This is the time of year when traditionally we examine our lives and make resolutions to pursue personal goals. This week I joined the Taoist Tai Chi Society (which has a new International Centre in Dunedin http://www.taoist.org/about-us/new-international-centre-usa/) and became a student of this ancient art by joining a class of beginners. Taoist Tai Chi is a fluid, serene way to move your body and doesn?t fit my usual idea of vigorous exercise, so this is a radical change for a person who has always been in a hurry. As I pursued professional goals in my career as educator, there was little time for rest and reflection as I moved from classroom teacher to school librarian and then to college professor.
When I retired from full time teaching at USF School of Information Science a few years ago I did not skip a beat to become involved in my community as a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas. I had joined the Rotary Club of Dunedin, and at one of the first meetings I attended, the president of LCUP Vicky Vinour was the guest speaker. She immediately invited me to attend tutor training and begin making a difference in the life of an ESL student. It wasn?t long before I was coordinating tutors and students and serving on the LCUP Board of Directors.
When I became President of LCUP in January 2009 I realized that Vicky had been a great role model as she was always on the lookout for people passionate about literacy, and she didn?t waste any time before pulling them into her world. So for the past seven years, as I have worked to recruit and train tutors and board members, I have kept in mind Vicky?s view that the quality of the folks we choose to work with our students is the key to success, and that it is important to act quickly to put them to work in the cause of literacy (before someone else convinces them to join their cause). Students can?t wait and neither should we!
On February 27, 2016, we will hold tutor training at the Dunedin Community Center and will work immediately to put these new recruits to work with our students. If you know anyone who can meet our requirements, please ask them to go to our web page or call the LCUP office to register for the 6 hours of required orientation. We are looking for volunteers who are proficient in the English language, have the desire to help others, and are sensitive to the needs of people of different backgrounds.
In closing I?d like to remind you that even though Tai Chi may help me to see that slow and steady movements are better for me at this stage of my life, I am still in a hurry to meet the needs of literacy students in north Pinellas. Please see this web site for the locations of our winter conversation classes where you can observe excellent teaching and meet students who may be looking for a tutor.