ABE Volunteer Management Conference

VMC logos

2017 ABE Volunteer Management Conference

We are pleased to be able to offer the 2017 Volunteer Management Conference (VMC) as the pre-conference to the national Conference on Adult Literacy, sponsored by ProLiteracy. It will be followed by the ProLiteracy Conference Opening Reception and Vendor Fair. 

This event is for both new and experienced adult literacy volunteer coordinators (and any other ABE professional staff who work with volunteers). For questions about the conference, please contact Wendy Roberts, Volunteer Outreach Manager, wroberts@mnliteracy.org or Cathy Grady, Literacy Services Director, at cgrady@mnliteracy.org

When: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Radisson Blu at Mall of America, 2100 Killebrew Dr, Bloomington, MN 55425

Cost: $40 registration fee

To register: Visit the VMC registration page. Choose ABE Volunteer Management Conference from the drop down menu under Registration Type.

Minnesota residents: If you are traveling more than 50 miles for the conference, please contact Wendy: wroberts@mnliteracy.org for hotel arrangements.

Session descriptions:

Worthwhile Tasks for Volunteer Classroom Assistants | Burgen Young, Instructional Manager, Minnesota Literacy Council

Volunteer classroom assistants are strong advocates for adult learners in their communities, but finding worthwhile tasks for them can be challenging. Join us to learn about a process that generates meaningful tasks to help volunteers feel needed (because they are!) and answers the question, “What can I have my classroom assistant do?” We’ll share examples and brainstorm additional tasks.

Volunteer Management Basics | Cathy Grady, Literacy Services Director, Minnesota Literacy Council

In this session, we will discuss the basics of the volunteer management process, including volunteer recruitment and onboarding, managing risks, giving feedback, and providing support and recognition. We will also discuss ways to address concerns and deal with unexpected volunteer behavior. If you're a new or new-ish volunteer coordinator (or teacher/manager who has responsibility for volunteers), this is the place for you!

Making Minnesota Home | Patricia Fenrick, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Part presentation and part simulation, this training presents information on Minnesota programs that support refugee integration and a simulation to help participants understand the experience of refugees with action suggestions for supporting refugees.

Empowering Volunteers to Become Advocates | Jenne Nelson, Program Director, English Learning Center

Are you tired of hearing negative portrayals of people like your students in the media? Who better to advocate for our learners than their teachers and classroom volunteers? Practice sharing the stories of hard work, resilience and kindness that you experience with your learners day to day. Disrupt the harmful stereotypes of who your students are and learn to empower yourself, your volunteers and coworkers to be louder positive voices and advocates in your community.

Adventures in Working Across Cultures | Patricia Fenrick, Minnesota Department of Human Services

This interactive training deals with challenges often encountered when working cross-culturally.  How we view and understand the world is not the same for everyone! Our background and cultural experience impacts our communication and affects our interaction and how we interpret what is happening in a situation.  This training will give participants a framework to approach others who have diverse life experiences and tools to navigate these cultural differences with respect, humor and curiosity.

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Gift Card: Free and Low-Cost Ways to Say Thanks to Volunteers | Rob Podlasek, Training Director, Minnesota Literacy Council

Saying “thank you” is a key to volunteer persistence.  Come learn and share a variety of easy, free or low-cost strategies to make volunteers feel welcome, appreciated and needed.

Community Advocacy Toolkit for Volunteers in ABE | Ellie Purdy, Minnesota Literacy Council & Michelle Short, English Learning Center

Representing the Volunteer Engagement Committee of Minnesota’s Literacy Action Network

The Literacy Action Network Volunteer Engagement Committee created a Community Advocacy Toolkit, a new resource to support volunteers as they advocate for their learners and for literacy. In this session, we will share the toolkit, talk about how it can be used in your program and swap volunteer advocacy stories. Participants in this session will receive the Volunteer Advocacy Toolkit.

Risk Management: When Volunteers Require Extra Attention | Debbie Cushman, Associate Director, Minnesota Literacy Council

Most volunteers bring commitment, passion and expertise but sometimes we need to more actively manage – or even end – a volunteer’s relationship with our organization. In this session, we will talk about those times when volunteers surprise you by not fulfilling their role. We’ll consider cases of poor match, poor performance and misplaced enthusiasm.

Trends in Volunteerism…how will they affect your program? | Rob Podlasek, Training Director, Minnesota Literacy Council

Remember the good old days when someone would volunteer for your program and stay for YEARS? Times have changed and people are approaching volunteerism with a different mindset. Come learn about current (and future) trends in volunteerism and discuss how your literacy program can capitalize on these trends.

The Power of YET: How Volunteers Can Help Foster a Growth Mindset in Adult Learners | Stephanie Sommers, Minneapolis Adult Basic Education and Theresa Luther-Dolan, Minnesota Department of Corrections

Is intelligence a fixed trait or is it something that can be developed? In this hands-on session, we will explore the difference between fixed and growth mindsets, and how they relate to educational achievement. You will identify the mindset characteristics in yourself and the adult learners with whom you work. The presenters will talk about the research of leading mindset psychologist Carol Dweck, and how to apply this research to improve learning outcomes.

Resources to Train and Support ESL Volunteer Teachers | Andrea Echelberger, ESL Training Coordinator, Minnesota Literacy Council

Volunteer teachers bring a wide variety of skills and teaching experience into the ESL classroom, which can make training and ongoing supervision a challenge. This session will share newly developed resources, including classroom activity videos and small-group pull-out kits, for training and increasing the teaching skills of ESL volunteer teachers.

Doing More With Less:  High Impact, Low Effort Professional Development for Tutors | Alison Austin, Program Manager, Washtenaw Literacy, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Participants will discover, brainstorm and plan ways to provide tutors and other staff with professional development that is high impact and low effort.  Session will include demonstration and some planning time to ensure that you go home able to immediately implement professional development for tutors in a small agency or staff. Session will be workshop style with no prior knowledge or experience required.


To receive monthly email newsletters with information about upcoming events, contact Wendy: wroberts@mnliteacy.org

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