Smiling faces and tears of joy were all on display last week at the Oakland Literacy Council’s annual graduation ceremony at its offices in Bloomfield Hills. Of the 37 graduates, 18 attended the festivities which included a Venezuelan luncheon catered by a current Oakland Literacy student and the husband of one of the graduates. With their proud families and tutors in attendance, the literacy grads gratefully accepted their certificates from the Council’s Board President, Judy Lindstrom.
During the hour-long ceremony, students spoke of the difference the tutors had made in their lives, both as teachers and mentors. A Japanese student whose husband is here on a work visa gave an emotional speech regarding the dilemma of buying fresh fish. She explained to the audience, “I love fresh fish. But I was too embarrassed to ask for it when I was at the store, so I bought frozen fish. My tutor came with me one day and showed me what to do, and now my husband and I are so happy to have fresh fish!”
Oakland Literacy Council students are paired with trained volunteer tutors and meet weekly in a public space near their home. This tried and true model helps build skills and confidence for those without the basic skills needed for employment, involvement in the community, or helping children excel in school. The OLC serves native born students who need basic literacy skills and foreign-born students who need conversational and written English skills.
The Oakland Literacy Council is currently looking for dedicated, volunteer tutors to teach literacy skills to adults. Volunteers must attend a tutor training session before they are certified by the Council and matched with a student. To learn more about becoming a tutor, visit oaklandliteracy.com and click on “Become a Tutor,” or call the Council at 248-253- 1617.