Literacy Volunteers Students Celebrate Success at Achievement Ceremony
On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, a crowd of over 50 Literacy Volunteers students, their families, tutors, and staff gathered in Vinegar Hill Café at the Jefferson School City Center to celebrate the achievements of 34 Literacy Volunteers students. Executive Director, Ellen Osborne, kicked off the celebration, followed by two veteran tutors, Gail Raymaker and Kathy Riddle and the presentation of certificates. Students were honored for completing 100 hours of study, obtaining U.S. citizenship, and completing the program.
Both Raymaker and Riddle talked about how they came to tutoring and why they stuck around. “Until I was asked to speak [tonight], I didn’t know how long I had been a tutor,” Raymaker said, indicating she’d been having too much fun for the last six years to keep track of the time. She shared stories about the seven international students with whom she’s worked. Though they came from very different countries—including Iran, Honduras, Korea, Turkey, and Mexico—they shared a common dedication to learning English and improving their circumstances. “I feel like I really help people,” Raymaker said. “And I also feel they really give something to me. I have loved every minute of it.”
Riddle echoed Raymaker’s sentiments and shared why literacy matters to her with a story from her childhood. “My mother was singing Silent Night in German,” she said. “And I did not know my mother spoke any German…After she finished, I asked her how she knew German and she said it was all she remembered from her language classes, which were stopped during World War II.” Riddle used the story to stress the importance not only of literacy and language learning, but appreciation of cultural differences.
Following the tutors and award presentation, Sister Sophy Mathew, an ESOL Completer originally from India, spoke about her gratitude for Literacy Volunteers. “I know my English is not yet perfect, but it is so much improved,” she said, attributing much of her success to her work with her tutor, who made learning English an enjoyable challenge.
New Early Child Care Director Joins the Y at the Jefferson School
Ask Michelle Ryan what compelled her to apply for the Early Childcare Director position at the YMCA Intergenerational Learning Center and her face lights up. “I love the Y, what it stands for, its mission, just everything,” she said. Ryan brings with her five years of experience working at the Rappahannock YMCA in Fredericksburg as its Childcare Manager, where she ran a corporate educational childcare center. Having moved to Charlottesville in July, the first place she looked for employment was the YMCA.
“We are always looking for someone that had previous experience working with the YMCA, because they will have a better understanding of our philosophy, mission, and goals we have for our center,” Brookes Sims, Director of Childcare Services, said. “Michelle managed a center with 150 children and 30 plus staff, so she has the capability of leading our wonderful YILC team.”
Ryan, who started this week, is still in training and getting to know the staff. Her responsibilities will include overseeing the childcare staff, promoting Y services, such as Child Watch, and working towards National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. “I want to make sure the community is aware of the programs we have,” Ryan said.
She and Child Watch Coordinator Amanda Johns are already cooking up new ways to promote Child Watch and other Y programs, including a Halloween Extravaganza, featuring carnival style games and trick-or-treating inside the Jefferson School.
Ryan and her two children are settling into Charlottesville nicely and enjoy how livable the city is. “Our favorite thing to do is walk downtown and get some ice cream,” she said.
Go Girls! Offers Zumba Class through Common Ground
Developed at the University of Virginia, Go Girls is a fitness support group designed for adolescent girls who would rather do just about anything than participate in a traditional gym class or team sports. Pediatric endocrine specialist and certified Zumba instructor Christine Burt Solorzano, MD designed the class when she realized that simply telling her patients they needed to exercise was not motivation enough. Thus, each session of the six-week class features 45 minutes of Zumba followed by talks on issues such as nutrition and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Solorzano, along with Anne Gabel, certified zumba instructor, and Marian Matthews, certified yoga instructor, will facilitate the course. Classes will be offered on Fridays, starting October 4th, from 5:30pm-6:30pm. Although walk-ins are welcome, students can also register here.
Jefferson School City Center is a voice of the nine nonprofits located at Charlottesville’s intergenerational community center, the restored Jefferson School. We are a legacy preserved . . . a soul reborn . . . in the heart of Cville!