Giving back: Give the gift of reading

Image courtesy of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County
Image courtesy of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County

This week Mary Miller, recruitment and awareness coordinator for the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, tells us about volunteering opportunities in the council’s tutoring programs. 

Mountain Xpress: Tell us about the tutoring programs.

Miller: We provide long-term tutoring to over 350 students per year through three core programs: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Education and the Augustine Project. We serve adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world; adults who read at or below a basic skills level; and low-income children who are struggling with literacy skills. The children’s program, the Augustine Project, has a 100 percent success rate.

Can you give us some examples of what a volunteer would do?

Volunteers provide at least two hours per week of tutoring for a minimum of nine months. Volunteers in the Adult Education and Augustine Project programs tutor their students one-on-one for about one hour each session. Volunteers in the ESOL program work either one-on-one with students or in small groups, and meet with their students once per week. Within Adult Education, tutors can teach inmates at Craggy prison. In ESOL, some tutors help students study for their U.S. Naturalization exam.

What are the requirements for being a volunteer?

Patience, resourcefulness, sensitivity to cultural differences and a desire to help someone make the change of a lifetime! New tutors must go through an initial orientation and a tutor training program. The training is 15 hours for the adult programs and 70 hours for the Augustine Project.

Besides the tutoring programs, do you have other volunteer needs?

Volunteers can also help out at our events — like our Authors for Literacy Dinner and Silent Auction featuring James Patterson, which will be held this fall.

More information visit litcouncil.com, call 254-3442 x 204 or email volunteers@litcouncil.com. 

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About Carrie Eidson
Carrie Eidson is a multimedia journalist and editor at Mountain Xpress. She can be reached at ceidson@mountainx.com.

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