Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meet our literacy volunteer: Dr. Rob Scarr

Rob Scarr, an Edmonds resident and physician at The Everett Clinic, has been a volunteer tutor in our Volunteer Literacy Program for two and a half years, teaching math, science, and social studies. EdmondsSphere recently talked with him about what it's like to be volunteer tutor working with students in GED classes at Edmonds Community College.
“I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives and I’ve always enjoyed teaching and mentoring.” — volunteer tutor, Rob Scarr
Why volunteer? My family has a long tradition of volunteering. It’s expected within our family.
Why literacy? Most of the students really want to learn, or at least pass the test, and they do appreciate the help. It’s fun when their eyes light up when they understand something. These students have combined challenges — a very basic understanding of some of the subjects and for many English isn’t their first language. They need the one-on-one interaction so they can get their questions answered and understand the process.
Best volunteer experience: When a student I’d been working with told me her friends had tried to get her to skip class because it was such a beautiful day, but she said she had to come to class because she knew I was going to be there — that’s how I can tell I’m making a difference.
Advice for people thinking about becoming volunteer tutors: Do it. It’s an interesting challenge to learn how to do it well and it makes a big difference in people’s lives. These students won’t get it from lecture alone. They need more personal contact. You don’t have to be great in math to help — and you can also teach reading and social studies. There are lots of ways to help.

The Volunteer Literacy Program is looking for more volunteer tutors for the 2010-11 academic year, and there's a particular need for reading tutors. A free training for reading tutors will be held on Sept. 17 (but you don't have to attend the training to volunteer). For more information, call Nancy Strom at 425.640.1032.

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