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Michael Miller

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By Michael Miller
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Literacy Nassau Seeking Volunteers

Students are referred to Literacy Nassau by family, friends, local libraries and other community-based organizations. Volunteers are recruited from all over Nassau County. Tutors are trained, certified and supported by Literacy Nassau throughout the year.

Rothman trained to become a tutor about two years ago. She was a special education teacher at the time and has served on the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education for 15 years.

“Education is very important to me,” said Rothman, who tutors a Haitian woman, a home care health worker who was able to read close to a first grade reading level, once a week.

“She waited almost two years for a tutor in the program,” said Rothman. “She wanted to improve her reading skills, learn to write better and enjoy reading.”

It was important for Rothman to tutor a woman. “I believe that women need to be empowered in order to be successful and productive,” she said. ”It was very important to the woman I tutor to be proud of herself as well.”

Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs has been an advocate for Literacy Nassau and encourages residents to volunteer. “Nearly 20 percent of Nassau County residents struggle with low literacy and daily activities many of us take for granted such as reading dosage instructions on prescriptions, completing job applications or having a conversation with their child’s teacher,” said Jacobs. “Through personalized instruction, volunteers help adult learners achieve their goals, assisting their students toward self-sufficiency and personal success.”

Jacobs noted that finding quality volunteers is the number one challenge faced by Literacy Nassau. Several hundred adults are waiting to be matched with a tutor.

Tutors are trained and certified by Literacy Nassau. Training is provided through 15-hour workshops, split into either five three-hour sessions or three five-hour sessions. Workshops are held at various locations and times throughout the year. Volunteers are asked to pay a materials fee of $35 for textbooks provided by Literacy Nassau.

“I believe that investing in literacy improves people’s lives, helps communities and opens the doors to a world beyond us,” said Rothman. “I not only enjoy this experience, but it has given to me more than I can ever give.”

For more information about Literacy Nassau or to sign up to become a volunteer, visit www.literacynassau.org, or call their offices at 486-2789.

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: millercolumn@optimum.net