The search for tutors

Their waiting list is filling up, now all Tutor Learner Connections (TLC) needs is a few volunteers to help them meet demand.

Starting on March 2, the organization plans to host two free training sessions for local residents interested in helping adults trying to improve their reading and writing skills.

TLC’s waiting list already has roughly 15 names on it, with some having been there for several months. However, without more volunteer tutors, that list isn’t going to shrink quickly.

Kim Orynik, the organization’s Volunteer Tutor and Training Facilitator, said Prince Albert has a steady influx of new residents looking to polish their English speaking, reading and listening skills. Ideally, these new training sessions will help meet demand.

“We have about 10 seats available still and we’d surely love to fill those streets so that we can start matching some volunteers with the learners who are waiting,” Orynik explained.

Learner Connections partners with the Prince Albert Literacy Network to provide information, space and resources to adults learners. The organization relies on volunteer tutors to keep up with demand, which can be difficult since there are some misconceptions about the role.

Orynik said it’s common to run into people who think they can’t be tutors because they aren’t trained as teachers. However, she said the two training sessions are designed to get volunteers from any background over the hump.

“Our tutors come from all walks of life,” she explained. “Some of them are retired folks and some are still working … some are folks who just enjoy meeting new people and being able to share some time with them and help them out in the process.”

Like the tutors themselves, program users come from a wide variety of backgrounds. That includes recently arrived immigrants looking to learn English so they can fill out health and school forms, to longtime Canadian residents looking to improve their English reading and writing abilities to help with their job prospects.

Typically, they spend one hour a week with a tutor, in a flexible program designed to be more relaxing than rigid.

“It definitely helps the families to understand more of the Canadian culture and ways that we function so that they can interact with the schools and help their whole family to have a better life,” Orynik explained.

Over the past several years, the organization has trained roughly 70 tutors to help these program users meet their goals. Orynik remains hopeful that trend will continue into the future.

The two TLC see free volunteer training sessions will be held at the Prince Albert Multicultural Building on Central Avenue. Session times are 6:30 p.m. on March 2 and 9 a.m. on March 3. Lunch is provided. Call 306-922-6852 to register, or visit the Tutor Learner Connections office in the Gateway Mall. Registration is free.

@kerr_jas •