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93 Reviews
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September 26, 2011

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September 26, 2011

I feel like the volunteer work I do for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is valued and supported. The tutor training provides a thorough and sound foundation which is flexible enough for me to create my own learning tools for my students' specific needs. A variety of learning activities are provided for GPLC students and tutors outside of class, and the achievement of goals is celebrated appropriately. I enjoy tutoring and helping my students realize their life objectives.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the ways in which one of my students placed at a much higher level after we'd been working together for 6-9 months.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage others to be tutors.

February 18, 2011

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February 18, 2011

When I retired from many years of public school teaching in 2004, I started to volunteer in the ESL program for the GPLC. It has been a very rewarding experience because I was able to use the training provided to help 1 Palestinian and 5 Chinese immigrants learn to make their way in their new life. Two students have become citizens, and three more are preparing to do that. Several have obtained better jobs. I, myself, have found that I learn as much from them as they learn from me. Of course, all of us find the truths about human nature.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

GPLC has provided not only initial training, but also continued support personalized for each student, appropriate materials to use to meet the student's goals, and continued training for the tutors.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Perhaps more publicity for the organization would help. Many people in Pittsburgh have never heard of it.

February 15, 2011

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February 15, 2011

I am a Literacy*AmeriCorps member serving at the Downtown Center teaching a low beginner ESL class. Since starting to teach classes to immigrant and refugees in September, the difference I have seen in my students is amazing. More so than improved test scores and better performances in class (which I have definitely seen), I am impressed by their ever-expanding capacity to communicate with me person-to-person, tell me stories and jokes, and interact with me and other foreign students as friends.

GPLC has been supportive of me and my fellow AmeriCorps members as teachers-- from training us to providing us with materials to giving us guidance from experienced professionals when we need advice on learning differences or creating good lesson plans. This organization is full of wonderful people who really care about helping students and clients.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the abilities of my students to speak, understand, and be understood. They are improving every day and hopefully so are their prospects of getting jobs and their opportunities for growth in this country.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change the requirements for VESL classes or add a class with a similar curriculum for students who are not TANF recipients-- many students would benefit from this additional instruction. Our afternoon Foundations class is steadily growing... and outgrowing our classroom because there are many students at this level who want English instruction.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

February 14, 2011

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February 14, 2011

I am a Compass AmeriCorps member through GPLC. At my service site we refer many of our refugee clients to GPLC for family literacy, general ESL, and Vocational ESL classes. Our clients enjoy going to ESL classes at GPLC and learn very fast, especially in the Vocation English class.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I meet my refugee clients once when they first arrive and then one month later after they have been attending ESL classes at GPLC. I am constantly amazed at the improvement in my clients communication after just a month of ESL.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Offer more classes for longer. Only the VESL class is offered for 20 hours a week, and that is only open to TANF recipients. If there was an option for non-TANF clients to recieve 20 hours of ESL a week it would greatly improve their ability to get higher paying jobs.

February 7, 2011

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February 7, 2011

I worked with GPLC as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Beginning with Books. I saw so many children get a good start, and I learned so much. Now, as a children's librarian, I put that experience to good use. GPLC is the type of program that helps everybody!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing day care providers learn to provide a more enriching experience for children.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it more money!

February 7, 2011

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February 7, 2011

I assisted in teaching recent immigrants understand our culture and to feel accepted and to help teach them our English language. I was overwhelmed with the amount of eagerness and the way they attended classes and was always prepared. Most of the immigrants went through a lot to get to this country and to speak even a little of our language and I was very humbled. I also was very impressed that some of them could speak many languages and already had jobs. I was very proud to help further attain their goals as a newly arrived immigrant.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping with immigrants try to find jobs and easing their way into society.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I like it the way it is.

December 20, 2010

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December 20, 2010

In August 2009 until February 2010 I lived in Pittsburgh with my nephew that work there. This time I got a studant in ELS for 6 months and in GPLC for the last week I stay in Pittsburgh. I would like to stay for more time but I need to came back to my country because the imagration gave me only 6 months to stay in USA. Now I'm going to Pittsburgh in March 28, 2011. I'll visit my nephew and I'll study English again but I would like to get a volunteer work too because I think, How long time I spend together with American people more easy I learn and speak English.
In my country(Brazil) I'm an economist. I worked in traffic department but now I'm retired. I have a free time and I get a freedom.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My experienced in that organization only studant

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

l would like to get a volunteer for enyone work

December 15, 2010

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December 15, 2010

Being a volunteer at GPLC has been one of the best experiences of my adult life because the opportunities co-evolve so that both students and volunteers get more out of the programs over the years. Whether I have time to give two hours twice a week to 1-4 students or only have time to spend 1/2 hour once a week on the phone with another, GPLC provides ongoing training, support and encouragement. Staff is energetic and creative and always takes time to improve an individual's learning experience.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen a high school drop out and runaway get her GED, helped refugees learn enough English to work in this country, helped someone who thinks he's "stupid" to build on his many strengths and assisted a foreign woman learn enough English to volunteer at her children's school. GPLC, despite decreased state funding, never gives up on any student who is committed to opening up his/her life.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find more money

December 14, 2010

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December 14, 2010

Being on Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council’s board has been one of the best experiences of my life. There seems to be no end to the stream of new ideas that come from board members and no limits to their willingness to invest their time and money in GPLC’s work. They are an inspiration to me.

I wanted to learn from the best. When I was considering what board I might join, I went to experts in community affairs who knew all the major nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region. I told them that, above all, I wanted to be on a board with exemplary members working for a well-managed nonprofit. They agreed that GPLC was at the top of the list with a smart board and top-performing staff.

Since 2006, I’ve been continually learning about the organization – learning what makes it work so well and adapt to change, especially in the form of challenging economic environments. Some clues were spelled out for me recently in GPLC Executive Director Don Block’s article, “Facing Challenges in Nonprofit Organizations” in the fall 2010 issue of Squirrel Hill Magazine.

One of the things Don mentions as key to the success of a nonprofit is a board that is involved and well-informed. GPLC’s board and staff members have frequent opportunities for discussion and teamwork toward common goals during board meetings, committee meetings, event planning, events and other experiences. The staff members are very available to help educate us about what they do and how we can help them. One of our annual events, the Annual GPLC Trivia Bowl, is a totally board-run event so we can take some fundraising pressure off our staff and free them up to focus on their work. But we rely on them for occasional guidance and value their opinions.

Of course, there are five other keys to success in managing a nonprofit discussed in Don’s article, and they concern the staff and students and other stakeholders. But as a board member, I’ve focused on the board’s role here. However, it appears to me that the staff, students and volunteers are unusually committed. A secretary sometimes calls students at home to make sure they are on their way to class whenever she feels they need encouragement. Volunteer tutors decide to cook Thanksgiving dinner for their English-as-a-second-language students. This doesn’t even scratch the surface. Read the other reviews of GPLC on this Web site.

It’s not surprising that GPLC’s adult education programs give people tools they can use to improve continually their quality of life for the rest of their lives. Those involved in GPLC don’t just put a bandage on a problem. They’ve got better ideas.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Almost every time I hear a GPLC student talk about how GPLC changed their lives, I cry. They cry. The success stories are some of the best examples of what's right with the world. The impact of GPLC's work on real people's lives is profound. GPLC's donors fuel these powerful changes.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

We currenty operate Literacy AmeriCorps, which provides adult education volunteers to seven U.S. cities (Phoenix; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; New Orleans; Dayton, Ohio; and Seattle; as well as Pittsburgh). I wonder how we might expand and impact more students' lives in the future.

November 16, 2010

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November 16, 2010

I've been Volunteering at GPLC for almost three years. I've been teaching an adult how to read. By now we've become friends. He's younger than I am, so I have a hook into what the younger people are thinking about. Since I have always done well in school, and like to read, this volunteer opportunity works well for me and is very convenient. I also spent some time teaching English to Pittsburgh residents who want to learn. They sent me out with another language instructor so I wasn't on my own. That experience was rewarding as well.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching my reading student grow in Reading. He also started a demolition business during the time we were together. That is his "day job."

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Gee..., I would wave my magic wand and shower more resources on GPLC to make sure the professional staff has what it needs to serve more people.

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