Literacy opens doors …
… not in a sudden burst, but gradually—letting in a little more light all the time.
Consider Lanying, a woman from China who moved with her family to the U.S. While her children went to school and made connections in the community, she felt isolated because she didn’t know English. Like most parents, she didn’t want to be in the position to rely on her children. So, over several years, she worked with a Literacy DuPage tutor on skills that would help her connect and communicate—skills as basic as answering the phone in English! With persistence, she made progress. In fact, she recently and proudly passed her U.S. citizenship test.
This is how Literacy DuPage makes a difference: one conversation at a time. Progress happens week after week when a volunteer tutor sits for two hours with a person who yearns to learn English for a better life.
Practical goals make a difference
For each learner, “better life” can mean something different.
Our learner-tutor pairs work toward goals selected by the learner. These goals are both practical and critical. Learners may aim to talk with their children’s teachers, understand labels on prescription bottles, or read street signs—whatever they need at the moment to thrive in the community. Once they achieve basic skills, they can reach for higher goals like employment and better education.
Often, our learners are working two or three jobs to make a living. Many of them work unconventional hours or face challenges with transportation or childcare. As a result, they struggle to meet the scheduling requirements of traditional, classroom-based language courses. Literacy DuPage offers them a flexible—and free—alternative. Working with a tutor one-on-one may be their best chance to learn English.
Big-hearted volunteers and employers
Who gives Literacy DuPage learners this extraordinary chance? Our volunteers!
Right now, about 400 volunteer tutors are working side-by-side with learners, helping them become thriving members of the community we share. Though some of these volunteers came with teaching experience, most have no background as a teacher or tutor. Literacy DuPage provides all the training and support these volunteers need to help their learners succeed.
In addition to individual volunteers, Literacy DuPage is fortunate to work with local companies that make it possible for their employees to volunteer with us. Right now, we have active programs in place with Comcast, Ecolab, and Wintrust Bank, and we are eager to welcome more organizations to the fold.