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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Joan Olson 630-407-6015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Volunteers at Literacy DuPage Help Residents Achieve Success

Serve DuPage 2015 highlights the charitable work of Literacy DuPage, a local organization that provides free tutoring to residents. Dedicated volunteers help adult students achieve greater independence by improving their English literacy skills. 

One volunteer, Mary Williamson, has been with Literacy DuPage for three years. She previously worked as a teacher for more than 40 years specializing in reading instruction. When she retired in 2013, Williamson decided she wanted to spend her free time working with others to meet their literacy goals.

At Literacy DuPage, Mary Williamson assists many adult learners. One of her students, Mr. Grant, (first name withheld at client's request) came to Literacy DuPage last November in an effort to improve his reading and writing. He was a high school dropout who had worked as a cab driver for more than 30 years.

With Williamson's guidance, Mr. Grant's literacy skills have improved dramatically. They meet weekly at the Woodridge Public Library. Williamson taught Mr. Grant to use a computer, accessing the Internet to use email, Facebook and Twitter. As he continues to make progress, Mr. Grant plans to take GED preparation classes at the College of DuPage.

"I hope that he finds satisfaction in the journey and that he is able to feel more confident," said Williamson. She continued, "To help someone get to a place they want to be, that's what it's all about." 

Mary Williamson's work with Mr. Grant is one of thousands of success stories from Literacy DuPage. Their mission is to train volunteers to help DuPage residents learn to read, write, speak and understand English better. Literacy DuPage currently has 400 trained volunteers who serve over 500 adult students each year. 

Serve DuPage 2015 brings a local focus to the State of Illinois' "2015: The Year of the Volunteer" initiative, which was created to recognize and encourage volunteer service throughout the state. Each month during 2015, the DuPage campaign will focus on volunteer service projects. Volunteer testimonials, photos, blogs and opportunities will be shared via social media at one hashtag - #GivingDuPage - and promoted through news stories and community events.

Volunteers can connect with service opportunities through the Giving DuPage website at givingdupage.org, where visitors can search by cause, location, organization or keywords. Giving DuPage is a public-private partnership with DuPage County that connects volunteers and donors with local opportunities to give back.

To learn more about Serve DuPage 2015, visit www.givingdupage.org/servedupage2015. Follow Serve DuPage 2015 on social media and share volunteer stories at #GivingDuPage.