Learner Focus
In Alfonso's Words

My name is Alfonso Guerra Astorga. I have been living in here for 13 years. I am originally from Nicaragua, Central America. In Nicaragua I obtained associates agricultural and in Costa Rica obtained an associates in business administration.  I wanted to come to Literacy Center to learn more English. English classes have already impacted me communicatively and comprehending better with my clients and the community. I am feeling more confident. My present and main goals now are to dominate English language, to socialize with the North American community, and looking for more customers. Finally I am happy living in U.S.A.

Alfonso is a student in the Literacy Center's community English Language/Civics classes.
A new vision for tutor training

Kate LawWe take pride in providing our tutors with excellent training before they begin working with a learner. Kate Law is a Literacy Center literacy coordinator who has earned a TEFL certificate and has taught English language classes in Spain and Nepal. This spring, she is redesigning the portion of the tutor training that teaches tutors how to work with English language learners.  She plans to focus on teaching practical methods for use in instruction, particularly using the Lit Start manual that all tutors receive.  "I want to give them tools, but also help them know how to use them," says Kate.  She plans to create simulation activities that will require tutors to use the strategies in the manual to help learners develop speaking, listening, and reading and writing skills in English.  

Have you considered becoming a tutor?  Kate's redesigned training will be a part of the April tutor training sessions - sign up now!
Spellebration Tickets On Sale 

Join us on Thursday, May 28 from 5:30-9:00 PM at the Cheney Place as we honor the Keller Foundation, Lupe Ramos-Montigny, and the late Dr. John MacKeigan. 

Tickets are $75 and sponsorship opportunities begin at $500. Buy yours today! 

Upcoming Events
Volunteer Orientations
April 2 or 7

Neighborhood Literacy Forum
Topic: Digital Storytelling
April 14

Family Activity Nights

April 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 29

May 28
Digital storytelling forum

Discover the power of digital storytelling with Storyboard, a free online service that uses collaborative storytelling to connect students, teachers, and families. Learn more from Cynthia Clingman and Mark Raffler on April 14 from 4 - 5 pm at the Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch.  

Learn more and register to attend!
Meet Chelsea

Chelsea DyerChelsea volunteers at Family Literacy Nights and also tutors an adult learner.  We had some questions for Chelsea about why she volunteers. 

In what way(s) do you volunteer with the Literacy Center?
A few times a month, I enjoy volunteering for Family Activity Nights that are held in certain elementary schools in Grand Rapids. This allows me to interact with the instructors at these schools, the other volunteers, as well as the awesome families that take part in the event. From my experiences with that, I learned about the tutoring program through the Literacy Center.  Now I work with a learner every week.

What made you decide to volunteer with us?
After moving into downtown GR last August, I wanted to become more involved with the community. I searched online for a bit, and the Literacy Center seemed like a great place to be a part of! The people I’ve met there are very inspiring and dedicated to the work that they do in the community, and that’s what keeps me volunteering.

What is your favorite part about volunteering at the Literacy Center? 
Every person I have had the pleasure of meeting has been so inspiring and so dedicated to the end goal: helping members of the community who struggle with literacy. It’s hard not to feel happy and motivated by being around such great, warm people. That is my favorite part.

Interested in volunteering with the Literacy Center?
Learn more at
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