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Vita Education Services volunteers and students share lessons, laughter


The relationship between trained volunteer tutors at Vita Education Services and their students is a win-win situation.

As the students learn a new language, a new way of life, the shared experience offers a rich font of information, a dive into cultural diversity that expands both tutors’ and students’ worlds. Three tutors agreed to discuss their experiences.

Mary Smith, a retired high school librarian who lives in Warminster, is a volunteer tutor for Vita literacy classes at William Tenant High School.

“While they learn new vocabulary, I learn what it’s like to have family still living in Ukraine or what it’s like to have escaped from Cambodia.”

“I just love watching the students grow. I love their questions as they learn vocabulary and English expressions. We share a lot of laughter before and after classes,” she said.

Bea Anzur, a retired health care executive, lives in Ottsville and teaches beginner ESL (English as a Second Language) students at Vita in Doylestown.

“The thing I most enjoy about my volunteer work is the students. They are engaged and motivated and so appreciative of the service. As they progress in their studies, I can see an increased confidence in their demeanor. It is so rewarding to contribute to their goals.

“The students in the program have varied languages as their primary language. My personal experience has included students who spoke Spanish, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Urdu (Pakistan), and Bengali (Bangladesh).

“My students have little or no English proficiency. They need instruction in reading, writing and speaking.”

Joanne Schneider, a volunteer who tutors literacy classes at Cecelia Snyder Middle School in Bensalem, said “Literally, we’ve had students from Afghanistan to Zaire.”

She said she tutors students who have completed ESL and have “varying degrees of education and varying degrees of language facilities.” She said she’s learned to work with people of many backgrounds.

The learning process at Vita is a very collaborative one, she said. “It’s not only educational, it’s also an eye-opener, learning about them and their culture. I love my work,” Schneider said.

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