"How do you teach people to love each other's differences?"
by Sarah Binns
LEARN is a one-on-one tutoring program for adults who want to learn to read. Volunteers have partners, learners, with whom they meet weekly. Kim delights in sessions with her partner. “I’ve gained a friend that never would have happened otherwise,” she says with a smile. In the span of their few months together, Kim’s partner has progressed from a 2nd to a 3rd-grade reading level. “It’s fun to watch her grow and see her get excited that she can read and have more confidence in daily life,” Kim says. Many of us take this confidence to participate in day-to-day activities, such as identifying ingredients on food labels, navigating the computer, and reading the mail, for granted. Building this confidence is the mission of the LEARN program. Launched in 2010, LEARN is led by Lisa Regimbal, the adult literacy coordinator, and always needs more tutors. You can apply by signing up through the Multnomah County Library website.
The thing about Kim, though, is that LEARN is just the tip of the iceberg. “I volunteer everywhere,” she laughs. “I’m a teacher, I give back.” Kim volunteers with the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, the Cub Scouts, and at Philip Foster Farm, a pioneer historical site where twice a week she dresses in period costume and teaches Oregon history. “Sometimes I don’t have time to change so I go to the grocery store in my costume!” she says. It’s easy to be in awe of everything she does.
Kim also participates in Multnomah County Library’s Talk Time program, in which people meet to practice their English conversation skills. Both LEARN and Talk Time feed into Kim’s ultimate passion to teach and encourage the love of books. “How do you teach love?” she asks. “I learn so much from people’s different stories. How do you teach people to love each other’s differences?” Kim seems to be doing just that through all the work she does for the Multnomah County Library community.
A Few Facts About Kim
Home library: Gresham Library
Currently reading: Children’s books to read to her grandkids over FaceTime
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