Win is a one-on-one volunteer tutor at Read Muskegon in Muskegon Heights, MI. Read Muskegon strives to serve the 21,000 adults in Muskegon County who have low literacy by providing them with uniquely customized programs to meet the specific needs of learners.
Volunteers like Win really get to know the learners and are witnesses as the learning and transitions unfold. Here is a Q&A with Win:
Q: What inspired you to volunteer with an adult literacy program?
A: I took literacy for granted. When I found out how many adults struggle with functional literacy, I was both humbled and motivated to make a change.
Q: What is your favorite part about volunteering?
A: My favorite part about volunteering is being able to see the progress in my learner and knowing that his progress in literacy translates into confidence and well-being in so many other aspects of his life.
Q: Is there anything you have learned from the students and would like to share?
A: Yes. I've learned that volunteering one hour a week can make a vast difference in someone else's life and in my own. I've also learned that it's never too late to try learning something new.
Q: If you could send a message to all adult learners, what would it be?
A: Asking for help in learning to read, or improving the literacy skills that you already have, is such a brave thing to do. Working and trying to better yourself through education, despite the obstacles and frustrations, is such an admirable goal. I hope you're proud of the effort and progress that you're making. It's not an easy thing to do.
Q: If you could share your experiences as a volunteer with other volunteers, what would you tell them?
A: Tutoring an adult learner has taught me a lot about communication. If someone isn't understanding you, don't just repeat the same question or sentence. Rephrase your ideas. Communication is so much about how our minds see and hear things. Challenge yourself to see and hear things in ways you don't normally see and hear them. It will help you teach a greater diversity of learners, and you might learn something about yourself and your ways of thinking and learning in the process.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience as an adult literacy volunteer?
A: I'm just really glad to be helping another person learn. Learning is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm so glad I can help someone else experience the magic of unlocking knowledge too.