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.”