Good morning! Not only do we have another new citizen in Berwyn, Shahnaz from Iran, we also have our first official GED graduate, Jim V.! We have been offering the GED study group since 2011, but this is the first time someone has come back to tell us they passed. It might have something to do with the fact that Jim completed more than 40 hours of tutoring--in that time we built a bond with him and we set the expectation for him to come back and share his success with us. Up to that point, we weren't really able to do this because attendees hadn't completed enough hours of instruction for us to build a bond with them.
Here's the note we shared with our library community, which was then shared with our mayor and the library's city liaison:
Season’s Greetings everyone,
BPL’s volunteer tutors and I would like to announce that we have one more new citizen in Berwyn, Shahnaz P., from Iran.
We could not have continued to offer this opportunity without the dedication of our volunteer, Susan Brownell. Since June 2012 she has volunteered a total of 87 hours in the Citizenship group. Her background as a retired civics teacher and her enthusiasm for civic engagement has added a rich dimension to our group sessions.
We also have a new GED graduate, Jim V., from Oak Park.
Jim had passed every subject except math when he came to us. He also needed to boost his overall score in the GED battery by 70 points. After 46 hours of tutoring, Jim was able to increase his math score by 40 points, his reading score by 20 points, and his social studies score by 70 points, for a total increase of 130 points. In order to accumulate the hours of instruction he needed before the end of the year, Jim took advantage of the fact that we offer at least 5 study groups each week he could tap into. If not for the relaxed and informal adult literacy programming we offer, Jim would not have been able to find the kind of help he needed to pass the GED.
Many thanks to volunteer Judy Pavel for her continued tutoring at the Math and GED groups. Her flexibility and consistency has been elemental, including her ability to deftly handle the more complicated aspects of algebra and probability. Since March 2013, Judy has volunteered a total of 63.5 hours.
We hope to see more Berwyn residents take advantage of the GED group—as you can imagine there is a lot of interest here—but a majority of those interested find out they need remedial help in order to study actual GED content at the level presented in most study books. This takes time, and we encourage them to make the commitment to themselves to become lifelong learners to achieve this goal.
Financial support from the Friends of the Berwyn Library, the American Dream Starts @ your library initiative, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the ProLiteracy National Book Fund, and matching funds from the Veverka Bequest Fund, have all been elemental in providing us with learning materials and technology that enhances our small group instruction.