This week is National Volunteer Week,
and volunteers help keep the center’s mission alive.
“Even though it’s been a short time, it’s been the best time,” Brenna Clay, a volunteer at the non-profit organization, says.
She’s been tutoring Katie Miller for the past few months, working with Katie on her literacy skills.
“Katie has been so dedicated,” Brenna says. “And sometimes I’ll ask her if she wants a break. And she’s like, ‘No, I really need to do this math.’ So it’s really been awesome.”
Katie has high-functioning autism and generalized anxiety disorder. She’s working towards getting her GED, along with a few other life goals.
“I’m getting married one day, go to college for crime scene investigation or (to be a) speech pathologist or like occupational therapist,” Katie says.
She wants to give back to others, just like how Brenna helps her out.
“I think Brenna is awesome,” Katie says. “Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better tutor.”
And she isn’t the only one learning when they meet weekly for math and reading activities. Brenna is taking life lessons home too.
“One of my favorites is we’re working on Katie’s confidence,” she says. “But when she said that, I immediately was like, ‘This is great because I’m working on this too.’ So it’s kind of like we’re working together.”
The two are one of 120 tutor-learner pairs in the non-profits Adult Tutoring Program.
“We meet learners where they are,” Yilin Wendland-Liu, the program’s director, says. “Whatever they want to learn for their life, for their career, for their children, we support them.”
The program’s waiting list continues to grow. There are more than 50 people waiting for a tutor. That means the non-profit is always in need of volunteers.
“By having the one specific tutor for the learner, they can learn at their own comfort level, and they are able to achieve their own individual life goals or learning goals,” Yinlin says. “And then you will build such an awesome relationship with your learner. That is very precious.”
For anyone on the fence about seeking out help, Katie has some advice.
“I’d say the literacy center is a good way to boost your confidence and help you out,” she says.
Those interested in resources at the Literacy Center of West Michigan can