For married couple Bob and Carol, volunteerism has always been a passion.
When they retired, Bob and Carol Cibic knew they wanted to give back by changing lives and making the community better.
Bob found Literacy DuPage and asked Carol to join him in attending an initial Meet & Greet session. Although they did not have a background in teaching or tutoring, they liked what they heard. Together, they went through new tutor training and became Literacy DuPage tutors in 2017.
“He was initially afraid to speak English. He was afraid to make mistakes and did not have confidence in himself.”
Bob had a potential student in mind. Before becoming tutors, Bob and Carol frequented a Mexican restaurant near their home. Through the years, they got to know the staff, including Maricsa. When Maricsa learned they were becoming tutors, she asked if they would tutor her husband, Julio. Bob and Carol helped Julio enroll in the Literacy DuPage program as a learner, and Bob began tutoring him. Meanwhile, Carol was matched with another learner in the Literacy DuPage program and began tutoring her.
Carol became close with her student and, through the process, fell in love with tutoring. For Carol, it’s all about seeing the lightbulb go off in a student’s eyes. “It’s so rewarding to see someone progress,” says Carol. Unfortunately, Carol’s student had some personal issues and was no longer able to continue in the program.
The restaurant homework exchange.
Bob and Julio continued working together. Although their tutoring paused with the onset of COVID-19, they were determined to figure out how to continue as soon as they could. They started to use Zoom for tutoring sessions, but they needed to figure out how to exchange homework. They creatively came up with the restaurant exchange!
Weekly, Bob and Carol go to the Mexican restaurant where Maricsa works, put an envelope with graded homework and new homework in Maricsa’s car, and they pick up an envelope with Julio’s homework from the previous week. They then go into the restaurant, pick up their food and margaritas, and go home.
Julio has made exceptional progress through tutoring. He initially tested into the Literacy DuPage program at Level 1. After working closely with Bob for two years, he has tested out at Level 6! Julio can now go to the market and doctor’s appointments by himself. He can communicate with his family in English. He’s preparing to take the Citizenship Exam, and he and Maricsa were recently approved for a home loan.
Bob and Carol recently joined the Literacy DuPage Board. Their ingenuity and story are inspiring. They’re a great example of the lengths to which our tutors will go to be of service to residents in this county.