Tutor Honored With Service Award

June 9th, 2016

Bill TorreyAfter retiring in late 2011, Bill Torrey wanted to get more involved in his community. He was
especially interested in literacy and reading, so he became a volunteer tutor at the Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC). In May of this year, he received the Volunteer Award at the Nancy Dworkin Outstanding Service to Youth Awards Ceremony. Bill had always read to his daughter, who started reading at a young age, and he could not imagine what it would be like to not be able to read.
Following his retirement, his wife looked for ways for him to get involved in helping the community and found LCMC and the Jewish Council of the Aging (JCA) Interages program, which promotes literacy among children. Since he became a tutor at LCMC, Bill has been working with one Basic Literacy student from Liberia.

Bill’s favorite part of tutoring is getting to know people. His student fled from Liberia to Sierra Leone, and then to the Ivory Coast, before coming to the United States. She was in the 11th grade, on track to graduate from high school, when she had to leave. She is now 44 and has started a family in Maryland. Bill enjoys learning his student’s stories and watching her thrive and persevere with the help of English Literacy.

Bill says the hardest part about tutoring is keeping the lessons relevant to the life of someone who might not be familiar with certain topics, like American holidays. He tries to make his lessons universally understandable.

In addition to his work at LCMC, Bill volunteers at the JCA Interages program, where he reads with children from pre-K to high school, and Grandreaders, where he reads with one second grader for a full year. He also reads aloud to four- and five-year-old children and volunteers at book fairs and LCMC’s Do More 24 Phonathon every year.