“Thank you for giving me a means of carrying on with the path my life has taken.”
These poignant words shared with the team at Chilliwack Learning Society reveal just how powerful learning can be. Their author was experiencing macular deterioration and wanted to become adept at using her computer before losing her eyesight, a goal she achieved with the help of a volunteer tutor.
Other clients with the society’s Community Adult Literacy Program might want help to earn their diploma or pursue carer goals, for example.
The impact on volunteers is also powerful.
“There’s a shared relationship and a sense of accomplishment of getting someone to the place they want to be,” says Kathy Ball, Volunteer Tutor Program Co-ordinator.
While some volunteers may be considering a career in teaching or tutoring, “for many of others, it’s a way of giving back to the community and I regularly hear that they get so much more out of it. I think helping others like this is a way for people to think outside of their own lives.”
A history of community learning
The free tutoring service is one of three areas of focus for the not-for-profit Chilliwack Learning Society, which also offers English as a Second Language programming and literacy outreach initiatives. The society was founded in 1990 to support literacy and lifelong learning.
“It’s all about learning, and literacy in the widest sense of the word – reading, writing, math and technology,” Ball says. “If you want to learn, let us know and we’ll find a way to help.”
Finding a good match ensures the tutoring relationship works for both, says Ball, who works with the pairs for the first few weeks.
The organization asks for a six-month commitment from volunteers, but typically just an hour or so of tutoring each week in a public place such as a library or coffee shop, plus about a half-hour of preparation. All volunteers also undergo a criminal record check and training.
If you’d like to make a real difference in someone’s life, the Chilliwack Learning Society wants to hear from you! Tutor training begins later this fall – email Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Burger & Brew for Literacy
Enjoy a night out with great food, fun and support for the invaluable work of the Chilliwack Learning Society at the organization’s inaugural Burger & Brew Sept. 29.
Welcoming guests to The Well in Chances Chilliwack between 6 and 10 p.m., ticket-holders will enjoy live music later in the evening. Place bids in the silent auction, try your luck at the 50/50 draw, and vie for raffle prizes. Bring some friends, or make new ones there!
Learn more about the Chilliwack Learning Society at chilliwacklearning.com or call 604-392-2404.