Volunteer Spotlight – MickeyNovember 24th, 2016
Mickey has dedicated over five years of service to LCMC as an office volunteer. She keeps our Tutor Library in order every Tuesday, and is a familiar face around the office to the staff and many of the tutors and students who meet in our Tutor Rooms. She is a great help around the office and we are happy to have her on board.
What motivated or inspired you to become a volunteer?
Mickey’s parents were immigrants, who came over during the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century. Her father took night classes in New York City, on top of working during the day, to learn English. Her mother taught herself English by comparing the American newspapers to newspapers printed in her own language.
Mickey first learned about the Literacy Council when it was first established in 1963. At the same time, Mickey heard a story that would inspire her to want to play whatever part she could in helping others learn to read. The story was about a young man who was a successful football player and college graduate, but could not read. She began hearing about other adults who had been born in the United States and had grown up speaking English fluently, but had not learned to read. That was enough to convince Mickey that as soon as she had time, she was going to join the Literacy Council.
Knowing how hard her parents worked to learn English as immigrants, coupled with the stories she heard of people who had grown up in the U.S., but had not learned to read, inspired Mickey to want to help other people facing the same struggles however she could.
How long have you been an LCMC volunteer?
Mickey became a volunteer about five years ago. At the time she was also volunteering for Learning Ally, an organization that records books for the blind and others with learning disabilities. She called us knowing she finally had the extra time to spare a few more hours, and told us, “I will do anything. I will dust the furniture if you need it.” We brought her on board to help us manage the Tutor Library, and the rest is history!
What is some advice you can give to future LCMC volunteers?
Mickey says, “Motivation is the most important thing.” She credits her parents with inspiring her to be motivated. She admits that she might be extra motivated because of her personal connection to her parents having emigrated themselves, but she believes that anyone who takes the first step to ask, “How can I help?” has the intrinsic motivation to persevere in their volunteer work.
What is your favorite aspect of being an LCMC volunteer?
Mickey says, “To know I am a part of something so important, in whatever small part I can play.” Mickey keeps our Tutor Library in order every Tuesday, and is a familiar face around the office to the staff and many of the tutors and students who meet in our Tutor Rooms. She adds that she likes that part too: “Everyone is so pleasant and I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone that comes through.”
What are some obstacles you face as a volunteer?
“Nothing!” says Mickey. (We pressed, but she insisted!)
How has being an LCMC volunteer impacted your life?
“I’m much more sympathetic, when I meet someone who has a hard time speaking English. I am reminded of how hard it is to learn English, especially if you have to work at the same time, and it makes me much more sympathetic when I talk to someone who is struggling.”