Aquinas Grows Volunteers Brigade with Latest Batch of Trained Tutors

Published November 26, 2019
New English language tutors at Aquinas include, from left to right, in front row, Dawn Tartaglia, David Falk, Christopher Knapp, Ann Marie Kirby and Michael Pennell; in the second row, Karen McKenna, Bill Deegan and Veneta Gilchrist; in the third row, Joseline Perez and Felipe Kim; in the fourth row, Hayley Winden and Rita Dobbs; and in the fifth row, Anne Dailidonis and Beth Elia.

Aquinas Literacy Center, a McKinley Park neighborhood-based non-profit offering free English training to local language learners, added to its ever-expanding corps of volunteers at its November 2019 training seminar. Fourteen new volunteers completed the two-day course on Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16, readying themselves to tutor students as part of this popular program.

"Without the support of many volunteers, Aquinas would not be able to carry out its mission of empowering adults to learn English and become more engaged in their community," said Volunteer Coordinator Sabrina Poulin.

The training involved a Friday night and Saturday daytime session, and volunteers needed to also complete three hours of solo instruction. Once finished, the volunteers received a certification and membership to ProLiteracy and were ready to work one-on-one with a local language learner.

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Tutoring sessions involve about 90 minutes per week of volunteering, and all training takes place at the Aquinas Literacy Center, located at 1751 W. 35th St., Chicago. All instruction takes place in English, Poulin said, so volunteer tutors do not need to know a second language.

More volunteers are still needed, Poulin said, as there is a continual waiting list of people who want to become literate in English, with more than 50 people waiting for help. The next English Literacy Tutor Training is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 24-25. Anyone interested in signing up or getting more information can contact Poulin by sending email to or calling (773) 927-0512.

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