From the Desk of….. Shelley Alfieri

When I was home with my two children, I called to inquire about becoming a volunteer tutor, but I never committed the time to undergo the training.  A few years later when my youngest was finally in school full time, I saw a job opening for a part-time receptionist at Literacy Volunteers and applied.  Seeing the joy of my children as they learned to read and realizing the whole world it opened for them, this was an organization I believed in.  Even if I wasn’t quite ready to go back to work, at least I could get some experience interviewing for a job.  Much to my own amazement, I took the job and was still able to be home when my kids got home from school.

My job at Literacy Rochester has grown from secretary to administrative assistant to office manager – and I have grown with the job.  I still work part-time, and my favorite part of the job is still its great variety.  I am never bored, always learning. My tasks include handling the mail and phones, logging donations and thanking donors, paying bills, stocking the office, and resolving a myriad of problems that seem to arise on a regular basis.  Maybe I’ve been doing all these things from the beginning, but the volume is always increasing, and the technology is constantly changing.

But the times that stand out most in my mind at Literacy Rochester are those conversations I’ve had with random students who stop in the office or call on the phone and share with me their deep heartfelt appreciation for their tutors and for our organization.  The tutoring match many times develops into a lifelong friendship with both individuals feeling like they have gotten the most benefit from the relationship.  Students not only gain knowledge but, just as important, they gain a feeling of worth and acceptance and the power to reach any goal they set their mind to.  I’m always amazed to hear the great strides our students achieve, and I imagine that the achievements we at LR are aware of are only the first in a steady succession of obstacles they tackle using their new found skills and confidence.

Our volunteers have also shared with me over the years how proud they are of their students’ hard work and dedication.  They too are learning – about a new culture, a different perspective.  They are many times in awe of the obstacles their students must overcome on the way to learning to read better, go back to school, or get a job.  In a tutoring match, both people are constantly learning from each other.

I have been at Literacy Rochester the longest of its current employees, but when I’m not in the office I love to play tennis and spend time outside and in the garden.  We are empty nesters now, but our extended family is at the center of our lives.  I’m proud to be a part of the Literacy Rochester family too.

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