Literacy DuPage tutor Laura K. is a published poet and short story writer. She’s also energetic, funny, kind, compassionate, and encouraging. Laura is an example of how literacy can improve lives.
From an early age, Laura learned that reading and writing were essential components of success. Neither of her parents finished high school, but they valued education. They encouraged reading by not enforcing a bedtime if their kids were reading. They also pushed her and her siblings to earn college degrees.
Laura went to college and received a degree in English / Secondary Education from Elmhurst University. Unfortunately, she received her degree during a bad recession, and there were few teaching jobs available. Laura needed to get a full-time job and went into business, it paid well, and she met many great people, but it was not her passion. So while she was working, she began tutoring English.
Laura later went back to school and received a Master’s degree in Reading and English as a Second Language. She became a high school reading teacher in the Glenbard school system and retired in 2016. In retirement, Laura worked at the College of DuPage (COD) in their reading classes. At COD, she first heard about Literacy DuPage and completed the required new tutor training in 2018.
Working for a better life.
Literacy DuPage matched Laura with student Velia in September 2018. Neither Velia nor her husband received the education they wanted growing up in Mexico. When Laura first met Velia, she recognized that Velia needed a non-threatening, friendly, accessible, and nurturing environment for her to learn English.
Laura and Velia met in person for 18 months. Since Velia didn’t have the internet at home when COVID hit, Laura rushed out to buy a printer so she could mail materials to Velia. For the first six months, Laura and Velia only communicated through snail mail. They now talk on the phone every Tuesday morning before Velia goes to work.
A driven and determined student.
Velia works as a cleaner for a school district, and her husband works in construction. While neither of them received the education they wanted, they recognize its value and put two children through college and the three youngest are currently in college. They’re always encouraging their children to accomplish their goals and dreams.
Since working with Laura, Velia has gotten a library card and is now working toward her GED. She is particularly interested in history.
Giving back is second nature to Laura.
Through her family experiences, Laura saw firsthand the importance of having good literacy skills and knew she wanted to help others. Donating her time and talents has always been part of her routine, from just beginning her career to now into retirement. Laura also tutors with the People’s Resource Center and is a mentor to new English teachers at Elmhurst University. The pandemic has reaffirmed her values that literacy is her passion. Laura has been very generous in sharing information and tips with other Literacy DuPage tutors, to which the tutoring community is very grateful.