It’s all about literacy for volunteer
For the past two years, Apple Hill area resident Alison Tucker has been helping local residents improve their literacy skills. It doesn’t matter if they are recent immigrants or students looking to upgrade their skills, Mrs. Tucker will work with anyone who wants to enhance their English skills.
The England-born Mrs. Tucker, who worked as a nurse for 40 years and also taught at St. Lawrence College, does her volunteer work through the TriCounty Literacy Council, whom, she says, offered her the perfect retirement project.
“I was looking to do something that I love and I wanted it to be volunteer work,” she says. “I didn’t want to be tied to a schedule.”
The Cornwall-based TriCounty Literacy Council specializes in addressing adult literacy needs in the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. It does this by helping upgrade literacy skills, prepare students for GEDs, conduct computer training and pro- vide occupational training for entry-level positions.
Despite all of this, Mrs. Tucker says there isn’t a whole lot of awareness about the program in rural areas.
“They are trying to encourage people from outside of Cornwall to get involved in the program as either a tutor or client,” she says. “If people need help, they go through an assessment and that can be done outside of Cornwall. We can even go to the client’s home if need be.”
Mrs. Tucker says she mostly works with people to improve their English.
“I work with people from different cultures,” she says. “A lot of what I do is conversational, getting them comfortable speaking English, but it’s also reading and writing.”
A typical week will see her work about four hours. She prefers working with one client at a time. She has worked with one person in Avonmore but everyone else has been in Cornwall.
And although she won’t reveal the names or nationalities of her clients, she says that they are all unique.
“One of my clients was really into cooking, so I would bring in cookbooks and we would work with those,” she says. “We also have worksheets and workbooks, provided by the TriCounty Literacy Council, that we do together.”
She says that volunteering has proven to be educational for her too.
“I learn a lot, especially if they are new Canadians,” she says. “There are people from all walks of life. It’s true what they say – you learn a lot through teaching.”
This spring, the council is offering a number of training programs, including Communication Counts, Microsoft Word, and Tablet Training.
To learn more, call 613-9327161.
VOLUNTEER WORK: For two years, Apple Hill area resident Alison Tucker has been volunteering her time with the Tri-County Literacy Council.