The Volunteer Program
Are you looking for volunteer opportunities in Otsego, Delaware or Chenango counties?
Volunteer tutors are the lifeblood of the Literacy Volunteers of Delaware and Otsego Counties. Whether you have teaching experience, a passion for reading, or just the desire to give back, we need you!
The focus of Literacy Volunteers of Otsego and Delaware Counties (LVODC) is on recruiting, training and supporting volunteer tutors and matching them with adults in need of basic reading and writing or English as a second language. Tutors and students meet at a public location and a time most convenient for them. All contact between the tutors, students and LVODC remains strictly confidential.
Adults who seek our program services do so for a variety of reasons. They may have difficulty finding or keeping a job or may not be able to read materials encountered on a daily basis. Some may want to read to their children or help them with their homework. Others may simply want to read and write letters to family or friends. Whatever the reason, the doors to literacy and reading and writing are opened by volunteers who are willing to set aside a few hours a week to help another adult in need.
The tutor/student relationship involves support, encouragement, sharing of successes, and, most of all, a lasting friendship. Students not only gain knowledge and become proficient in reading and writing, but also experience enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence. Equally important, the tutor experiences learning and growth and discovers self-satisfaction in sharing the gift of reading and writing with another human being. Literacy Volunteer tutors do make a difference in the lives of their students.
There are a variety of ways in which you can volunteer with us, you can:
- Tutor an individual student or a small group in English or math literacy
- Lead an English conversation group of speakers of other languages
- Teach computer literacy skills
- Help in our office in Oneonta
- Engage your organization in a fundraiser benefiting LVOD
- Help spread the word about LVODC
Literacy New York, with the assistance of a group of reading professionals, developed a comprehensive training workshop to equip and prepare volunteers to tutor adults who request literacy services. This informal discussion-style training accompanied by an accredited tutor manual and materials is used as the core component of tutor training workshops by Literacy Volunteers affiliates nationwide. Literacy New York also offers online training as an alternative to in-person sessions.
What It's Like
Tutoring is about building a relationship with your adult student as you work together to meet goals. Because building trust and confidence is important when working with adults who have struggled with literacy, finding out about your student’s life and dreams for the future is an important first step towards success. Learning to read and write takes patience and persistence for the student, and for the tutor as well.
Tutoring for LVODC requires a weekly commitment of approximately 3-4 hours: 1.5 to 2 hours with your student, plus the time that it takes you to prepare for the tutoring session. There are no tests or homework to correct, but you may spend time planning lessons and finding authentic language (for example, menus or signs) for your student to practice reading. LVODC can provide workbooks to help you structure the progression of lessons, but you also are free to try multiple strategies that help to meet your individual student’s goals. When tutoring language literacy, you will work to help your student recognize words on sight, sound them out phonetically, and improve their fluency in reading. With English for speakers of other languages, the main focus is on speaking and understanding English before your student turns to basic language literacy.
To encourage real gains in skills as well as build that relationship, we ask for a commitment to tutor weekly. However, we realize that our tutors have lives that may take them out of town for periods of time, so we try to accommodate those plans. Prospective volunteers who spend a summer or winter away from the local area should discuss their likely plans with the Program Coordinator, Eva Davidson, when applying to become a tutor.
To see testimonials from other volunteers, check out our Volunteer Testimonials Page.