Okay, so yesterday marked the one-day anniversary of my volunteering experience! It was, to say the very least, an enlightening experience :) I reported for duty at 9:30 am at the Birmingham Public Library downtown. While there I had the opportunity to sit in on one of the tutoring sessions with some of the adult literacy tutors and their students. One word: Wow. When dealing with literacy education for adults, I don't think many people realize that you are dealing with people from all over the literacy spectrum (I invented that, lol.) On the one hand you have some people who are near or at an 8th grade reading level and are well on their wary to successfully securing their GED; others may just be learning the alphabet or the different vowel sounds. You really have to be versatile in your approach because different people are naturally going to have different needs. Also, the most important thing to remember is that you are dealing with adults. Real, live grown-ups. I have no doubt that I will be the youngest person in the room 95% of the time. And this is awkward, I'm sure. I received a few skeptical looks yesterday. One woman in particular just stared at me like, "Little girl, what the hell could you possibly tell me about anything?" Intimidating first day, but I'm up for the challenge. The women who work there kept saying, "We hope we see you again, Eboni." I have the nagging suspicion that the people that usually volunteer don't stay there for too long. But I'm ready to prove myself - not only to the people who work in the Literacy Department, but to the the students who come week after week with the hope that they can be more. Yes, I'm offering them a service by helping them develop and hone their reading and writing abilities, but I'm taking so much away from this experience as well. I have been blessed with the opportunity to acquire new skills and new ways to relate to people. You can't get that for $35,000/year in Northeastern Iowa, that's for sure. These people, who are dealing with recovery from addiction, homelessness, lack of opportunity...are taking the time to come out and learn an invaluable skill: reading. Who knew illiteracy was still such an issue in America?
Next month, I will start classes to become a certified Literacy Tutor :) I am truly looking forward to what this experience will bring; not only to my life, but to everyone involved in the process. (I am so cheesy and cliche right now, I know.) Bring it on, world. I'm ready. For real this time :)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Yes, it is official. I have a blog :) Rejoice! Woot! But honestly, now that I've gone through all the proper protocols for acquiring said blog, I have no clue what I'm supposed to do. Thanks, Lalaina. This pitiful excuse for a first blog entry is dedicated to you.