Volunteer Voice

“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.

At Goodwill’s FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project, Wednesday morning math lessons are filled with fun thanks to this month’s Literacy Leader, Anoop Mathur. What’s his secret to getting learners to enjoy math as much as he does? Anoop says it’s helping students understand how math affects their lives. “Many students are afraid of math. So I try not to just teach the fundamentals without any context, but make mathematics fun and necessary,” shares Anoop, who adds that he tries to get students to, “see the value of math in their everyday life.”

This month’s Literacy Leader, Pat Teskey, believes that helping newcomers is part of her civic duty as a Minnesotan. “I think it is the responsibility of our community to help immigrants and refugees feel welcomed,” she says. For five years, Pat has been volunteering in adult ESL classrooms at SouthWest Metro Intermediate District ABE program in Shakopee. She had previously worked with K-12 ESL students within public schools and wanted to work with adults after she retired.

This month’s Literacy Leader is Andrew Lauwagie, a volunteer at Cedar Riverside Adult Education Collaborative (CRAEC). Since May 2016, Andrew has been volunteering each Tuesday morning in a Level 1 ESL class. He gained an interest in teaching English while he was working in a family practice clinic in Minneapolis.

At Franklin Learning Center in Minneapolis, Thursday afternoons are brightened by the enthusiasm of Mary Drew. Her genuine interest in the students she’s tutored over the past year and a half instills confidence in them. Mary is a retired IT consultant who heard about adult literacy work through the Hennepin County Library. Having experience travelling abroad and a love for new knowledge of cultures, it was Franklin Learning Center (FLC) that was the right fit for her.

Summer Snapshot #2, 7 Years on Lake Street, is the second in a three-part series written by Minnesota Literacy Council volunteer Henry Hietala.

“The students at Katie’s table are always heard laughing—even when the content isn’t all that exciting,” according to her volunteer coordinator Kara Rotramel. This fall, Katie McAvoy celebrates 10 years as an adult literacy volunteer at Forest Lake Adult Basic Education. What has kept her coming back year after year? Read Katie's story.

For our third annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic, we collected thank you notes from Open Door Learning Center students and created a board to display their words. We wanted to be sure to share these words of gratitude with volunteers who could not make the picnic.

“It’s learning for my heart.” This is how LaRue Unglaube describes her experience as a math tutor at English Learning Center in Minneapolis. LaRue’s philosophy is reflected in her creative, encouraging and patient ways as a teacher.  

 

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