News & Blog: Advocate Spotlights

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Paloma Deerfield just completed her service as an AmeriCorps Family Literacy Instructor at Buchanan and Cesar Chavez elementary schools. Paloma began her service later than many of her fellow members, but writes that “the classroom community that my learners and I created in the few months that we learned together was a unique experience that I hold dear.” After AmeriCorps, Paloma will continue to work at her “dream job” at Midnight Vault comic book store in downtown Grand Rapids.

Time is such a relative, nearly inapplicable measurement of the strength of bonds formed by individuals. In the four short months that my learners and I spent together, learning from one another, a strong bond and a great sense of community formed.

Mr. John C. Kennedy, President/CEO of Autocam Medical, is known as a creative and savvy businessman who often works alongside national business leaders and elected officials. Yet there is one other thing that everyone knows about Mr. Kennedy: he has a deeply personal passion for literacy as it relates to equity.

Excerpts from an interview with Alice Apol, the Literacy Center’s longest serving tutor and the recipient of this year’s Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award

From Fall 2015 Reader

“One learner that I worked with for a long period of time was Margaret Ortega. She still calls me now and we go out for lunch every once in a while. She became very proficient. In fact, when she took the last test, she tested right out of the program! She said, ‘I wish I had known that, I would have answered more questions wrong!”

For tutoring, “I think relationship-building is very important, especially in the beginning. Asking them a little bit about their lives, so they feel comfortable knowing that you’re interested in them as a person. And then each week we have a quick conversation about our weeks.”

Click here to read the full issue.

Nancy VanIngen, Program Assistant at the Literacy Center, celebrated her 25th Anniversary with the organization in May. Katy Payne talked with her about her experience.

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