My name is Gary Tuthill and I’ve been working with Bijan Mohammadi since completing my tutor training in the Winter of 2013. I’m retired from computer programming and this is my first tutoring effort. Bijan is a pleasure to work with, and we’ve become good friends. Much of our time together has been conversation, including job application discussions, house buying evaluation and the history, culture and geography of Iran. While already able to handle the basics of life in Massachusetts, Bijan has become much more comfortable and skilled in communication in English.
My name is Darrelyn and I have been a tutor for almost a year and a half. I have always wanted to be a Literacy Volunteer and a few years ago, I finally had the time to devote to it. I did not have any teaching experience before this, but the training program and the support that is available gave me the confidence to become a tutor. I meet with Ban, my student, every week and we work on speaking, reading and comprehension, listening skills using different strategies. Ban has made great progress and she is a motivated and enthusiastic learner. This experience has been so meaningful and rewarding for me. Ban is my student but also has become a friend. She has taught me many things about her culture and country. She is a wonderful cook and has spoiled me and my family with many delicious dishes!
Agueda Rivadeneyra is my student. We started meeting in June 2015. Agueda is a stellar student. She learns quickly and is extremely motivated. Our lessons start with conversation, and we discuss grammar, writing and vocabulary. Homework mostly centers on her interests and includes watching movies and listening to songs in English. Often, Agueda decides to watch an extra movie and to listen to additional songs, in order to accelerate her fluency in English. We meet each week and Agueda takes one or two classes each semester with our faculty at Literacy Volunteers. Because Agueda has a very positive outlook on life, she is a joy to see. She loves her family and friends, and she is a kind, compassionate person.
Agueda moved to the United States from Mexico and plans to become a citizen. She has wide-ranging hobbies, including gardening, cooking, sewing and dancing. I look forward to each meeting with Agueda, she is my friend as well as my student. I learn more from her than she does from me! We also have coffee and lunch with her husband Jesus on occasion. Jesus is also a student at Literacy Volunteers. Agueda and Jesus would like to open a restaurant in the United States once they are fluent in English. Meeting Agueda and Jesus has been the best blessing for a new tutor. My name is Sheila McManus, and I am a Literacy Volunteers tutor.
My name is John Matraia and I have been volunteer with Literacy Volunteers for two years. I am currently working with my third student, Kwabena Boakye. He has been in the United States for five years. We have been working together weekly for several months and Kwabena is making excellent progress, as he is very diligent about his class work.
In addition to working full time, Kwabena also works part time whenever he is needed. Being a member of his Church is a very important part of his life and has helped him to develop a network of friends. His long‐ term goal is to bring his children to America at some point in the future. They are currently in school in Ghana.
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.