From left to right, new Aquinas Literacy Center tutors John Brockway, Kevin O’Neil, Lameese Hajissa, Sr. Joyce Zarnik and Frani Luehrs are now ready to teach adult English language learners.

Literacy Center Grows Tutor Corps with New Trainees

Published November 9, 2021

The Aquinas Literacy Center in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood celebrated another group of volunteers successfully passing through training on Saturday, October 23, 2021, to become English language tutors.

Show your pride and support local news with McKinley Park shirts and apparel

"Aquinas trained five new volunteer English literacy tutors to help address the critical societal need of adult education in English as a second language," said Sabrina Poulin, associate director at the center. "Without the support of many volunteers, Aquinas would not be able to carry out its mission of empowering adults to learn English."

Chicago Independent Media Alliance - Click to Learn More!

The newest tutors are John Brockway, Lameese Hajissa, Frani Luehrs, Kevin O’Neil and Sr. Joyce Zarnik. They will engage one-on-one with local adults — many of whom are immigrants — for 60 minutes per week to provide interaction and support for students, who also progress through studying on their own, online and at the center.

"Volunteering as a tutor is the perfect way to give back to your community," O'Neil said. "Immigrants are the future of our country; tutoring is one way to help shape that future."

Next Training on Thursday

The next tutor training workshop will be held virtually over online videoconferencing on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 11, 2021, Poulin said. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up by calling (773) 927-0512 or sending email to

Show your pride and support local news with McKinley Park shirts and apparel

"Aquinas Literacy Center still needs tutors because there are over 20 students waiting to be matched with an English tutor," Poulin said. 

Tutors must be native or near-native English speakers, and all tutoring of learners takes place in English. "Knowledge of another language is not required," Poulin said.

"McKinley Park is fortunate to have Aquinas Literacy Center as a neighbor," O'Neil said.

Ed. Note: Kevin O'Neil is a freelance neighborhood news correspondent for the McKinley Park News.

Log In to comment on this item.
Chicago Independent Media Alliance - Click to Learn More!