My name is Bijan Mohammadi. I was born in Iran and grew up in Germany, where I got a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. I have worked in the field of logistics automation for the shipping and auto parts industry as a technical support specialist for more than 12 years. I got married in Worcester, MA. My wife and I have a daughter who is going into kindergarten this year. We decided to live and work in Massachusetts. I arrived in the US late in 2012. After a week a got a part time job at Burlington Coat Factory.
My name is Jean Bowker. My student’s name is Janaq Rungollari. I became a literacy tutor almost 2 years ago. As a former teacher of reading and language, I enjoy working and seeing the gains my student has made. I was proud to attend the ceremony and see Janaq become a U.S. Citizen as I tutored him in this area also. Janaq has been a wonderful student and I have learned so much from him.
Literacy Volunteers provides a valuable service to immigrants to give them the skills to become productive and literate citizens. It also provides tutors with a greater understanding of the hardships many of our immigrants face. As tutors we make a difference in more ways than learning, and serve as mentors when there are problems faced by students new in this country.
My name is Bob Laperriere. I tutor 2 students, Durga Khawas from Bhutan, and Tha Shi Wah, from Burma. Both are refugee immigrants with remarkable life stories. I became a tutor last summer. I retired from the postal service in 2012 as a letter carrier and was looking for some interesting things to do so, among other things, I ended up as a tutor with Literacy Volunteers.
I had no idea how much fun it would be to meet these fascinating, gracious, gentle people that I have come to respect and love. I think I get more out of these relationships of learning than they do. I grew up in a poor French-Canadian family surrounded by others from Quebec who had immigrated to Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill to work in the mills and shoe shops. I remember the struggles I saw my grandparents and my parents made to improve their lives and can really empathize with these new visitors to America.
On Christmas Eve I received the amazing news that Durga Khawas had passed the US Citizenship test. That truly astounded me as I knew the language disabilities he struggles with. His positive, very hardworking spirit and his clever methods for memorizing language were rewarded. I have learned a lot from both of my students.
My name is Kwabena Boakye. I am from Ghana, in West Africa. I came to this country because I wanted to build my life here. My tutor’s name is John Matraia. He helps me with speaking, reading and writing English. I take English classes at his office on Tuesday at 10 am. I want to improve my English because in this country everyone speaks English. To get a job or talk with people in offices, or in stores you need to be able to speak English. I like Literacy Volunteers because they are good people and help me. My dream in this country is to learn wisdom [through my Christian faith].
My name is Janaq Rungolarri, I came to the United States from Albania to seek a better life. I recently was sworn in as a United States Citizen on April 9, 2014. It was a very proud day for me, and my tutor attended the ceremony with my wife and I. Through Literacy Volunteers, I have learned to read, write, and improve my spoken language skills by many grade levels. I began my journey here as a dishwasher and I am now employed by the Trappist Monastery full time and I am being trained in the art of winemaking. I am very grateful to Literacy Volunteers for providing the help I need to become a proud and productive citizen.
My name is Durga Khawas. I came to the United States on September 22 of 2009 from Bhutan. I was born there but I am ethnically a Nepali. Because of our Nepalese heritage, my family and many other Nepalese families in Bhutan were harshly discriminated against and we ended up in refugee camps in Nepal for a long time. It was wonderful to be allowed into the United States 5 years ago. There are over 250 Nepalese families living in Worcester now who originally lived in Bhutan.
This year’s fundraiser will be held on Sunday, March 29, 2015 from 5:00-8:00pm at Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester. The main event will be a Team Scrabble Tournament. A silent auction will be held with many great prizes. In addition to being able to bid on the silent auction that night, bidding will also be available online two weeks prior to the live event. This is a great way to engage friends and family, near and far to be involved in the fundraiser.
Read the Scrabble Scrimmage Rules here.
Fundraisers are also “friend-raisers” so we hope to make this a real community event and involve as many people as possible, so please help us spread the word!