A Special Message to Adult Literacy Volunteers from ProLiteracy’s Co-Founder, Ruth Colvin
Posted by Jessica Gilmour on May 05, 2020 in categoryWomen's EmpowermentcategoryAdvocacycategoryMember Tips

To all literacy volunteers,

As you look back to when I started LVA (now ProLiteracy) in 1962, we ALL were volunteers. You and I have continued to be volunteers, but we are fortunate to have dedicated staff and boards supporting us.

Our main goal is to change our students’ lives by teaching them to read and speak English. But a big surprise—YOUR and MY lives have been and continue to be changed by our contact with our students.

As volunteers, you and I have met people of other languages, other religions, races, ages, genders, some well educated, some with no education—for it’s lifelong learning. I understand some of you have quickly adapted and are continuing teaching by phone, Skype, or Zoom.

May I suggest all of you do keep in contact with your students—perhaps only a phone call every week. You might suggest your student write one or several sentences a day telling what he or she did that day, the start of a journal which he/she will enjoy reading years from now. Or practice English together over the phone or smartphone. Or, you may have other ideas to share with the other volunteers. I’d like to hear your stories, how you're doing with your students during these tough times.

You might enjoy my book, coming out at ProLiteracy in a few weeks: “My Travels Through Life, Love, and Literacy—Over 100 Years in the Making.” Yes, I’m 103, and looking back, I have found that seeds were planted in my early life to make me the person I am. A chapter on how I started LVA, the secrets to my longevity, 40 international stories that impacted my life, and much more.

I hope you’ll look back on your own early life, seeing why YOU are the person you are and why you continue to teach and keep an open mind. 

Thank you for continuing to support and to teach for ProLiteracy. We need you and your students need you. 

My best to each of you.



Ruth Colvin


PS If you wish to share your stories or ideas of helping students, please email Michele Diecuch and she will convey all messages to me.



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