People volunteer for all kinds of reasons. Some say they want to give back to the community. Others tell us they want to develop new skills or explore an interest before committing to it. For some, volunteering fills a void when their careers, spouses, or living arrangements change, or it gives them something fulfilling to do in their already busy lives. One thing we know for sure is that people do things when they’re ready.
Jennifer Holloway tutored with us many years ago. She showed a genuine interest in learning about people and was enthusiastic about helping our adult learners communicate better in their everyday lives. She was high energy and had a lot of passion for learning about the students in her classes! So when her circumstances changed and other priorities in her life took precedence, she stopped volunteering – rightly so! We missed her, but we understood that the timing was just not right.
We think Jennifer missed tutoring, too! After a five-year hiatus, she contacted us about volunteering again. We wanted her to feel well prepared, familiar with our procedures, and confident with the curriculum that changed while she was away, so we asked her to attend a tutor training.
It was nearly a year and a half before the timing worked out! Jennifer completed the English as a Second Language workshop in June, and patiently waited until the fall semester. Finally, she started a new class in early August – just before Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and forced us to pause classes.
Our hearts go out to the volunteers and students who want to be here now, but who have other pressing priorities to take care of. We look forward to welcoming everyone back when the time is right. Take heart - we are thrilled that Jennifer is tutoring at Literacy Advance again!
What brought you back to Literacy Advance?
I have always volunteered since I was a child in many different ways and with many organizations. Nothing has ever offered not only the opportunity to enjoy immediate visible results of my time and effort, but also to positively affect my own life like working with the students at Literacy Advance.
Without question, my past volunteer work with Literacy Advance changed me. The students opened my eyes to how much I take for granted about my own life. I learned to be more patient, understanding, and grateful. Plus, tutoring at Literacy Advance is simply fun and interesting beyond words! I have missed it very much and I’m so happy to be back!
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?
Once a week, I sit around a table with several other adults from all walks of life, from places around the globe, sharing this common effort of learning a language, and have the most wonderful conversations. We teach each other about culture, humanity, friendship, respect, and the reward of working hard to achieve something. It’s the best three hours of my week!
What inspires you (as a tutor, or in life in general)?
I have a natural curiosity buried deep inside my makeup that inspires me to continually seek knowledge. Every day I find myself constantly asking questions. These questions range from "How do cell phones work?" to "What is the origin of man?” This curiosity overwhelms my life, but in a good way. I read a lot and through reading I fill my mind not only knowledge, but with experiences that I would never achieve in a normal life time. With each new thing I learn, I am always inspired to learn more.
What would you say to other people thinking about volunteering?
The students at Literacy Advance are an inspiration to all of us! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself with a more positive attitude about wanting to take on new challenges to improve your own life!
What is your favorite season?
Thank you so much, Jennifer!
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