The Volunteer’s Perspective: What Helping Out Means to Them
Posted by Jennifer Vecchiarelli on April 27, 2017 in categoryStories from the Field

For national volunteer week, we have asked some adult literacy programs to share their stories with us about their inspirational and hard-working volunteers. 

The individuals who volunteer their time to teach adults to read are helping to change the world one learner at a time, and they should be recognized for their dedication.

The Literacy Connection in Elgin, Illinois, is dedicated to providing one-on-one tutoring to basic literacy learners and English language learners of all ages, nationalities, and economic and social backgrounds. Volunteer tutors at Literacy Connection help men and women who want to fit in in society, expand their communication skills, get jobs or enhance current work performance, and improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Here are the stories of three inspiring volunteers at Literacy Connection.

Dolly’s Story

For 20 years, Dolly was interested in helping out at the Literacy Connection program but she didn’t have the free time to do so. After retirement, she now had the free time and her passion to help others led her to become a volunteer tutor at Literacy Connection to help adults with basic literacy skills. 

According to Dolly, tutoring requires a lot of patience, time, and encouragement. One of her students wanted to get his driver’s license for his job, but he could not speak fluent English. Ultimately, Dolly purchased a driver’s manual and worked with him by applying basic vocabulary from the book to their tutoring sessions. When he took the test the following week, he passed. 

One of the things Dolly enjoys most about being a tutor is connecting with people and getting to know them. For Dolly, the tutoring experience is gratifying and satisfying because she is helping so many fantastic individuals achieve their goals.

Forrest and Peg’s Story

Tutors Forrest and Peg go the extra mile to help adults gain basic literacy skills.

The duo aims to build and maintain strong relationships with their students. It is difficult for their non-native English learners to communicate, and they believe that their style of tutoring helps students feel more confident and determined to achieve their literacy goals. 

Forrest and Peg take Spanish classes so they can more easily communicate with their students, who are mostly Hispanic. It also helps them improve their tutoring by helping them understand their students’ literacy goals. This has resulted in students feeling more comfortable interacting with Forrest and Peg, and ultimately achieving a successful learning experience. 


Vivienne’s Story

Vivienne believes that if people have free time on their hands then they should help out in their community any way they can. 

Vivienne was employed as a speech therapist for 33 years. For the majority of her career, she worked with children from kindergarten through eighth grade. After retiring, Vivienne looked for a way to continue applying her speech therapy skills while helping her community.

By volunteering at Literacy Connection, Vivienne feels good about herself, and her health because it has helped her develop new social skills.

Are you an adult literacy volunteer or want to be one?

 Want to share your story as a volunteer or the stories of volunteers at your program?  If you have a volunteer story that you want to share, please send an email to Are you interested in helping adults gain literacy skills? Learn more about how you can get involved. 



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