Tag Archives: Study Friends

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Volunteer Spotlight: Randy Schroeder

In his 14 years of volunteering with The Literacy Project, Randy Schroeder has helped 19 middle-school students with their reading, homework, and English as a Second Language skills.

Randy lives in Gypsum, and his day job is with San Isabel Telecom. In giving back to the community in such a profound and lasting way, Randy is following in his own father’s footsteps.

“My father, Earl D. Schroeder, was an amazing man, a WWII veteran and a member to the aptly named ‘Greatest Generation,'” said Randy. “While he was stationed in Korea in the 1960s, he ran across and ‘adopted’ 120 kids in an orphanage. Completely on his own initiative, he advocated back stateside for the little ones, raised funds to bring piped-in water, improve the school and dormitory buildings, and purchase livestock (pigs, chickens, cows) to help them become self-sufficient. This was typical for him. He sponsored and coordinated the immigration of over 60 Cambodians fleeing persecution in their native country.”

Randy’s father went on to serve as a Boy Scout troop leader for 20 years.
In his 14 years with The Literacy Project, Randy has also made considerable impact on his Eagle County community. Continue reading

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Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Gallegos

Carol Gallegos taught in the Eagle County School District for 31 years. When she retired in 2008, she missed the students and the interaction with young learners that she enjoyed so much. One summer, while she was still teaching at Edwards Elementary, Carol worked as a teacher with The Literacy Project’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. “When I decided to volunteer after retirement, I was happy to know that Colleen Gray was still in charge of the Literacy Project,” said Carol. “I knew that tutoring for the Literacy Project was just what I wanted to do to continue my connection with education.”

For almost six years now she has done just that. Carol meets weekly with students at Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards through The Literacy Project’s “Study Friends” program. Through the Study Friends, Carol helps students with their homework, study skills, and all academic areas on a one-to-one basis. The rewards are plenty. “It’s a wonderful feeling when my students succeed in bringing up their grades or scoring well on a test or assignment,” said Carol. The experience has often been mutually beneficial: “I am surprised by how much my students know about the technology that is available to them,” said Carol “It is amazing how much information is at their fingertips and how they can access it. They have taught me a few things!”

Carol has had several study friends throughout her 6 years of volunteering with the program. When asked if any student in particular stands out to her, she fondly recalls Ricardo and his quest to learn cursive handwriting. “Ricardo was an 8th grader who wanted to learn to sign his name in cursive. We worked at it little by little at each tutoring session–getting the strokes down using an interactive computer program.” Eventually, Ricardo had a beautiful signature.” He has not forgotten what he learned from Carol: “I saw him recently and he was so happy to see me that he gave me a great big hug.” Ricardo graduated from Battle Mountain High School and is now serving in the military.

In addition to tutoring for Study Friends, Carol makes it a point to advocate on behalf of the good work that is happening with all of The Literacy Project’s programs. “When you know how to read and access information, you can learn anything,” said Carol. “I would like to spread the word to all schools and learners everywhere about the benefits the Literacy Project has to offer–not only to students, but also to tutors as well.”

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Burt Levin

Burt Levin is a 4th generation attorney. He began his legal career in Maryland in 1983, and relocated to the Vail Valley in 1998. Burt is also a dedicated volunteer with The Literacy Project of Eagle County’s “Study Friends” program. The Study Friends Program is designed to help middle school students improve their reading, writing, math, and homework skills by pairing them with a trained adult volunteer tutor. Burt meets with his student weekly at Berry Creek Middle School.

“I help my student on his homework and also generally mentor him,” says Burt, who is now entering his 3rd academic year as a Study Friend. Like many volunteers who give back to the Eagle County community through The Literacy Project, Burt appreciates that volunteering is as much about personal growth as it is about providing support to a local student: “The most rewarding thing about being a Study Friend is establishing a personal relationship with the student that is based on mutual respect and mutual growth for both participants.”

When asked what literacy means to him, Burt translates the ability to read and speak well to personal freedom: “Literacy means an ability to get an education and get ahead in life. It also allows you to follow your interests and learn about what you want to learn about.”

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Volunteer Spotlight: Kyle Diebel

Kyle Diebel is the Vice President of FirstBank Eagle County. He is also a dedicated volunteer with The Literacy Project of Eagle County’s “Study Friends” program. The Study Friends Program is designed to help middle school students improve their reading, writing, math, and homework skills by pairing them with a trained adult volunteer tutor. “As a volunteer with Study Friends I meet with my student weekly and work with them in any area they are finding difficult or challenging at school. We tend to focus on becoming more proficient at reading and also work to complete homework assignments. It’s not just work though–we do our best to get to know each other and have some fun while working.”

A Colorado native from Aurora, Diebel grew up exploring the mountains and all they had to offer. “I was presented with an opportunity to relocate to the Vail Valley for work from the Denver area and who could pass that up?” asked Diebel. “I consider myself lucky to live in this community where I can enjoy so many things I am passionate about–snowboarding, hiking, camping, and all that the mountain lifestyle has to offer right in my own backyard.”

The heart of The Literacy Project’s life-long learning programs are the volunteer tutors that dedicate their time and energy to teach students in one-to-one tutoring, or group classes. Diebel has just finished his first year volunteering with the program.

“I chose to volunteer with The Literacy Project to give back to a community that I feel offers so much to me. I was lucky enough to have outside influences in my childhood that had a great impact on my education. I realize how important it is to have support; not only from teachers and parents, but others in the community you live in while growing up.”

Over the course of the year, Diebel was most surprised at the wonderful sense of gratification he received personally as his Study Friend’s homework grades and test scores improved.

When asked what literacy means to him, Diebel sees the big picture: “Someone once described literacy to me as freedom, and I have interpreted it as such ever since. Literacy opens doors.”

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Volunteer Spotlight: Jody Talbot

Jody Talbot brings passion to everything that she does—whether it be her 35 years in the travel industry, finding a fantastic cup of coffee, her early-morning Pilates practice, or her profound love of literacy.

“Literacy leads us to the pathway that opens doors,” said Talbot. “Be it learning, job possibilities, self-confidence, and the joy of reading. When you love to read you are never alone and never bored.”

The heart of The Literacy Project’s life-long learning programs are the volunteer tutors that dedicate their time and energy to teach students in one-to-one tutoring, or group classes. Jody Talbot has been a volunteer tutor with The Literacy Project for three years. She tutors middle school students in English at Berry Creek Middle School.

“I volunteer with The Literacy Project because I believe that a good education is of the utmost importance, and a gift that should be provided by our world. Hopefully I help my students in this pursuit.”

Talbot considers her responsibility to her students as one of the greatest rewards of her volunteer experience. On the other hand, she says, “I was pleasantly surprised to find my students allowed me to come into their lives so readily. I also was delighted with the help and involvement of the staff at Berry Creek Middle School.”

Talbot became a part of the Eagle Valley community in 1973. “I am from Michigan, the Mitten State. I came from a close family and decided to spread my wings. So I moved to Vail with a college roommate.” She has a long history of volunteerism in the area, and has given back to the community in many ways. In addition to serving as a tutor for The Literacy Project, Jody currently serves on the Board of the Swift Eagle Charitable Fund and is the President of the Friends of the Eagle Valley Library District.

“When I ponder my future, I hope to find myself still a part of The Literacy Project,” said Talbot. “This giving to others is my gift to me.”