Appreciating our Tutors and Students

This past October, tutors, students, staff and board of the Volunteer English Program gathered at the Harvest Celebration to recognize the hard work and dedication of our tutors and students.

While the event was an acknowledgment of the dedication of these tutor/student pairs and a forum to recognize some special accomplishments, it was also a smorgasbord of delicious foods from around the world.  Each guest brought a traditional dish from his or her native country to share.  Foods from many countries around the world made for a delicious lunch.  (To see more photographs, please visit our Facebook page!)   As we enjoyed this global buffet, Executive Director Linda Grosse shared the accomplishments of so many individuals with the group, including recognition from State Senator Andrew Dinniman.

Congratulations go out to those we honored at this year’s reception:

  • Our newest citizens, Jihong Korbonits, Ramez Madanat, Josefa Cordero, and Urmi Patel.
  • Office volunteer Christian Mota
  • Speaker’s Bureau member and student, Gustavo Castro
  • The students whose work was printed in the past year: Sonia Afroz (student of Eileen Kennedy); Usha Barkley (student of Laura Gruen); Li Ling Du (student of Elsie Reinmenschneider); Jihong Korbonits (student of Joyce Hurt); Fang Liu (student of Mary Kreutzberger); Pedro Lopez (student of Patty Morgioni)
  • The tutors who have written for our blog this year! (prior to the reception) — Brett Swailes, Pam McGilliam, Ron Hovis
  • A very special thanks and best-wishes were extended to Linda Grosse, who is retiring from VEP after 12 years as Executive Director.  Board member Paul Keogan honored Linda, presented citations from State Senator Dinniman and County Commissioner Kathy Cozzone, and spoke of Linda’s undying dedication and tending of VEP to grow it to its current scope and size.

After the recognition segment, this year’s student speaker, Xiaopeng “Jessica” Ji, spoke to the group about her personal journey with her tutor, Kate Varley.  Jessica’s impressive account of her challenges and experiences learning English with VEP, just one example of the many VEP success stories, was filled with humor, insight, frustration, but ultimately: accomplishment!

Thank you so much to all of the attendees who made this a special day for VEP.  We hope to see you all again at next year’s reception.  Who knows what amazing accomplishments we will all have to Patricia Morgioni, Program Coordinator


Tutor-to-Tutor Network on Facebook

The real work of the Volunteer English Program is accomplished by our dedicated tutors, who volunteer three hours per week out of their busy lives to help a person learn English. Although the staff here at VEP is always available to help, our tutors are quite resourceful, knowledgeable, and clever, and they often develop excellent lessons and strategies of their own. Still, we all get “stuck” once in a while and struggle to think of a lesson or a way to clarify something difficult. Even the best of us needs inspiration occasionally.

We often publish “tutor tips” in our eNews to tutors, as well as provide electronic resources on the website. But wouldn’t it would be wonderful for tutors to be able to share their success stories with each other in real time? To write about a lesson that worked well, a field trip, a way of explaining something that just “clicked” with a student? Or to ask questions to each other about specific issues?

Facebook can be the tool for us to create this network together. But we need your help. The Volunteer English Program has a Facebook fan page at You can “like” us there, as well as post messages to fellow tutors. Please check out our fan page and stay up-to-date with our events and announcements. If you’re on Facebook, we ask you to please take a moment to connect with us. Please write a brief post about your favorite or most successful lesson or your most meaningful moment as a tutor.

If you are not on Facebook, don’t fret; there are other ways to stay in touch with us. You can look at our fan page on Facebook by searching “Facebook Volunteer English Program”: you will be able to read what others have posted there, but you won’t be able post anything yourself. As always, the eNews will keep coming your way, and the website is chock-full of ESL links.

by Patricia Morgioni, Program Coordinator