Volunteer Voice

As a literacy volunteer, you are part of a dedicated, compassionate and creative community that is 3,655 strong. These are your stories.

Have a story of your own you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Simply fill out this form to share your voice, and we’ll highlight your experience in our monthly e-newsletter for adult literacy volunteers and here in the Volunteer Voice blog.

Journeys season is underway, and we received over 600 submissions from adult literacy programs all over the state! Our dedicated intern team is editing and designing the book. Thanks, teachers and coordinators, for helping learners write and prepare their submissions.

The number of authors in the printed Journeys 2016 has increased in the last several years. In 2014 and 2015 we included over 400 authors. In this year's edition we have 600 authors!


Susan began volunteering with literacy eight years ago after reading about it in a Minneapolis Community Education catalog. Since that time, she has supported students of varying ages and abilities as they improve their math skills and reach their educational goals.


Julie Johnson is a Lead Computer Skills Tutor at Open Door Learning Center - Midway, located inside the Ramsey County WorkForce Center in St. Paul, where she’s been volunteering for two years. With a background in Software Engineering and years of experience working in corporate IT, she shares her knowledge and skills with the community. For two days a week, she assists adult learners, many of whom are unemployed, gain skills to apply for jobs online, send and receive email, safely search the Internet, and learn Microsoft Office products.

Phyllis Klapwyk volunteers three days a week with English (ESL) classes at the West ABE (Adult Basic Education) program in Big Lake, Minnesota. She also tutors students who are preparing to pass the GED math test. We asked her how she got involved and why she volunteers. Here’s her story:


Evelyn Browne began volunteering at the International Education Center (IEC) when she moved to Minneapolis several years ago. She teaches English Conversation twice a week for an hour over lunch, a time when students learn about each other’s and U.S.

Mohamed Mohamed has been volunteering at Open Door Learning Center- Lake St. for quite some time. 1,212 hours to be exact. That is equal to 50.5 days of around the clock volunteering. Mohamed was originally a student at Open Door- Lake St. but gradually started volunteering while he attended class. After enrolling in college, Mohamed wanted to stay connected to Open Door so he began volunteering in the College and Career Preparation class.

Because Thanksgiving is upon us, we'd like to give thanks to the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time and passion to Adult Basic Education students all over the state. 

After retiring from an active career in the business world, Monica St. Germain found herself taking a suggestion from her husband and toured Learning In Style, an ESL program on 22nd and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. After her tour, Monica began volunteering one morning and one afternoon a week. Quickly, after seeing that the need of the learners and school was so great, she began coming in three mornings and one afternoon.

What do you think of when you see the word volunteer? Do you think of a nice, retiree who now has some spare time on her hands? Do you think of a busy college student trying to fit in some extra service-learning hours? Or maybe you thought of a busy professional who is trying to make a difference in the world. But, did you think of a former student?

After her move from Rochester to Brooklyn Park in 2012, Kate Reinicke started her job hunt. As many of us know, finding a job isn’t always a walk in the park. To fill the void, Kate decided that volunteering would be a good use of her time and skills. After logging into Volunteer Match and finding an Adult Basic Education posting, Kate found herself at Metro North ABE- Brooklyn Center Community Corner.



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