Red Deer Public Library adult literacy programmer Carolyn Simard shares a laugh with library literacy volunteer Arcadio Zamora during a volunteer appreciation event at the Dawe Library Wednesday evening. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer literacy volunteers appreciated

Honouring volunteers during National Volunteer Week

Many of the 356 adult learners registered with Red Deer Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program are improving their English thanks to 195 volunteers.

On Wednesday night some of those volunteers attended the program’s annual Appreciation Night for Volunteers.

“I always thought it was something I wanted to do. I’m not a teacher but yet I thought I have a good enough understanding of the English language, I should be able to help somebody,” said Sylvia Bolkowy who has volunteered for about six years.

She was surprised just how much she enjoys being a literacy volunteer.

”I just love my students and I just love the student I have now. She’s taught me so much about her country where she came from. I listen to her stories and just what it’s like to move here,” Bolkowy said at the appreciation event held at the Dawe Branch of the public library.

Wanita Jerusalimiec, who has been a volunteer since October, said program staff are wonderful and volunteering has been a great way to meet people in the community and also to learn.

“I knew I wanted to do something in the community. I use the library a lot and have always seen people doing this one-on-one tutoring. I just thought it was something I could do to help somebody improve their English skills,” Jerusalimiec said.

Alla Mysko-Henke, literacy program manager, said since July 64 new volunteers have joined the program, which is huge.

Last January 30 volunteers came forward after Red Deer learned that Syrian refugees were coming to the city, she said.

“Based on the influx of newcomers to our community, people are more and more interested to help out,” Mysko-Henke said.

She said there are different reasons why people volunteer. Sometimes they have lived in another country and know how difficult it is to live in a different country. Others are retired and want to do something rewarding and be engaged in the community.

“The other day I registered two 19-year olds who are going through the college program and getting their education degrees.”

But she said people don’t have to be teachers to volunteer. Training and support are provided.

“You don’t need to be a teacher to be an awesome volunteer. Lots of our learners are looking for a live English speaking person to practise their English language with because they’re not exposed to much in their home environment or work environment even.

“If you speak English you already have a lot to give and a lot to contribute.”

The program is always looking for more volunteers. Right now over 80 learners are waiting for a volunteer, she said.

If Red Deerians are interested in meeting people from different cultures and are looking for a rewarding experience, this could be the volunteer program for them, Mysko-Henke said.

“Many of our volunteers say that they feel they get as much if not more than they give.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

Human waste ‘backlog’ from Red Deer to be spread on farmers’ fields this spring

Council approved $1 million to compensate for loss of crops

Red Deer city council tries to find more cost-savings

Many spending proposals are queried, discussed

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Red Deer man sentenced for child porn

Man sentenced to one year in prison after being arrested in major anti-child pornography operation

Replay Red Deer Jan. 14: Watch news highlights in pictures

Stories mentioned: Red Deer RCMP seize large quantity of cocaine: Read more… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Photo: Chilly work in Veterans’ Park

What a chilly job but somebody has to do it.… Continue reading

Boy, 15, one of three hit in Vancouver shooting

Police believe a man in his 20s was the target of the shooting

UBCO psychology professor placed under supervision with focus on “boundary issues”

Dr. Stephen Porter has stepped aside from his teaching duties

Alberta elementary school teacher arrested on child porn charges

Investigators charged a 44-year-old Pincher Creek man with possessing, accessing, and distributing child pornography

Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms

Climate change in Alaska has the potential to create serious physical and… Continue reading

U.S. cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold… Continue reading

Canadian Kennel Club seeking to add 12 more dogs to its pack

2018’s incoming class could include the Portuguese sheepdog, Tibetan mastiff, rat terrier and Spanish water dog

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month