A Tutor and Learner Success Story

Gaye and Robert are a tutor and learner who work together in the Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP) run through South Burnaby Neighbourhood House. Here are their stories:

Gaye’s Story

When my Rotary Club member Antonia Beck asked if anyone was interested in becoming a tutor for the Community Adult Literacy program (CALP) program I immediately signed up. After going through the course and the security check I was ready to go.  It was soon after graduation that Rajeeta phoned me with a potential candidate.  I phoned Robert and we agreed to meet to see if we were a match.  After an hour and a half of nonstop chatter, we agreed that we were indeed a team!

The first thing I did was ask Robert if he had an email address.  He didn’t, so we set that up through Douglas College with the help of Ron and the Douglas College library. I said that I would look for an older laptop for him but no sooner had I suggested that  he announced that he had a donation from his nephews. Robert and I spent hours familiarizing him with email, how to cut and paste, use spell check, Facebook, Google and much more.  I saw a shift in Robert’s enthusiasm with this new found tool for information and communication.  He was on fire!

When Robert was a little guy a few decades ago he was deemed not teachable. Because he was unable to learn the way in which the school taught, he was kept at home to work on the farm. As the years went by he managed to get by; because of his positive spirit he was always hired.  He was quick to move up to supervisory positions but was stopped when management found out that he was illiterate.

Robert had a health issue awhile ago which left him needing a walker. Walkers cost money; it wasn’t in his budget at the time and so I set about trying to find one.  In true Robert style, and thanks to his new found communication tool and skill, he got onto Craig’s List and Kijiji. He listed an old truck that he wasn’t driving, sold it, and bought a brand new walker.

Thanks to the CALP program I have also been able to tutor a couple of immigrants in my neighbourhood.  I thoroughly enjoy volunteer tutoring and intend to continue for two hours a week with Robert until he doesn’t need me anymore.  We have other candidates joining us and I have managed, thanks to generous donors, to find them refurbished laptops to aid in their communication.

Thank you to all of the contributors that made this program possible.  The sense of achievement and tenacity of the students is inspirational.  I am very grateful to be a part of it!

Robert’s Story

Hi, I am Robert. I am learning how to read.  I am in the Douglas College I-Care Program in New Westminster. I have been in the class for two years now.  I was with a tutor in the class.  The tutor gave me the number of Rajeeta of South Burnaby Neighbourhood House.  In a week Rajeeta called to tell me she had a tutor for me. Her name was Gaye M. Folker.  Gaye called me to set up a time to meet.  We set up a time to meet at Metrotown to find out if we could match.  We set up a time to start the tutoring.

Gaye asked me if I would like to use a computer. I said yes but I don’t have one of my own.  I went home and called my sister to see if her boys had an old computer. An hour later she called me back to tell me they had found me a computer.  The next Monday I went to school and met up with Gaye.  We set up an email address and internet access.  She showed me how to use it.

Gaye has been a great help to me.  Gaye has found ways for me to do more and more with the computer.  I am thankful for her help. I am learning to find out about my favourite things – fishing, trucks, and woodworking.

I want to thank South Burnaby Neighbourhood House and CALP for this very useful help.

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