LVCC honors volunteer of the year

Submitted Photo Pictured are Julie LaGrow, director of the LVCC; Ana Julia Carrion, 2017 Volunteer of the Year; and Martha Wiser, LVCC president.

On March 26, Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County recognized Ana Julia Carrion as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The recognition event was held in the Lanford House on the campus of the State University of New York at Fredonia. Carrion’s efforts as a tutor for Literacy Volunteers were also recognized in a certificate by New York State Sen. Cathy Young. More than 50 volunteers, tutors, and family members attended the event, which celebrated the work of all volunteers for the organization.

Carrion has already devoted 60 hours of tutoring this year alone for students who are just beginning to learn English. She herself was a student of LVCC who moved to the Dunkirk area after living in Puerto Rico, where she was a kindergarten and elementary school teacher. When accepting the award, she attested to the important role LVCC has played in her life, as improving her English skills played a significant role in her meeting her employment goals. She finds tutoring rewarding as she understands the life-changing impact her work has for her students.

Currently, 30 individuals, including six interns from the college at Fredonia, volunteer 120 hours each week, serving 33 students. The students the organization serves have moved to this area from all over the world. Some students are just beginning to learn English, while more advanced students are working to strengthen their grammar and conversational skills. Learning English is extremely important for these students’ success in obtaining employment, for simply being able to speak directly to their doctor rather than through a translator, or to communicate with the school about their child. Several students attending the event shared how tutors like Carrion have helped them to attain higher levels of education and to successfully find employment.

The organization is grateful to Fredonia President Virginia Horvath’s hosting of the event, and for the large turnout of those involved in the organization. LVCC looks forward to continuing its work to support literacy instruction throughout the county. It appreciates inspiring tutors like Carrion who volunteer their time for this important work.