Volunteer literacy tutors make a difference

Many of us who have lived in the area for a long time feel that we would like to “pay back” in some way.

Many of us who have lived in the area for a long time feel that we would like to “pay back” in some way, the good things which we have enjoyed during our time here.

Williams Lake, like most small towns, is dependent on unpaid volunteers for many of the services which help to make our community a (relatively) safe and, certainly, a vibrant place to live.

These volunteers are largely invisible, dedicated, reliable, busy people.

Many of them work within more than one organization.

Without them, many attractions we take for granted, the Stampede, the Station House Gallery, the annual car show, Family Fest, Harvest Fair, to name only a few examples, could not continue.

One of these services is Partner Assisted Learning (PAL to the initiated!).

This is a well-established service to assist those adults who feel a need to improve aspects of literacy.

Sometimes it is a mother who wants to help her child with homework; sometimes a housewife who wants to become more involved in self improvement now that her children have left home.

Maybe it is a young man who didn’t see the sense of senior English but now needs it to get into trades training.

Or perhaps it is a person who needs to upgrade in search of a new job.

It is amazing how many of us in our community need just that little bit of extra help to effect what may become life changing results.

PAL is one of the services freely provided to the community through the auspices of the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, a non-profit organization.

It has been in the area now for more than 10 years, and currently operates out of Thompson Rivers University.

The program provides services to adult students, those over 18, who request help with literacy issues.

We try to match requests for help with one of our volunteer tutors.

Occasionally we offer group tutoring in small group sessions.

If the assistance is something we are not equipped to deal with, we often help the person involved seek help through other agencies.

It is sad to have to turn down requests for help, but there are not enough tutors to meet the requests made and sometimes people have to wait a long time for the assistance needed.

Tutors are offered a comprehensive and interesting training program before beginning work.

We desperately need more tutors.

If you can help please call Janette (250-392-8161) or June (250-392-8130).

Janette Moller is the Partner Assisted Learning co-ordinator for Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy.

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