by Kirby LindsayOn the first Thursday of each month, Literacy Source welcomes those interested in learning about a variety of volunteer opportunities available. Literacy Source depends upon volunteers to serve as instructors, classroom assistants and workshop facilitators – and provides training for anyone who wants to know how. To provide free adult literacy services, they also need people willing to tutor, read for recordings, serve in reception, do administrative work, and sit on their Board of Directors.
At 1p and 7p on Thursday, February 3rd (and every first Thursday) anyone with skills to offer, can stop by the Literacy Source offices – at 720 N 35th St – and see how easy it can be to change someone’s world by offering access to free adult basic education and/or English as a second language. Also, while there, check out the nearly-new carpet...
Calling All Volunteers!
Most services provided by Literacy Source depend upon volunteers. According to Anne Helmholz, Executive Director, each year about 250 people volunteer. Many of these volunteers lead classes that help other adults improve their lives at a very basic level. Yet, according to Helmholz, volunteers, “always say they learn as much as their students do.”
The non-profit organization operates on a slim budget, with a small staff. Literacy AmeriCorps volunteers, Scott Venturdo and Katie Pickard, have given a year to help and do what they can. Still, “there are ten or so staff,” at Literacy Source, Venturdo reported, and “we couldn’t do anything we do without the volunteers.”
“We couldn’t have those classes,” agreed Pickard. Classes at the Literacy Source learning center create literate adults – oftentimes the poor and/or immigrants – that benefit our community as they gain better employment, raise healthier families, vote and can give back to their community. In her work, Pickard has enjoyed “getting to know so many different kinds of people.” As she acknowledged, the other volunteers, the students and the staff, “are a huge gift to me.”
The Thought Counts, As Does the Gift
Volunteers lead English literacy, citizenship, computer literacy, and workplace skills classes, but sometimes a non-profit can also use some less obvious help. Recently Adobe Software – a long-time Literacy supporter – came through where the rubber meets the road – or, specifically, where the carpet meets the classroom.
Along with help from Walsh Construction, SuperFloors, MyFloorCoverings, and their landlord, late last year, gently used carpet tiles Adobe decided to pull up (from vacated office space in Fremont) was installed in the Literacy Source offices/classrooms. This replaced carpet that, “was threadbare and pock-marked, and horrible,” according to Helmholz, with nearly-new, durable carpet that might otherwise have gone in the land-fill.
The replacement required a lot of heavy lifting, and PCC Natural Markets made that easier. “Everybody thought I was nuts,” admitted Helmholz, but Venturdo acknowledged, “it was a good idea though.” PCC loaned a small fleet of shopping carpets, that staff and volunteers used to lift files and equipment off the floor and shift them as workers installed the carpet tiles.
“We have all kinds of opportunities for volunteers,” Helmholz announced. Visit the orientation on February 3rd, no matter what your interests, skills and time might be. See how easy it could be to help others become self-sufficient. Come join the community that makes literacy accessible, to show your support for a literate community.
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- by Kirby Lindsay, June 14, 2006 in the North Seattle Herald-Outlook
©2011 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.