Press Releases


Washtenaw Literacy was awarded funding to improve the employability of low-income adults


The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation awards Washtenaw Literacy $20,000 to support unique Mentor Program

Michigan economic crisis fuels growing waiting list for one-on-one tutors



Workforce Investment Act II Funds Extend Agency Reach

Case Study illustrates a powerful and moving outcome achieved by a committed tutor/learner pair

(November  2009) – Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization devoted to eradicating adult illiteracy, has the daily privilege of seeing real-life case studies that showcase the impact of literacy needs on everyday life.  The demand for the free one-on-one tutoring programs that Washtenaw Literacy’s volunteer tutors provide is high.  More tutors are needed.  Please read the story of Esther and Veronica below and consider volunteering.


Esther Brunssen has been a Washtenaw Literacy English group tutor and a group coordinator prior to tutoring one-on-one. An emigrant from the Netherlands, Esther feels empathy for English learners and is enthusiastic about helping them achieve their learning goals.


This summer Esther began tutoring Veronica Miranda, an English learner through Washtenaw Literacy’s one-on-one tutoring program. A special education teacher, Veronica enjoyed teaching children with visual-impairments in Argentina. Veronica wished to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a high score in order to pursue teaching certification, social work or other studies at a Michigan college.  Universities require this test of prospective foreign students.  Learning about Veronica’s goal triggered Esther’s own desire to pursue higher studies.


Now, Esther and Veronica are preparing together to take the TOEFL exam. Esther says: “It’s so much better when we both do it than alone.” Both women negotiate child care issues in order to attend tutoring sessions, including Washtenaw Literacy’s ESL tutoring groups that offer specialized practice with TOEFL questions. “I appreciate the tutors more now,” mentions Esther, who is now attending as a learner.

Esther isn’t certain what she would like to study, but she is excited about the options that will be open to her once she passes the TOEFL test.  “If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t improve my English. It’s a challenge” says Esther.


For Veronica, having a tutor who is pursuing the same goal has been beneficial. “I feel that you understand me more,” she says to Esther. ”I feel more motivated. My big problem with English is confidence.  I feel very comfortable with her. She helps me a lot with English. I feel better.”


Washtenaw Literacy Executive Director Amy Goodman sums it up, “We see the difference that improved reading and communication skills can make.  In this economy, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to give people their best chance at success. To do that, we need help.  Please consider becoming a volunteer.”


For questions about the training, tutoring programs and to register for a volunteer orientation, contact Washtenaw Literacy today: 734-879-1320, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Corporations can also get involved.  Ask us about our Brown Bag programs.


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.