Literacy is a rewarding gift to give
19 hours ago • Karen Macier, Special to The Citizen(0) Comments
For many of us, reading the morning paper is not only a pleasure, it’s a normal part of our daily routine. Did you know that some 2.7 million New Yorkers are in need of basic reading and writing skills assistance?
Literacy is one’s ability to read, write, compute and use technology at the level that enables an individual to reach his or her fullest potential. In the United States, it is estimated that some 6.3 million adults, 29 percent of the population, cannot read well enough to understand a newspaper story that is written at the eighth-grade level.
Dan Nellenback joined Literacy Volunteers four years ago as a tutor, and is the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. Literacy Volunteers of Cayuga County teaches adults how to read, write and speak English. Anyone 16 years and older can visit them for free, one-on-one confidential services.
“Being a volunteer tutor was something I always wanted to do,” Nellenback said. “My brother received services from a similar organization in Lewis County, and it made a difference in his quality of life. So I knew that when I retired, volunteering here would be something for me to do.”
Nellenback retired in 2008 after teaching math to eighth-graders in Port Byron. Nellenback says that he loves the age group, and really misses the energy that they brought to his classroom. “They were challenging, eager, and a fun class group,” he said.
Nellenback and Mary Beth, his wife, came to Auburn in 1974 to work. While they both grew up in New York’s North Country, it wasn’t until they were attending college at SUNY Oswego that they met. “We laugh that we lived so close to one another but met at college,” Nellenback said.
The Nellenbacks have a strong history of volunteering, both individually and with their four children. Two of their children served in the AmeriCorps program. “Volunteering has always been a part of our family life,” says Nellenback. “It’s been good for us, we’ve all learned new skills, and it’s been good for those less fortunate or needing assistance at a particular time in their lives.”
Nellenback thinks volunteering is something all of us should find the time to do. He said volunteering is gratifying on many differing levels.
Via Charles Tiayon