September Spotlight on Adult Literacy

Kelly Tyler, Senior Librarian, Lifelong Learning,
Adult literacy logo with pictures of 2 women

September is National Literacy Month and we want to thank all of our volunteers for the amazing and selfless work they do in support of adult literacy. Every day, all across Los Angeles, they take time out of their busy lives to help other Angelenos learn to read.

While the adult literacy program has many different resources, from self-study tools like Cell-Ed and group conversation classes for English language learners, the foundation of our program is the special relationship between a tutor and learner in one-on-one tutoring. Meeting twice a week over months or years, our pairs develop a mutually rewarding bond that allows adult learners to succeed in their literacy pursuits.

The story of Carmen and Lorena is a perfect example of this bond. In their own words, they tell us about their experience:

Lorena Lordanic: Volunteer

My name is Lorena Lordanic, I am 25 years old, and a proud adult literacy tutor. I have had the pleasure of being an adult literacy tutor for an entire year. Last February 2017, I was looking for a way to give my time in order to help someone else. There are many volunteer opportunities around, but once I heard about the literacy program, I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. I have one student and her name is Carmen Chavez. Carmen and I were both new to the literacy program but immediately felt comfortable with each other. Tutoring Carmen this past year has benefited my life in so many ways. Not only do I get to think of innovative ways to help her reach her goals, but Carmen also inspires me to continue learning. She is always so appreciative of my time with her, and we have become good friends. Carmen and I are both excited to continue our journey with the literacy program.

Carmen Chavez: Student

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Carmen Chavez. I'm 67 years old. I'm unemployed now, and I decided to join the adult literacy program at Wilmington Branch Library because I want to get a better job. The adult literacy program helps people to learn English. The tutors there plan the lessons to help people at different levels. The different levels let one advance at one's own pace. Lorena Lordanic is helping me with my English. She is an excellent tutor. We meet at the library 2 days a week. Lorena is very kind and it helps me feel comfortable with the lessons. The lessons are carefully planned to help me in the way I need. I finished with [literacy workbook] Challenger level #1 and recently started with Challenger level #2. I'm happy with what I'm doing now, this will help me improve my English skills and will allow me to get a good job. I also appreciate the help I already got from Abel Santibanez, the program coordinator, and the individual help I'm getting from Lorena Lordanic.

Our program is only possible because people like Lorena generously donate their time and thoughtfulness to learners like Carmen. If you would like to read more stories like Carmen and Lorena’s, as well as adult literacy student writing and achievements, check out our READ newsletter. It might inspire you to join our program, too!

The adult literacy program also hosts volunteer recognition events to honor the commitment and generosity of our tutors and teachers. If you are an adult literacy volunteer, check with your literacy coordinator to see if there is a special event near you!