Meet a Board Member….. Deb Martin

Reading has been my passion since I devoured Dr. Seuss books at age five and I am now delighting in sharing the love of literature with my four grandchildren.  That’s what lead me to become a Literacy Rochester volunteer tutor 10 years ago.  I could not imagine a world without being able to read and wanted to make sure others had the opportunity to learn.
When I started, I had no idea what I could accomplish as a tutor but my first student’s motivation to get a job took us through scanning help-wanted ads and filling out applications.  When that student moved on, so did I, to my current student, a mother of four from India, shown with her sister in the photo.  We have been together for five years.  She proudly progressed from one-word sentences and lots of hand gestures, to passing the citizenship test, getting her driver’s license, and securing
a part-time job.  She is pictured here with her sister, also a learner.  Reading has opened up her world and allowed her to participate in her children’s education.  I can take no credit because she worked long hours for these achievements, but I do enjoy celebrating her accomplishments.
I joined the LR Board three years ago so I could contribute the insights I gained through my experiences as a tutor.  I could never have known then what lay ahead for LR with the pandemic, but I am proud of the way the Board, staff and volunteers have pulled together to create new ways of reaching out to learners and the community.  I am certain we will be a stronger organization when we get to the other side of this crisis.
My profession as a Court of Claims Judge requires that I read and comprehend complicated documents and the litigants depend upon me to understand the nuances of language.  In my free time, I explore the Finger Lakes with my husband Doug Merrill, a recently retired RIT professor, my two daughters, Becky and Elizabeth, and their families.  Since my four grandchildren range from 18 months to six years (several seen in the photos), their books of choice range from Goodnight Moon to Wizard of Oz and everything in between.  So, every moment of my personal, professional and civic life revolves around reading, and what a joy that is!

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