Love & Literacy
The last month was all about celebrating friends of literacy! In addition to being National Literacy Month, September featured both International Literacy Day and Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. In other words, it was a perfect time to reflect on best practices and thank those who have helped us along the way.
I spent some time with former Executive Director Ginger Duiven at the ProLiteracy Conference in San Diego, reflecting and presenting on the benefits of strategic partnerships. Much like how partnerships between organizations require support and care, we strive to celebrate the wonderful relationships that are fostered internally between volunteers, students, and staff. Last week we honored our volunteers at our Volunteer Appreciation Party and next week we'll be recognizing student achievements at our Quarterly Honors Celebration at the Downtown Center.

I am truly feeling all of the love that literacy brings into our city, across the country, and into our classrooms every day! Wishing you all a wonderful start to your fall season!

-Holly McCoy
Executive Director
Highlighting Our Volunteers!
Celebrating National Literacy Month with our volunteers was quite fitting, because we could not bring our mission forward without the generous, enduring support of our volunteers. Last Thursday, we all gathered to do just that: celebrate those who give their time, energy, and kindness to our students every week. It was a wonderful evening of dinner, fellowship, and appreciation, recognizing the phenomenal work of our volunteers who collectively served over 25,000 hours last year and changed countless lives. 
By far, the highlight of the evening was the video of our students thanking our volunteers for their patience and kindness, and for consistently showing up for them. We invite you to take a look at the volunteer appreciation video on our website to see for yourself the impact volunteers have on our learners. Along with our students, we have deep gratitude for our volunteers who tutor, work behind the scenes, serve on committees and our board, and provide a welcoming atmosphere for everyone who walks through our doors. We thank United Way for providing the space to lift up a room full of people who, in turn, lift us up every day. Thank you to our volunteers who make our work possible and brighten the futures of our students and our community. 
Announcing Our First Volunteer of the Month
We are pleased to announce that our very first Volunteer of the Month for September 2019 is Theresa Braun! Originally from western New York and born to immigrant parents, Theresa worked as a neurologist for many years before raising her two children. Through her children’s activities she met Betsy Kerns, Adult Basic Education (ABE) Program Coordinator, and learned about Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW). With a knack for science and explaining the various ways of finding the right answer, she found tutoring to be a natural fit and has become one of our many beloved volunteers. Although it only feels like a few years, Theresa officially began tutoring in our ABE program in 2012 and currently tutors in ABE computer Learning Lab and Math Lab. 
After spending some time in Learning Lab and figuring out how to handle our somewhat temperamental computers, she found her rhythm with both students and tutors. Many tutors move along with their students as they progress through the Wilson Reading System. Theresa, however, asked if she could remain in the Learning Lab for a wonderful reason: She loves meeting the new students and being that friendly face, easing any anxiety students AND new tutors may have in beginning their journey at LSW. 
Theresa enjoys seeing students get it and reach that “Ah-ha!” moment. Students realize for themselves that “this is what I need,” and that the program is going to work for them. “What’s inspiring to me at LSW,” Theresa said, “is seeing the students coming back time after time. It can be fun to keep doing something you find easy, but so hard to come back and keep working at something that’s difficult for you. It shows such resolve. It’s a good life lesson.” 
Bianca, our Downtown ABE program director, relies on Theresa in many ways. “We can always trust Theresa’s patience and gentle demeanor to welcome our new students,” she said. “There’s not a moment you will find Theresa without a project or task at hand. When she arrives at LSW, she cheerily greets everyone and then sets off to sharpen pencils or fill empty worksheet folders. Theresa not only guides new students, but also acts as a mentor to new tutors in their first lessons. Theresa’s warm heart and dedication to quality instruction set the best example. We’re beyond thankful and appreciative of Theresa’s service!”
I can attest to Theresa’s ability to jump in and offer a helping hand at a moment’s notice. My first interaction with Theresa was during our Spring into Literacy volunteer training. I was briefly pulled away from setting up for the event, and I returned to find Theresa on the other end helping out with the logistics in my absence. She is always quick to ask “What do you need?” and fill in however she can. We are so grateful to have Theresa’s support on our volunteer team, and we appreciate the kind and giving energy she brings to our programs. 

-Corrie Kennedy
Volunteer & Development Coordinator
Volunteer Opportunity
"Tell me about yourself..." Become a Mock Interviewer!
Are you a tutor and interested in learning what our HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) program is all about? Or are you a supporter who is unable to make a long-term volunteer commitment? 

Join us in shaping the path of Milwaukee adults by conducting mock interviews for students earning their HSED through the state-approved 5.09 program. Literacy Services is giving the learners in our classrooms not only the academic tools they need to reach their goals, but hands-on experience toward transitioning into post-secondary education and the workforce.

You can be a part of this very important component of their success by allowing our students to demonstrate their interview skills, and by offering constructive feedback as a professional or retired professional in the community.
Dates and Locations

November 14
9 to 11 am
Silver Spring Neighborhood Center
5460 N. 64th St.
North Conference Room

November 14
5 to 7 pm
Layton Center
1545 S. Layton Ave.
Sacred Heart entrance

If interested, please call Corrie Kennedy at (414) 344-5878 or email
Mark Your Calendar
1st -  Volunteer Orientation
9:30-10:30 am
8th -  Student Honors Celebration
5:15 pm - Downtown Center
15th -  Volunteer Orientation
5:30-6:30 pm

6th - Volunteer Orientation
9:30-10:30 am
19th - Volunteer Orientation
5:30-6:30 pm
27th - All sites close at 1 pm
28th-29th Thanksgiving
All Sites Closed
5th - Volunteer Orientation
9:30-10:30 am
18th - Winter Honors Celebration
11:45 am - Downtown Center

Winter Break
All sites closed Dec. 23rd - Jan. 3rd

20th - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
All Sites Closed
Save the date to celebrate our 55th anniversary!
Discovery World
Welcome Our Newest Staff Members!
Margarita Blandon
ELL Assistant Program Director - Downtown

I was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, but English was not my primary language. My parents moved to the states from Nicaragua in the 1980s. I learned English in school and from growing up with English-speaking friends. 
My mother, who was born in Bluefields, Nicaragua – a port on the eastern coast where English is the actual primary language, next to Creole and Spanish – did not struggle here in the states. On the other hand, my father, who was born in Managua, Nicaragua, only spoke Spanish and struggled to find employment due to the language barrier. 
But my father was determined to learn English, and at the age of 41 took courses at LSU, UW-Waukesha, and WCTC. Age should not deter anyone from wanting to learn a new language, improve a language, get an education, or seek a new field of employment. 
I am excited to be part of Literacy Services so that I can help adult learners improve their lives by learning or improving their English language skills. And I am a firm believer that you should, “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.”
Karina Kim
ELL Instructor & Curriculum Advisor - South MPS Learning Lab

It is such a privilege to serve Milwaukee ELLs as one of LSW's new evening ELL instructors. Having been born and raised on the South Side of Milwaukee, it is an honor to serve a part of its community with which I identify. I hope to not only help build students' confidence for language production through my instruction, but also to act as a bridge to connect students with people and places that may be outside of their comfort zone. 
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Bilingual Education, and ESL. While studying at UWM, I volunteered as an English/Citizenship/math tutor at the International Learning Center of Milwaukee. 
Immediately after graduating from college, I was hired to teach a Newcomer English class at ILC. I went on to teach grades one through six as a Native English Teacher in South Korea for three years. Most recently, I've been teaching adult ESL to parents of MPS elementary school students. 
I met my husband while teaching in South Korea. We have two lovely Mexican-Korean-American daughters. When I have spare time I enjoy doing Mexican embroidery, clay sculpting, painting, and studying Korean. 
Charlotte Newgord
Youthbuild HSED Instructor - WRTP/BIG STEP Milwaukee

II am very happy to be joining Literacy Services of Wisconsin as the YouthBuild Instructor at WRTP. For the past three years, I have taught YouthBuild members at Milwaukee Christian Center, and I am excited to continue working with the young adults in this program.
I started my teaching career at Dominican High School after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1986. I taught English and German. The following year, I also taught 7th grade Language Arts at St. Monica’s Grade School. After my son, Nick, was born in 1990, I was a substitute teacher for the West Allis - West Milwaukee School District. For a time, I worked in healthcare with the elderly and, later, with adults with mental illnesses. Both gave me the opportunity to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone, and connect with a wide variety of people. More recently, I have tutored for Milwaukee County’s First Time Juvenile Offender Program. Education has played a part in every position I have held. 
I have already had the chance to meet many of the people at Literacy Services of Wisconsin. Everyone has been welcoming. Thank you! I look forward to working with all of you.
Pa Nou Xiong
Assistant Program Director - South MPS Learning Lab

Born to Chua and Kia—Hmong immigrants—I have been given the opportunity since childhood to experience the unique diversity that Milwaukee offers. Through their hard work and love, my parents helped me to understand the importance of language, heritage, education, and how these all impact the quality of life. 
It is with this received knowledge that I find myself excited to be part of the LSW team and give back to my community, as it has given me much more.
I was raised bilingually, speaking both Hmong and English in their respective environments. However, it wasn’t until middle school that I was introduced to Spanish. 
I would not have expected that I would continue to pursue Spanish throughout my academic career, ultimately graduating with the class of 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in both Spanish for the Health Professions and Sociology from Marquette University.
Before my time with LSW, I worked with Walgreens as a Pharmacy Technician on the south side of Milwaukee, where a major client demographic speaks Spanish, I learned how to connect with this population, resulting in a deepening of my communication skills, knowledge, and appreciation of their diverse culture & language.
When I am not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and bullet journaling.