Literacy DuPage - Awarded for their SPARK
November 2020
What makes a great tutor? Passion, patience, empathy, and resourcefulness.
Passion for helping, teaching, and seeing their learners grow. Patience to help students learn new language skills and to improve over time. Empathy to understand that their learners may be balancing work, family, and other responsibilities — all in a culturally and linguistically unfamiliar community. And resourcefulness to connect learners with the information and tools they need to thrive.
Award-winning volunteers
Recently, Literacy DuPage tutors Barb L. and Sue J. were awarded the Illinois Secretary of State — Spotlight on Service Award. They both embody passion, passion, empathy, and resourcefulness. We’re incredibly grateful for their time and talents at Literacy DuPage. Read on for their stories.
Barb works with learner Javier in this photo. The two have been working together for five years. Javier has progressed from an ESL level 2 to ABE grade level 6, all while working full time and raising a family of four!
Meet Barb L.

Barb came to Literacy DuPage in January 2014. After her first tutoring experience, she found that tutoring came naturally and was something she loved. Over the years, Barb started adding a learner here and there and now regularly tutors three learners at a given time (a minimum of nine hours of volunteering a week in one-on-one tutoring and prep time)! To say Barb generously gives her time and talents to her learners is an understatement. 
Currently, Barb's three different learners are at varying English levels, with one learner at the beginning level, the next is at an intermediate level, and the last student is advanced. Barb loves the challenges that each learner presents. Her ability to work with multiple learners at different levels at one time is exceptional. 
Barb deeply cares about each of her learners. She is genuinely invested in helping each reach their specific goals, and she tirelessly works to do so. Barb is fueled by moments of joy when everything comes together, and she can see the light in her learners’ eyes. Barb understands that trust is a cornerstone of the tutoring relationship and earnestly works to build trust with each learner. Initially, she finds topics that the learner enjoys. From there, she can build the rapport. She is a true cheerleader of her learners and champions each success and achievement along the way. 
Throughout her tenure at Literacy DuPage, Barb has been assigned 15 learners, and she cares about each one. She has developed lasting friendships with quite a few of her students. Due to her passion, kind heart, and perseverance, Barb positively impacts all of her students' lives. She is an advocate for her learners and goes above and beyond, supporting them to succeed.
Sue (middle) with learners Neelam (left) and Placida (right). In this photo, Placida is wearing the "Happy Hat," celebrating her good news of purchasing a new car!
Meet Sue J.
Sue came to Literacy DuPage in 2012 after retiring from her private practice law firm. Sue was initially matched with two learners, and the three of them formed a small ESL group. In just 18 short months, both learners had achieved their goals and graduated from the Literacy DuPage program!
Around the time Sue's learners graduated, Literacy DuPage was in the process of starting a conversation group at the Wheaton Public Library. Sue jumped at the chance to be one of four conversation group leaders. 
In 2018, the West Chicago Public Library approached Literacy DuPage, asking if there was interest in restarting a weekly conversation group. Once again, Sue jumped right in, offering to help get the group up and running and be a group facilitator. In early September 2020, a virtual conversation group was started through the West Chicago Public Library, and Sue is one of the facilitators. 
Sue is always looking for creative ways to help her learners learn English. She also works hard to connect with them on a personal level. She wants to know about their lives, help them achieve their goals, and celebrate accomplishments that come along the way. Sue's attitude creates a safe, friendly, and warm environment in her conversation groups, often quickly creating something of a support group among the learners. She has watched many of them become friends even though they have varying life experiences and native languages.
We are very fortunate to have Sue be part of our conversation group facilitator team. Not only has Sue's tenacity and mindfulness broadened the scope of the conversation groups, but she is integral to their continued success.
We are so thankful that Barb and Sue are members of the Literacy DuPage volunteer team!

Congratulations to them on their well-deserved Spotlight on Achievement Award!
Literacy DuPage - Awarded for their SPARK
Until next time,

Cassandra Shepherd
Marketing Manager
(630) 942 - 5210
Literacy DuPage | 630-942-5210 | Email | Website