Wanted: Tutors for Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County
By Barbara Perone
If you already have a background in teaching a foreign language and want to become a Tutor for non-English speaking adults, then perhaps you may want to volunteer with the Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County.
LVSC is a non-profit organization that provides one-on-one, and small group training, to functionally illiterate adults. The organization recruits a network of volunteers and trains them in both basic literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL); then, it matches them with one or more adult students.
The organization tries to accomplish its mission of teaching people to read and communicate by:
- training volunteer Tutors in the fundamentals of basic literacy and ESOL instruction, including: reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
- providing Tutors with on-going support and in-service skills development programs
- locating and recruiting functionally illiterate adult pupils
- creating and maintaining collaborative Tutor-Student matches
- helping students establish and reach realistic personal goals, and
- promoting student self-sufficiency
To become a Tutor for LVSC there are certain requirements you must meet, such as:
- you must be at least 18 years-old
- you must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English, as well as speak, hear, and see well enough to communicate effectively with a pupil
- you must be either a high school graduate or possess a GED equivalent
- demonstrate and maintain behavior that shows sensitivity and respect for the student, including using appropriate language, refraining from attending literary functions under the influence or alcohol or drugs, and refraining from harassing or threatening behavior
- for at least one year, you must commit an average of one hour a week of instructional time with a student in Somerset County
- you must meet with the student in a public place
- you must comply with LVSC’s policy that neither students nor Tutors transport each other in their own vehicles
- you must comply with LVSC’s policy of non-discrimination on the basis of: race, creed, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, family status, or disability.
Tutor Training Facts
The training program is intense and you are expected to complete homework and a take-home quiz. (Make-ups are only scheduled under extreme circumstances and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.)
Five training sessions, totalling 15 hours of certification, are extended over the course of a month or so. Attendance at all five sessions is necessary to receive certification in basic literacy & ESOL.
LVSC hopes to match you with one or more students to work with who will be a good fit, based on the availability of both parties. However, the organization can’t promise that it will have a person that is a “perfect” match. If the match does not work, there is a possibility that, even with its waiting list of students, a Tutor may have to wait to be matched with a pupil. The group’s goal is to match you with a student once you complete training.
Where is Training held?
Training is held at the People Care Center for Non-Profits, located at 120 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater. The phone number is 908.725.2299, the fax number is 908.725.2607. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule for Next Training Classes
The next five Tutor training classes will be held on: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, Saturday, September 21, 2013, Saturday, September 28, 2013, Wednesday, October 2 and Saturday, October 12, 2013. All Saturday classes begin at 9 a.m. and end by noon; Wednesday classes begin at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.
What happens after training is complete?
Each Tutor is matched with a student or group of students from the same geographic area and with similar availability of dates and times. For a minimum of one year, meetings occur once a week for one and a half hours. On a regular basis, all Tutors will be required to report their tutoring hours to the organization.
What if I have a question?
The LVSC office staff, and experienced Tutors, are available to answer any questions you may have about the program and provide guidance. Resources are also available on our website at www.literacysomerset.org. You will be required to submit hours spent tutoring, on a timely basis, and periodically you will be asked to attend meetings, events, and get-togethers with other Tutors and members of LVSC. You will also be kept informed through the organization’s quarterly newsletter.
The Training Fee
The cost for materials that are provided to each new volunteer Tutor is quite expensive. Due to the cost LVSC incurs to recruit and train new volunteers, the organization requires a fee of $50 to defray part of the costs of the materials and resources provided.
This fee must be paid prior to starting the classes. You can pay online or mail a check payable to LVSC. (At income tax time, check with your Accountant to see if you can deduct the $50 fee from your taxes, if becoming a Tutor will help you find a new job.)