ArticlesBlog

Literacy Volunteers | An Organization That Changes Lives One Word at a Time.

Literacy Volunteers | An Organization That Changes Lives One Word at a Time.


>>RHONDA JACKSON: YOU NEED TO HELP A PERSON WHO REALLY WANTS TO LIVE HERE TO BE PRODUCTIVE. IT’S JUST A WIN-WIN SITUATION.>>STEVE CHURCH: CONFIDENCE IS THE BIGGEST THING. A LOT OF THEM CAN SPEAK ENGLISH BUT THEY’RE AFRAID TO TRY.>>TERRI ALLARD: TODAY WE’RE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES FREE ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION TO ADULTS IN OUR COMMUNITY TO HELP THEM REALIZE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL AS INDIVIDUALS, CITIZENS AND PARENTS. JOIN US AS WE CATCH UP WITH ELLEN MOORE-OSBORNE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WITH LITERACY VOLUNTEERS OF CHARLOTTESVILLE-ALBEMARLE. COME ON!>>MARY WHITTLE: CAN YOU WRITE HOLIDAY OR CELEBRATION IN THERE?>>KHADIJA HEMMATI: CELEBRATION>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: LITERACY VOLUNTEERS IS HERE BECAUSE WE WANT TO TEACH INDIVIDUALS IN THE AREA HOW TO READ, WRITE AND SPEAK THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.>>TERRI ALLARD: AND WHO DO YOU SERVE?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WE SERVE A VARIETY OF PEOPLE. MANY ARE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE WHO ARE FROM 41 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES WHO SPEAK 38 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. AND WE ALSO SERVE SOME NATIVE BORN PEOPLE WHO ARE LEARNING TO EITHER READ OR WRITE, SOMEHOW THEY MIGHT HAVE MISSED OUT ON HIGH SCHOOL OR MAYBE THEY’RE RETIRED AND IT’S TIME FOR THEM TO LEARN TO READ THE DAILY PROGRESS OR ANYTHING THAT THEY’RE INTERESTED IN.>>TERRI ALLARD: THAT’S SO GREAT AND THE PROGRAMS ARE JUST FOR ADULTS RIGHT?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: YES. WE ONLY SERVE ADULTS.>>TERRI ALLARD: WELL, HOW DOES SOMEONE QUALIFY?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WELL, ONE OF THE MAIN QUALIFICATIONS IS THAT WE SERVE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO STAY IN THE AREA.>>TERRI ALLARD: OKAY, YEAH, THEY’RE FROM THE AREA. THEY LIVE OR WORK HERE, RIGHT?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: RIGHT, THEY LIVE AND WORK HERE IN THE CHARLOTTESVILLE-ALBEMARLE AREA OR ANY OF THE CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES CLOSE BY. IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO COME HERE AND GET SERVICES.>>TERRI ALLARD: OKAY.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: AND THEN WE WILL TEST THEM TO FIND OUT THEIR LEVEL. WHETHER ITS THEIR ENGLISH SPEAKING LEVEL OR READING LEVEL SO WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE STARTING.>>TUTOR: MEASURING>>STUDENT: MEASURING SPOON.>>TUTOR: MEASURING SPOONS. WHAT ARE THESE?>>STUDENT: MEASURING CUP.>>TUTOR: VERY GOOD. MEASURING CUP.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WE RECRUIT AND TRAIN VOLUNTEERS WHO AGREE TO WORK ABOUT TWO HOURS A WEEK FOR A WHOLE YEAR WITH AN INDIVIDUAL WHO REALLY WANTS TO LEARN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE TO BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT. MOST OF OUR STUDENTS COME TO US BECAUSE THEY ARE HAVING TROUBLE FUNCTIONING IN THE COMMUNITY EITHER THEY CAN’T READ WELL ENOUGH OR THERE’S A LANGUAGE BARRIER FOR WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT THEY WANT TO WORK ON, WE WILL FIND OUT THEIR PERSONAL GOAL IS, WHAT PART OF THEIR LIFE THEY WANT TO IMPROVE AND THEN WE WILL MATCH THEM WITH A VOLUNTEER TUTOR WHO HAS BEEN TRAINED. WE TRAIN THE TUTORS VERY WELL SO THAT THEY KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT AND THEY ARE PREPARED FOR JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THAT COMES ALONG.>>RHONDA JACKSON: WE HAD A ONE DAY SESSION AND I’M LIKE, WHAT CAN THEY TEACH YOU IN ONE DAY? BUT IT WAS ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT. YOU DO SOME PREP WORK FOR YOUR CLASSES, OF COURSE, BUT IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK AND TO HELP SOMEONE.>>MOHAMMAD KARIM MOTTAGHI: I AM FROM IRAN. I COME HERE TO IMPROVE MY ENGLISH. NOW I PASS THE ESL 12 AND ESL 13 BUT I START IN THE ENGLISH 111.>>TERRI ALLARD: SO GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO WHEN THEY’RE TRAINED, WHAT HAPPENS?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WE GET TO KNOW OUR TUTOR DURING THE TRAINING SESSION, WE GET TO KNOW THEM A LITTLE BIT AND FIND OUT WHAT THEIR INTERESTS ARE. SOME PEOPLE WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NATIVE TO THE AREA, SOME PEOPLE REALLY HAVE A DESIRE TO KNOW SOMEBODY FROM A DIFFERENT CULTURE SO WE GET TO KNOW THE TUTOR, WE TRAIN THEM AND THEN WE MATCH THE TUTOR WITH WHAT THEIR INTERESTS ARE AND WITH A STUDENT THAT KIND OF MATCHES THAT INTEREST. A LOT OF TIME IT’S I WANT TO WORK WITH SOMEONE WHO’S FIRST LANGUAGE IS SPANISH OR THEIR FIRST LANGUAGE IS FARSI, ANY OF THOSE TYPES THINGS, WE TRY AND MATCH THE TUTOR’S INTEREST WITH THE STUDENTS WE HAVE AVAILABLE. AND WE ALWAYS HAVE STUDENTS AVAILABLE, USUALLY WE HAVE 20 TO 40 ON OUR WAITING TO BE MATCHED WITH A TUTOR.>>KHADIJA HEMMATI: I LIVED IN AFGHANISTAN, NO CLASS NO SCHOOL NO WORK NO UNIVERSITY NO LEARNING ANYTHING. NO. NOTHING. AND NOW I TRY FOR LEARNING EVERYTHING.>>MARY WHITTLE: WE HAD TO TALK ABOUT GOALS. DO YOU WANT TO GET A BETTER JOB, WHAT IS IT? WE HAD TO SAY TO OUR STUDENT, WHY ARE YOU HERE. AND SHE SAID I WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE AND I WANT ALL FIVE OF MY CHILDREN TO GO TO COLLEGE. SO I THINK WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEBODY WITH THAT KIND OF AMBITION AND DRIVE AND OPTIMISM AND HOPE THERE’S NO LIMITS.>>TERRI ALLARD: WHILE THEY’RE ON THE WAITING LIST THEY’RE STILL WORKING TOWARD THEIR GOAL, RIGHT? TALK ABOUT THAT.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: YES. WE HAVE SEVERAL THINGS THAT WE DO WITH THEM WHILE WE GET TO KNOW THEM BECAUSE WE WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE COMMITTED TO THE PROGRAM SO WE WILL PUT THEM ON A COMPUTER LANGUAGE PROGRAM LIKE ROSETTA STONE OR THERE’S A COUPLE OTHERS AND DURING THIS TIME WE GET TO SEE IF THEY MAKE THEIR APPOINTMENTS, IF THEY’RE COMMITTED TO ACTUALLY IMPROVING, SHOWING UP. WE ALSO HAVE SOME CONVERSATION GROUPS WHERE, THESE ARE GROUP SITUATIONS WHERE PEOPLE WHO DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH AS A FIRST LANGUAGE WILL GET TOGETHER AND PRACTICE PRONUNCIATION. THEY CAN LEARN SOME BASIC THINGS LIKE DAYS OF THE WEEK AND WEATHER AND HOLIDAYS AND BASIC THINGS THAT NEED TO BE CONVERSATIONAL WITH EACH OTHER IN THIS COMMUNITY.>>TERRI: THAT’S GREAT. AND HOW MANY STUDENTS DO YOU HAVE THIS YEAR, ARE YOU HAVING?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: SO, WE WILL SERVE 450 THIS YEAR.>>TERRI ALLARD: AND HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: SO WE HAVE 350 VOLUNTEERS, SO THERE’S A LITTLE BIT OF MISMATCH.>>TERRI ALLARD: SO YOU ALWAYS NEED VOLUNTEERS.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: AND STUDENTS WILL STAY FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME, WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO COME AND LEARN SOMETHING SIMPLE — WELL, SIMPLE TO US. THEY JUST WANT TO LEARN ENOUGH TO PASS A DRIVER’S LICENSE TEST. ,WELL, MAYBE THAT TAKES SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS. AND SO WE GET IN, WE ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR GOAL, WE MATCH THEM WITH A TUTOR WHO WILL HELP THEM MEET THAT GOAL AND THEN THEY MAY BE DONE AND THEN THAT FREES UP THE TUTOR FOR THEIR NEXT MATCH. BUT OUR REAL GOAL IS TO MOVE THEM TO THE NEXT EDUCATIONAL STEP, WHETHER IT’S A CLASS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE-ALBEMARLE OR TO PVCC.>>STEVE CHURCH: WE JUST HAD A GUY IN HERE WHO WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW HE MISSED OUT IN LIFE ON THE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN TO READ AND NOW I GUESS HE’S IN HIS 50S AND HAVING A GREAT TIME BEGINNING TO EXPLORE WORDS.>>MARY WHITTLE: IT’S A WONDERFUL REMINDER OF WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO WHEN THEY WANT TO. IT ALSO HELPS YOU SEE YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH NEW EYES.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WE HAVE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE NEVER HELD A PENCIL BEFORE. NOT ONLY ARE YOU TEACHING A LANGUAGE, YOU’RE TEACHING STUDY SKILLS AND ALL OF THAT THAT COMES WITH IT. THE COMMITMENT AND HOW TO MEMORIZE AND PIECE THINGS TOGETHER.>>TERRI ALLARD: AND THE STUDENTS ARE SO DEDICATED, THEY REALLY, REALLY WANT TO LEARN.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: YES, BY THE TIME THEY GET MATCHED WITH A TUTOR THEY’VE BEEN HERE PROBABLY AT LEAST EIGHT WEEKS. WE TRY NOT TO MAKE THEM WAIT MUCH LONGER THAN THAT BUT IT OFTEN DEPENDS ON THE AVAILABILITY OF THE TUTORS.>>TERRI ALLARD: SO WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT IN OUR COMMUNITY, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT OUR COMMUNITY?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WELL, IT’S REALLY ABOUT BECOMING SELF-SUFFICIENT. IT’S REALLY HELPFUL FOR PEOPLE WHO — YOU KNOW, WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE PHDS IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY AND THEY COME HERE AND BECAUSE OF THE LANGUAGE BARRIER, THEY ARE KIND OF STUCK IN A LOWER LEVEL JOB NOT MAKING A LOT OF MONEY AND IF THEY CAN GET OVER THAT HURDLE OF THE LANGUAGE MAYBE THEY CAN GET BACK INTO THEIR CHOSEN FIELD AND FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THEIR DREAMS IN A PREVIOUS COUNTRY.>>TERRI ALLARD: OH, EXACTLY.>>MOHAMMAD KARIM MOTTAGHI: IN IRAN MY POSITION IS AS A MANAGER FOR CONSERVATOR IN THE HISTORICAL ZONE. I WANT TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCE, MY SKILLS IN THE ARTS, HISTORY AND CULTURE FOR AMERICAN TEENAGERS.>>KHADIJA HEMMATI: I HAVE A VERY BIG DREAM, TAKE A GED FOR ME VERY IMPORTANT. G-E-D, VERY IMPORTANT.>>TERRI ALLARD: AND THIS IS A FREE PROGRAM. HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO PROVIDE THE PROGRAM?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WELL, WE HAVE A LOT OF INDIVIDUAL DONORS, PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS, THE CITY OF CHARLOTTESVILLE AND ALBEMARLE COUNTY HELP US A LITTLE BIT. WE HAVE A GRANT FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WE HAVE A VERY MIXED REVENUE STREAM AND WE ALSO HAVE WORD PLAY.>>TERRI ALLARD: WORD PLAY.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: THAT’S ABOUT 10% OF OUR BUDGET.>>TERRI ALLARD: THIS HAS BECOME SUCH A POPULAR COMMUNITY EVENT SO TELL US ALL ABOUT IT.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: IT’S A LOT OF FUN. USUALLY WE HAVE 45 TO 50 TEAMS COMPETING AGAINST EACH OTHER, ABOUT CULTURAL LITERACY. AND THEY GET TO TALK ABOUT BEING THE SMARTEST GROUP IN TOWN, THE TEAMS PAY TO PARTICIPATE AND THAT’S WHERE WE MAKE OUR MONEY. AND IT’S OPEN — AUDIENCE TICKETS COME IN – TWENTY BUCKS TO COME IN AND WATCH AND HAVE A GOOD TIME.>>TERRI ALLARD: I MEAN, EVERYBODY ATTENDS. IT’S REALLY, IT’S BECOME SUCH A GREAT COMMUNITY EVENT.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: AND ITS KIND OF UNPREDICTABLE, YOU’RE NOT SURE WHAT THE QUESTIONS ARE GOING TO BE ABOUT EVERY YEAR. IT’S DIFFERENT EVERY YEAR.>>TERRI ALLARD: AT THE PARAMOUNT. HELD AT THE PARAMOUNT. SO, TELL US ABOUT THE CITIZENSHIP PROGRAM.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: SO WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL HUNDRED LEGAL RESIDENTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE-ALBEMARLE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO BECOME CITIZENS AND WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH OUR PARTNER, THE IRC, THE INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE TO HELP IDENTIFY THESE PEOPLE AND GET THEM THE TOOLS THAT THEY NEED TO FINISH THAT OUT, WHETHER ACQUISITION OR LEARNING THE ONE HUNDRED QUESTIONS THAT THEY NEED TO KNOW FOR THE TEST OR HELP WITH THE PAPERWORK AND THAT’S JUST BEEN HEART-WARMING TO SEE NEW CITIZENS SWORN IN THAT WE’VE WORKED WITH BEFORE.>>MARY WHITTLE: I KNOW WE HAD AN INFLUX OF IMMIGRANTS COMING INTO CHARLOTTESVILLE AND MY OWN GRANDPARENTS IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES. I WANTED EVERYBODY TO HAVE THE SAME CHANCE THAT MY FAMILY HAS HAD.>>RHONDA JACKSON: SHE HAD A JOB. AND SHE WAS QUICK TO LEARN AS WELL. THE STUDENTS I FIND ARE VERY, VERY COMMITTED AND VERY EAGER.>>TERRI ALLARD: SO IS THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTIVE OF THIS ORGANIZATION?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: YES. THE COMMUNITY IS VERY SUPPORTIVE HELPING US SPREAD THE WORD FOR THE NEED OF VOLUNTEERS. DAY OF CARING, WE’LL HAVE DAYS WHERE VOLUNTEERS COME IN STUFF ENVELOPES AND THINGS LIKE THAT SO –>>TERRI ALLARD: AND IF SOMEONE WANTS TO GET INVOLVED. WHAT DO THEY DO?>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: WELL, THEY CAN LOOK US UP ON THE WEB, LITERACYFORALL.ORG IT’S “F-O-R A-L-L” BECAUSE YOU KNOW WITH THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE THERE’S 10 DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN DO THAT!>>TERRI ALLARD: RIGHT.>>ELLEN MOORE OSBORNE: SO ITS LITERACYFORALL.ORG OR YOU CAN CALL OUR OFFICE AND WE’LL TELL YOU WHEN THE NEXT TUTOR FOR TRAINING EVENT IS. WE’RE HAVING ABOUT 10 OR 12 A YEAR NOW BECAUSE IT’S JUST THE NEED AND WE’RE HAVING TO TRAIN THE TUTORS TO KEEP UP WITH THE DEMAND.>>TERRI ALLARD: THAT’S FANTASTIC. ELLEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>STEVE CHURCH: I’VE LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT THEIR CULTURE AND ABOUT THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE FROM THE WORLD. I’VE HAD PEOPLE FROM 27 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. THURSDAY NIGHT IS ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF THE WEEK FOR ME. I JUST FEEL GOOD.>>MOHAMMAD KARIM MOTTAGHI: ALL OF THEM I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH TO HELP TO ALL IMMIGRANTS, ALL FOREIGN PEOPLE LIKE ME, AND ALSO THE AMERICAN NATIVE PEOPLE ALSO HERE.

Comment here