Rebuilding lives after spinal cord injury.

Happy Volunteer

1456794_10152506297423513_2483094839099508993_nAfter being laid off from two previous jobs, due to ‘restructuring’, and having no luck finding another job, I knew that I couldn’t survive being at home all the time. Although I was doing some freelance Graphic Design, it wasn’t steady enough to keep me fully occupied.

In late 2010, I started volunteering at Rochdale Library, in the Adult Learner Program as a teacher. I was given training for a few weeks , then I worked with another volunteer teacher , before going solo and taking over a reading and writing class of my own. These totally free classes are offered to adults wanting to get their HSE (High School Equivalenticy) formally the GED.

I have a Muscular Dystrophy Type 3 and I use at motorized wheelchair, so I faced some challenges, most important one being not able to write on the blackboard. So before and sometimes during class a library employee would write what I needed on the board, it wasn’t the best solution but it helped. Two, I can’t go around the tables to check on students work, The center opened a new facility with bigger classrooms last September. This has allowed me to use a projector hooked up to a laptop, I can now use the screen as a blackboard and to project worksheets and the like. It comes in very handy when doing crosswords, sample sentences and spelling corrections etc. I store the days lesson on a flash drive. This setup also allows me go online and show objects or animals unfamiliar to some students for example.

Presently, I teach 2 levels at 2 libraries 3 days of the week, each session is 2½ hours long. School year is 4 semesters with 2 or 3 week breaks between each one. As far as being accepted by the students, I’ve never had anyone question my ability teach. It can be very taxing at times teaching adults because they have so much more going on in their lives than children. I love what I’m doing and it is very rewarding.

In closing I would like to encourage anyone who has the time, to volunteer, there are numerous volunteer opportunities out there.