Volunteer Spotlight – Barbara RosingJuly 31st, 2017
In November 2016, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, like many nonprofits across the country, saw an uptick in inquiries about how members of the community could volunteer and help with the organization’s mission.
Barbara Rosing was one step ahead. On Saturday November 5, 2016, she graduated our tutor training certification program that requires 12 hours of training over two Saturdays. Shortly after, as a wave of new prospective volunteers flooded the LCMC staff’s email inboxes, Barbara was already beginning her work with a student from South Korea, Grace.
Barbara says of being inspired to volunteer with LCMC, “After a long and interesting career with the Federal government, I was intrigued by the prospect of helping people to speak, write, and read English.” She arrived in the LCMC offices promptly on the Monday morning after graduation for her first lesson with Grace.
Through the tutor training and in the 9 months she has been working with Grace, who hails from South Korea originally, Barbara has an idea of what advice she would give to someone considering becoming a tutor. “It would be helpful for a prospective tutor to be comfortable with one-on-one interactions with students, conversant with the principles of English grammar and word usage,” she says, “and flexible in terms of goals and expectations.”
Barbara also notes that through tutoring a student whose home country is not America and whose first language is not English, that she finds herself teaching more than vocabulary and grammar. “Tutoring presents me not only with an opportunity to help students improve their English skills, but also to explain other aspects of American life—our history, culture, and customs,” she explains.
What is the number one thing Barbara has enjoyed in return through volunteering her time helping another member of her community improve her English proficiency and adjust to everyday life in America? “Being an LCMC volunteer has given me a greater appreciation of how difficult a language English can be for those who do not know it and also how difficult it would be for me, an English-only speaker, to become proficient in any one of many different world languages.”
This month, we celebrate Barbara, and her industrious student Grace, as they exemplify one of the things of which we are proudest here at LCMC – connecting and building our sense of community. As Barbara’s experience shows, our tutors not only help their neighbors improve their English proficiency, empowering them to be more active participants in our community, but they add to our community’s collective empathy for our neighbors’ experiences and struggles.
We’re honored to have you on our team, Barbara.