A year and a half ago, David, who had been looking for work, was offered an interview over zoom, but he felt so unsure of using zoom and doing anything using basic technology he turned down the interview. David began working with a LVK tutor to improve his basic reading and math skills, but his tutor soon learned that one of David’s biggest barriers was his ability to use technology – upload a resume, apply for a job online, use zoom. Both tutor and learner were able to have tablets through the LVK Technology Access Program and began replacing in-person meetings with remote lessons. David soon became more comfortable with technology and is able to connect with his tutor whenever he needs to. Now, however, it is becoming harder and harder for tutor and learner to meet, as David has been working now for almost a year- the longest length of time he has held a job. David’s confidence has soared!
Felisha was very disappointed she could not meet with a tutor in person, but was willing to give working on the tablets a try. Her experience with technology was limited, but she has caught on and is now sharing book reports about the books she reads with her tutor by taking a picture of her report and sending it over the tablet to her tutor. She and her tutor normally each have a copy of the same book so they can easily discuss points of the book over zoom. Felisha had struggled with reading and had never written a book report – she is now writing independent stories about events in her life (a family camping trip, her backpack collection) and is so proud of her work when she and her tutor do come into the LVK office, she will read one of her stories to the Executive Director – with obvious pride!
One of LVK’s tutors recently shared this account of volunteering with LVK for six and a half years, working with one particular person for most of that time. “We’ve built a strong relationship, and they have come a long way with their reading and confidence. We were just heading into a new plan to help improve their writing and spelling, because they had an opportunity arise! Then COVID-19 interrupted things. Both of us have health problems which place us in high-risk categories, and it was clear we could not meet in person. We took a break and just started checking in by phone in March 2021, but when it became clear that this would be a prolonged scenario, I know we were both worried about the set-back. My learner I am working with is not especially comfortable with technology, so when LVK reached out about the new tablet program, I was not certain if they would wish to try it. However, when I contacted them about it, I was thrilled to learn that they wanted so badly to keep up the work we’d begun, that they were willing to give it a try! We were set up with our tablets and given training in a very safe and socially-distant manner. I must add here that Domingo, who has been the IT person heading up the program, is a delight to work with and has been doing an exceptional job! It did take a couple of sessions before we started getting things to go smoothly, but we are doing very well now. In fact, I’ve been completely impressed at how well the person I am working with has adapted to and embraced the technology! As we enter the new year, I hope to slowly add a few more things for us to use together on the tablets, now that we seem to have all the basics down nicely. This technology has truly been tremendous for us. We would certainly not have been able to meet again without it at this point. We are so grateful to the LVK for making this possible!”
This success story is a joint collaboration with Bridging the Gap/Warming Center and LVK. Since 2015, LVK has had a volunteer present at the Augusta Warming Center from the time it was a United Way sponsored project and housed at the old Masonic Hall space until the present where the Warming Center is a part of Bridging the Gap’s (BTG) service array. Our volunteers have helped individuals write resumes, complete applications for housing, and study for andpass their driver’s permit test. Most recently one of LVK’s regular tutors, Joline has been working with one BTG volunteer, Donna. Donna worked with Joline over a year, made great progress in her reading and was recently recognized both by LVK and BTG for being awarded her tablet and consistently meeting with Joline for over a year. Donna’s face tells it all!
About Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec
Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec promotes and fosters increased literacy for adults with low reading skills or those for whom English is not their native language, through volunteers. The organization also encourages and aids individuals, groups, or organizations that want to help adults read better through a community communications program. All services are provided free of charge to anyone. There is an ongoing need for volunteers.