The Rewards of Being a JVS Literacy Volunteer

Wednesday, November 7 -- All of us at JVS were saddened to see our partnership with Literacy*AmeriCorps come to an end. JVS said goodbye to its last group of 16 Literacy*AmeriCorps members in July. Those program participants, ages 19 to 62  worked at nonprofits throughout the city, tutoring adult learners in basic skills and English as a Second Language, providing work-readiness services to under and/or unemployed individuals, and recruiting and managing community volunteers. The silver lining to the end of the JVS Literacy*Americorps partnership was the fact that, thanks to a grant from the Green Foundation,  JVS Literacy Services would continue in the form of a Volunteer Tutoring Program under the direction of Coordinator Nerina Brautigam.

Nerina, herself a former AmeriCorps member, is always on the lookout for new volunteers that she can dispatch into adult education classes throughout Los Angeles.

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Check out the FAQ about the JVS Volunteer Literacy Tutoring Program on the JVS website. This is important and rewarding work as one of our volunteers recently recounted to us when asked to share a positive experience:

"This was my first month volunteering with JVS at --- and initially I knew little of what to anticipate. However, my experiences have exceeded any expectations. From my very first day, it was clear to me that “Mr. V,” as the students affectionately call him, has created a unique learning atmosphere where students can freely share ideas, questions, concerns, and even their sense of humor. Hardly anybody is hesitant to express themselves and I have yet to see a student let their limitations with the language inhibit their creativity. They are also extremely focused, and I have been impressed and inspired by their determination to master the English language.

This dynamic made it easy for me as a newcomer to feel comfortable in my new role, and the students took kindly to me within the first few minutes. By our first reading session together, we were already getting to know each other and establishing a meaningful rapport. I came away feeling wonderful about my commitment to volunteering and the experience has even broadened my professional horizons, as I am continuing to learn about my own strengths and weaknesses in the teaching capacity.

I must hand it to Mr. V for having such an welcoming, intelligent, and hilarious presence in the classroom.  It is clear the students love and respect him and I believe teachers everywhere ought to take a page from his book. In fact, I have had such a positive experience, I now aim to go twice a week instead of just once. Were I not looking for work, I’d be going every day!

For more information about JVS' literacy services, please call JVS Volunteer Tutor Coordinator Nerina Brautigam at (323) 761-8888 x8884, (818) 321-9068 or [email protected].