I’m a retired elementary teacher who was looking for a volunteer opportunity where I could maybe make a difference in the Eau Claire community. I had done some private tutoring years ago and had enjoyed working one-on- one with students from six to eighteen years old. A friend suggested that LCV might be a good fit for me even though I had never tutored post high school age learners.
So almost three years ago, I attended LCV’s tutor training. Since then I have tutored four students, and I’ve found great joy and satisfaction in watching them gain confidence in their abilities to learn and advance toward their dreams.
Hannah and I began working together just over two years ago. Reading was one of her least favorite activities at that time. I introduced her to some books that I thought she might like by the Newbery Award-winning author Sharon Creech. Did she ever! Soon she was gobbling up all the Sharon Creech books she could find, buying all she could at local bookstores, and introducing me to titles I hadn’t known! Hannah even wrote a letter to Sharon Creech to let her know what a big impact her books had made on her desire to read.
Hannah has learned to love to read both fiction and non-fiction now. She checks books out of the library and has bought and read many currently popular books such as The Hunger Games trilogy and The Twilight series. During the two years Hannah and I have been tutoring partners, she has gained five years in her reading ability. She is well on her way to fulfilling her dreams for her future, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
John has been a tutor with Literacy Chippewa Valley for 6 years. After he retired from the DNR as a hyrdrogeologist, John wanted a way to give back to the community. “I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I really enjoy math and it’s a way for me to keep my skills fresh by tutoring math. It’s not every day that you get to practice quadratic equations.” John enjoys the enthusiasm of the students. “I have a better appreciation now of people who have learning disabilities.”
Steve has been a tutor for years. He’s proud of his 5 year service award certificate. He said, “I started out as a 1-1 tutor and now I tutor math in the Open Lab. I love the challenge of math. When people come into the lab, they say, ‘I hate math, I hate math!’ One time I wrote ‘Math is phun’ on the whiteboard. The students laughed and said, ‘Steve, that’s not how you spell fun!’
“When I put a Soduko book on the table – most people’s response is ‘I can’t I can’t I can’t’ — Yes you can….. and soon they are.”
Steve has had his own personal challenges. “Volunteering is the highlight of my week. I’ve been a volunteer for over 5 years. I love watching the positive results. It’s the neatest thing! What a blast to see the difference it has made. It changes a life.”
Jim McConnell has been a tutor for 7 years. He started volunteering even before he retired as a registered nurse. Jim sees this as an “opportunity to give back.” Over the years, Jim has had around 20 students. He finds it very gratifying. He said, “There is no better feeling than teaching. The students want to learn. I have learned a new appreciation for immigrants. One of my students said that grocery shopping here is very difficult. In Mexico, he used a slingshot to hunt for meat.”
Not only has Jim taught medical terminology, but he also tutored math in the jail. “So many of them were left behind. At some point they got stuck, and then they never caught up.”
His most recent success: He worked with a woman from the Phillipines who was studying to take the certified nursing assistant state exam. “She passed both the written and the clinical the very first time! After 2 hours of studying, I wanted to quit… but she wanted to keep going. She kept at it. It was worth it in the end!”
Jackie Young has been a volunteer tutor with Literacy Chippewa Valley for 11 years. Before she retired, Jackie taught 2nd grade. She loves teaching. “I have been very fortunate,” she said. I love to see my students succeed. She enjoys the one to one time that she spends with her students and has had bonded with many of her students. She really enjoys the relationships she has been able to build. Jackie currently tutors two students .