Press Releases

Washtenaw Literacy Tutoring Offers Job-Seekers Valuable Experience

Unemployed have a unique opportunity to help others

(June, 2009) - Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization devoted to eradicating adult illiteracy, offers an opportunity for the unemployed to continue to contribute to the community while job-seeking. In a recent Washtenaw Literacy tutor training session, 27% of the volunteers self-identified as unemployed.  While looking for work, these volunteers tutor adult learners in reading, writing or English. The tutoring experience encourages the volunteer tutors to persevere in their own search for work, as they witness the struggles that their learners face.

Let's take a look at Susan Place, just one of the many recent volunteers who seek employment. Susan has a degree in social work along with work experience in human services. However, most recently, she has been a homemaker. For 18 years, Susan took care of an ill family member, volunteered in a school and taught her son at home. She is now looking to find employment because finances are tight at home.

Susan's Spanish classes at Washtenaw Community College exposed her to international classmates. Her positive experiences with international students led her to volunteer at Washtenaw Literacy with the ESL tutoring programs and to consider a career in teaching English or working with immigrants. "I knew I wanted to do ESL," says Susan. "Tutoring gives me a chance to be with people who are wonderful. It gives me a lot of energy. People are inspiring."

Susan has been tutoring a woman in Washtenaw Literacy's one-on-one program for over two years. She has also begun to tutor older adults in English at an English tutoring group.
Susan helps her individual learner polish her resume, apply for a car loan and find better employment. While tutoring and encouraging her learners, Susan is exploring her own options: "Am I good at this? Would I like to continue with this?"

Executive Director Amy Goodman points out, "For those who are currently unemployed…please consider becoming a tutor.  By completing our significant training and committing for a year to tutoring, volunteers illustrate impressive indicators of job success-what a great resume item for a job-seeker.  And like Susan, you'll find the experience rewarding during a difficult time and both you and your learner will be enriched."

For questions about the training, tutoring programs and to register for a volunteer orientation, contact Washtenaw Literacy today:
(734) 879-1320 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Washtenaw Literacy

Washtenaw Literacy's purpose is straightforward: we help adults change their lives through literacy. Our organization has over 35 years experience in helping men and women improve their reading, writing and English as a second language skills.

Our core program is one-on-one tutoring. This is the approach our first volunteer tutors used in 1971. The reason we still use it today is because it works. Over 90% of adults in our one-on-one tutoring program reach one or more of their goals. Part of this success stems from our "designer tutor" approach. We train each of our volunteer tutors to plan lessons according to the learner's strengths, needs and goals. Adult learners in our program are motivated because they are setting, and meeting, their own standards for success.

This focus on individual goals makes our program unique in the county. Washtenaw Literacy is a critical part of our community's educational continuum. Someday we hope to have no need for our services. Until then, we'll support our volunteer tutors as they help low-literate men and women improve their skills and their lives.