New tutors at Aquinas Literacy Center include, from left to right, Karen Grace, Sally Greenwood, Brianna Franco-Mata, Samuel Robertson, Zoe’ Williams, Raymond Zanger, Harry Irizarry, Algis Tamosiunas, Kristine Kulp and Brandon Hawkins, Sr.

Volunteers Join Tutor Corps to Help Immigrants Learn English

Published January 26, 2023

The cadre of volunteer English-language tutors serving local adult learners grew by 10 through recent training at the McKinley Park neighborhood's Aquinas Literacy Center, located at 1751 W. 35th St., Chicago.

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"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.

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Poulin highlighted the "critical societal need of adult education in English as a second language." The literacy center continues to work through a long waiting list of adult learners — most of whom are immigrants — waiting to be matched with qualified tutors, she said.

Tutors Matched with Pupils

Tutors go through a day-long training session that gives them skills and accreditation to help teach English, Poulin said. Once trained, tutors are then matched up with pupils for one-on-one instruction and support that can take place in person, online, or a combination of the two, she said.

English language learners and tutors work together for about 90 minutes per week, Poulin said. All instruction takes place in English, and the learners also engage in the program through supplemental materials, resources and classes offered at Aquinas.

Next Training This Saturday

The next English Literacy Tutor Training session takes place this Saturday, January 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The non-profit literacy center has also recently teased news about its planned expansion in the fall of 2023 to offer comprehensive adult education services.

Anyone with questions can call Poulin at (773) 927-0512 or email her at, she said.

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