If you could change someone’s life forever by donating one hour of your time a week, would you do it? About 45 residents of Kewaunee County are already serving as one-on-one tutors to adults who are eager to improve their ability to read, write and speak English.
You don’t have to be a teacher or a former teacher to be a successful tutor. Free training is provided through Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County, and tutors are carefully matched with students for their weekly meetings in public locations such as churches, schools and libraries throughout the community.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a tutor, you’re invited to an informational orientation from 9 to 10:30 am on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the United Methodist Church in Algoma. Training sessions for those who want to become tutors will be at the same location on the mornings of March 7, 9 and 23. There is a $10 fee for the materials, but no charge for the training.
Bob Garfinkel of Luxemburg is the president of Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County.
“Since 2006, we have helped many adults achieve personal and professional goals like passing GED and U.S. Citizenship exams, CDL testing, real estate licensure and cosmetology certification. Even more important for many of the students is being able to talk with their children’s teachers, go shopping on their own and interacting in other ways in the community. One of our students was named Wisconsin’s English Language Learner of the Year, and the program has won five local and state awards.”
In addition to providing one-on-one tutoring to adults, Literacy Partners has helped to educate more than 2,000 Kewaunee County residents with free programs on dental health, first aid and other health-related literacy topics. The organization has also been involved with the back-to-school program that helps low-income families obtain the necessities for their children to return to school each fall. In the past five years, Literacy Partners has distributed more than 800 pairs of new shoes, 230 new winter coats and more than 1,000 kits with toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste.
Not all Literacy Volunteers are tutors. There is also a need for people to organize and maintain the organization’s library, plan seminars and workshops, plan fundraising activities, evaluate new students and serve as Spanish-to-English translators.
More than 70 individuals and local businesses support the services Literacy Volunteers of Kewaunee County provide.
Garfinkel’s late father had a favorite saying, “What you do for yourself will be buried with you. What you do for others, will live on forever.”
A 2013 study by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy revealed that 32 million Americans – 14 percent of the population – read below a basic literacy level or can’t read at all.
Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County is helping to correct that problem, one reader at a time. For more information or to register for the Feb. 28 informational orientation, contact Garfinkel at [email protected] or 920.676.2061.