Share Your Voice: Abby

What is your name? Abby Yates

Where do you volunteer? Cedar Riverside Adult Education Collaborative (CRAEC) and the Minnesota Literacy Council main office

What is your volunteer role? Community Outreach Intern and ESL Classroom Helper

What is your favorite thing about volunteering? I have a passion for teaching and learning, and I find that when volunteering, I can do both. Volunteering in an adult ESL classroom allows me to assist students and give them personalized attention, while at the same time allowing me to learn from the students through our interactions.

What is something you've learned from a student? The students I work with are resilient and persistent individuals, and I admire their ability to overcome frustration and confusion when learning a new language. Many of my students are older, and seeing them come to class each week emphasizes the notion that it's never too late to learn something new to better yourself.

What is your motivation for volunteering? I am a student at the University of Minnesota, and for the past three years I have spent hundreds of hours on the campus' West Bank, blocks away from Riverside Plaza. I never had the inclination to walk through the plaza, or learn about its history or present conditions, even though I can see it outside my classroom windows. I wanted to volunteer specifically at CRAEC because I think it is easy to stay in the U of M bubble and not interact with the communities neighboring campus, and I wanted to break that bubble.

What is your favorite book and why? To be honest, I'm not much of a fiction-reader. (I love to learn about topics and people through non-fiction writing and biographies.) However, I will always cherish the Harry Potter series and plan on reading all seven books another time in the near future.


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.

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