Literacy tutors build connections
|A volunteer tutor meets with a student. Photo credit: Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut.
Thousands of foreign-born residents are better able to navigate their daily tasks and integrate into the community because they improved their English skills at the Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut. And the benefits also flow back to the volunteers. Being an English language tutor is an opportunity to meet new people and learn about another part of the world.
“You can get as much out of this experience as you want,” says Executive Director Tami Jackson. “Our tutors like learning about another culture. They like knowing what they are doing is helping someone integrate in to the community."
Formerly known as the Literacy Center of Milford, the 22-year old organization began as a satellite office of Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven. The organization serves non-English speakers in Milford and surrounding towns. China, Japan, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, and various South and Central American countries are just some of the places the students come from. In total, there are about 46 different languages spoken in Milford, according to Jackson.
|Cuisine from around the world is shared at Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut. Photo credit: Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut.
Literacy Volunteers serves adult students who come with a wide range of English language skills. Some need to start at the ABCs while others are looking to improve their skills in order to help children with homework or better navigate basic daily tasks in public, according to Jackson. The tutoring is offered at no cost to the students.
“My life has changed so much since I am taking English classes in the Literacy Volunteers program,” says a student named Alicia. “Now it is easier to speak with my kids' teachers. I can go to an appointment and not ask for an interpreter. I can help my kids with their homework. I can read mail that the hospital and others send to me.”
Literacy tutors are asked to commit for one year. After receiving training, they are matched with students and can arrange when and where their tutoring sessions happen. Tutors do not need to know the language of the students they are tutoring.
To learn more about Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut, visit its profile on giveGreater.org.
Did you Know?
Twelve percent, more than 56,000 people in Greater New Haven are foreign born, according to The Community Progress Report.
This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.