Would you recommend Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council?
I have been a volunteer tutor with GPLC for over 10 years. Because of the wonderful, grass-roots work that GPLC does and the way our services help students achieve amazing goals, I would highly recommend GPLC to friends and colleagues. In fact, I have. My brother is now a GPLC tutor and other friends of mine that are near retirement will soon be tutors!
I have volunteered with GPLC in their ESL program for four years and have enjoyed it greatly. I have tutored several students from a variety of countries and have learned so much from them! I find students to be very appreciative of my efforts as well as the chance to get to know an American. I also participate in GPLC's telephone partner program in which I speak for 30 minutes a week with a student. Occasionally, I meet them for coffee so we can see who we are talking to. My efforts have been appreciated by the organization and assistance on various issues has always been willingly provided. This is an entirely worthwhile organization to commit one's energies to, and I have recommended it to several friends looking for satisfying volunteer experience.
Over the past seven years, as a GPLC volunteer tutor, I’ve worked with many different ESL students. They have all been enthusiastic learners who have inspired me in many ways. Often our meetings are the only occasion the students have for practicing their English in a non threatening setting and they are grateful for this opportunity. I cherish the relationships that I have made through tutoring. The professional staff of GPLC is very helpful about assisting tutors with resource material and other support. My local coordinator is wonderful and offers encouragement when needed. Attending monthly “Tutor Talks” is informative and a good way to meet other tutors and brainstorm new ideas. If you are looking for a meaningful way to make a contribution to your community, please consider contacting GPLC. You do not have to be an education expert but merely have the desire to make someone's life a little easier. Volunteering with GPLC is enjoyable, extremely rewarding and just a whole of fun!
The first two years were great! Sadly, it went downhill. First, all volunteers were given mandates about "extra" professional development hours. Those who protested were told to be quiet. It was ridiculous to add on hours to volunteers whose time was already stretched thin with prep work and the required four hours per week volunteering. Secondly, I started getting mailings for financial donations. This felt like a slap in the face. I am already giving you time and energy, and now you want my money, too! Then our coordinator left. They replaced her with an incompetent girl who didn't know anything about literacy or ESL. You will also be micromanaged. They will call you into their office to have "chats" about your performance and make you feel stupid. I have been waiting a year for new tutees since mine successfully completed their studies, and the third new coordinator has yet to contact me. Don't volunteer here. They won't appreciate you and will treat you like a child.
GPLC has given me the opportunity to "open up a life"--not only by helping my student, Gary P, to improve his reading and writing skills, but by helping him to get a job, to manage his home, and to increase his self-confidence. When Gary told me that he had volunteered to work the polls for a city council candidate because she promised him that she would work to improve public education--and that he had attended her victory party--I knew that our work together had enriched his life and mine in amazing ways.