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May 26 2023

Volunteer Spotlight: Charlee

Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight: Charlee

How long have you been volunteering?

Charlee has been with The Literacy Alliance (TLA) for five years.

Why did you decide to volunteer at The Literacy Alliance?

“There used to be a TLA site at my church – in the classroom where I taught Sunday school. I was reluctant to sign up due to my already busy schedule. Then, when I retired, my time opened up, and I could volunteer.”

In his work, Charlee saw many people overlooked for jobs or advancements because they lacked their diplomas. So, he thought if he could help people get their diplomas, at least when they fill out an application, they would have that piece of paper. So, Charlee tells students he is there to help people get their “creds” to obtain their goals.

What has been the best part of your experience so far?

“I love seeing people change their attitude about their ability to learn. It’s great when people become confident enough to go out and pursue their dreams. The common thing said is, “I can’t do math, or I don’t like math.” Then they begin to tolerate math or eventually like it. I have seen people who don’t think they can succeed at anything, then they get one success and say, I can do something. Or parents who say I now have ammunition to tell my kids to get their diplomas. Look, I got mine. You can get one too.”

“Sometimes we see people who never thought college was possible, and now they do. Our partnership with Ivy Tech does a great job of getting people to consider it. Ivy Tech allows vocational on top of academic education. The Literacy Alliance helps many people see what could be.”

Why should others volunteer?

“For retired people, one of the things volunteering does is give you a schedule, something to do; it gives you something where you can see progress. The time you invest at TLA is an investment in people and the community.”

“For one reason or another, people drop out of school. It may be that their style of learning is different. The Literacy Alliance allows people to learn in the manner that works best for them. This makes all the difference.

“School has always been one way of doing things and is based around how most of the population learns best, but we do not all learn the same way. For instance, some people learn by hearing something, others learn by doing, some by seeing, some by writing, and many learn by combining one or all of the above. Humans do not all come out programmed to learn the same way. The Literacy Alliance builds on the basics taught in school and creates a tailored approach to subjects in the student’s native language of learning. This is what makes the difference.”

What would you tell others who are considering volunteering?

  • Talk to other tutors, and do not feel that you are automatically pulled into the program if you show up to try it. It may take two or three times for you to get comfortable or find your place.
  • It can keep you young because you can see and learn what is happening in the culture.
  • You may see something else that you can do.
  • You can be a valuable resource in that area if you have a specialty. However, you do not need to be an expert in all subjects.
  • You meet some fantastic people in this program.

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