” a packed room of about fifty people, including myself, echoed back to President and CEO, Louis J. King II, of Summit Academy OIC in Minneapolis.

Jane Dorn is an English as a Second Language classroom volunteer in Saint Michael. She’s been volunteering for nearly six years and has worked in beginning through advanced levels. She loves seeing her students’ passion for learning, and, as a retired special education teacher, she loves that she is still able to affect so many lives through teaching. “While I was still working, I read for years about the need for volunteers in the Buffalo Hanover Montrose Community Education Bulletins.

My name is Kehinde Winful, and I am a Community Outreach Intern with the Minnesota Literacy Council this summer.

Last week I went to an outreach event at a local elementary school to share information about free classes for adults. After the event I began thinking of ways in which we can better reach and share information about classes with adults who do not speak English. This blog is a reflection of that thought process. It ends by sharing how volunteers can help us reach prospective, non-English speaking students.

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.

Kris Trelles has been volunteering at Centro Guadalupano in Minneapolis since she retired from her job teaching ESL in Minneapolis Public Schools. She started at Centro four years ago to fulfill the requirements of an Adult Basic Education teaching licensure program and has been volunteering there ever since. She decided to continue volunteering at Centro, rather than to take a paid position in a larger classroom, she says, because she likes the smaller classes and the informal and friendly structure.

“I enjoy life.” That’s the philosophy of this month’s Literacy Leader, Grant Stabenow.

 

Kristy Nielsen

A great teacher learns from their students. This month’s Literacy Leader, Kristy Nielsen, says she values her students because she is able to learn from them as much as they learn from her. Kristy is an ESL tutor at the Open Door Learning Center in Northeast Minneapolis. She’s been there for over a year and a half. On a typical day, she goes to her class right after work, with a prepared lesson plan, and doesn’t get home until after 9 p.m. She chose to teach beginning level ESL because she loves the liveliness of the large class size.

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