27th Annual On the Road to Literacy Conference 
Thank you to everyone who made it a success! 
June C. Porter
presented with  
Literacy Leader Legacy Award

Student is at the Top Award 

Harrold Barnes
presented with
June C. Porter Student is at the Top Award 

June Porter, Harrold Barnes, Alex Crevi, LVI Board President, Ruby
Camacho, Associate Director, UIC Center for Literacy and Peter Waite 
Keynote Speaker 
Peter Waite, Executive Vice President
ProLiteracy Worldwide

 Saturday, April 21, 2018 
 Conference Schedule
8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Welcome Session
10:00 a.m. Workshops
11:00 a.m. Workshops
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Workshops
2:00 p.m. Closing Session

A special thanks to all of this year's Workshop Presenters

Click here to see this year's photos on Facebook!


Tutor of the Year Award 
Diksha J. Bhatia
Midwest Asian American Center, Schaumburg

Diksha is very passionate and gets totally involved with each assignment on hand and works diligently to complete her work on time involving her students in the classroom, writes her nominator, Vandana Dalal. She creates a very friendly environment responding to each students as per their needs.The most innovative technique used by Diksha is the bi-language (Hindi) curriculum she utilizes which has many quizzes, games, pictures, play cards, flash cards and audios for pronunciation which makes it very easy for her students to understand every word. Exploring Chicago is a brainstorming technique she developed which is filled with fun out of class. This includes marketing spree tours which are guided tours conducted with permission of retail stores, which helps them to read and understand labels regarding product usage.  

Outstanding Tutor Awards

Rey Cruz, World Relief Chicago, Chicago

Rey is consistent, patient, and committed to the partnership he formed with his student, writes his nominator, Emily Erland. He stays in regular communication about any concerns or questions he may have and tracks his hours and sends lesson updates faithfully every week. He has not only been able to teach his student, but has shared many things that he has personally learned from his student and has formed solid friendships with his student and his student’s family.  


Renate Durnbaugh and Patricia Michel, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Chicago

Renate and Pat are exceptional becuse they have been meeting a need in the Mayfair community that had gone unmet until they stepped up, writes their nominator, Karen Parrillo. When we became aware of a need for ESL instruction at the Mayfair Library, she continued, we held a registration. At the registration, the majority of learners were at a high-intermediate level of English, but there were a few Arabic-speaking women, who were at the very beginning literacy level. With funding for only one instructor, a high-intermediate level class was formed and those at the beginning level were told they’d need to wait for volunteer tutors. They waited patiently while the volunteer call was put out. A few months later, Renate and Pat answered the call and began tutoring six women on Tuesday mornings, divided into very beginning and high beginning.  Soon they brought their friends and now they are tutoring thirteen !


James Fitzmaurice, Corazon a Corazon, Blue Island

James stands out among our talented volunteer tutors as he has been one of our most dedicated, writes his nominator, Mayra Pimentel. Since he started in November 2016, he has been known for his kindness, dedication and infectious positive attitude. He is reliable and committed and, most importantly, compassionate with his learners. Last year he teamed up with one of his learners to read a novel to expose her to what it was like to be in a book club. She was thrilled to come to her tutoring session and discuss their reading. Through this she not only greatly improved her English reading skills but her self-confidence.

Claribel Gomez, Project CARE- Morton College, Cicero

Claribel Gomez began volunteering with Project CARE in 2017 and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the program, writes her nominator, Irina Cline. She has closely worked with 21 English as a Second Language (ESL) students and has achieved excellent results in her work.  As a learning enthusiast herself, Claribel is dedicated to providing innovative tutoring instruction. In addition to tried-and-true tutoring strategies, she always uses new teaching methods targeted to her students‛ needs, drawing parallels for instance between Spanish and English vocabulary and grammar.


Yihyun Kim, Hanul Family Alliance, Chicago

Whether she is teaching a large class of 20 students or having a one-on-one conversation with an adult learner, Yihyun is always able to adapt to any setting for the benefit of the ESL student, writes her nominator, Charlene Choi. Yihyun is a first generation Korean American who is fluent in Korean and English, so when her students struggle to express themselves or lack the vocabulary to finish a sentence, they know that Yihyun will be able to understand their Korean.



Sarah Poontong, Southeast Asia Center, Chicago

Sarah has dedicated her time and considerable talents to working with our students at our agency, writes her nominator, Seamus Doyle. She teaches a class of mixed level learners for two hours, three times a week. Despite the challenge of teaching a class of varying levels, Sarah manages to cater to each student’s needs and abilities. Sarah is also one of our most reliable volunteers. rarely missing a class and, on occasion, stepping in for extra days when other volunteer tutors are unable to teach.


Edward Schultz, Howard Area Community Center, Chicago

Edward Schultz enrolled as a volunteer in our program three and a half years ago, writes his nominator, Jason Kaiser. He was quickly matched with Michelle who entered our program six months earlier as a beginning ABE student. Edward has met with Michelle on a weekly basis over the course of three and a half years. In addition to consistency of commitment, Edward is a skilled instructor coming  to his tutoring sessions prepared with well- developed lessons.  He applies innovative techniques that employ his theatrical skills and uses plays to engage learners, who respond well.


Jackson Stacy, Indo-American Center, Chicago

Jackson has shown much dedication and passion for teaching ESL students, writes his nominator, Evelyn Mateo. He is a very creative instructor who goes out of his way to teach students in different ways, such as having a tea party or bringing snacks to show students about American culture. Being new to the US, Jackson relates with his students and even though his native language is English, he is still new to the culture as are a majority of his level 1 students. Jackson uses his experience to encourage his students to not be afraid to learn the culture that surrounds them including the language.



Scott Strain, Waubonsee Community College, Aurora

Having led “Computers & Conversation” group for over 6 years, Scott has demonstrated a great deal of initiative, creativity and reliability, writes his co-nominators Michaels McDaid and Galina Khartulari. It was on his initiative the group was launched which he approached, they wrote, with great creativity by combining computer literacy with other critical literacy skills, teaching his students to function effectively in the contemporary multi-faceted world by enhancing fundamental literacy skills through mastering computer skills.

Sara Vasicek, Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, Jump Start at IYC-St. Charles
What makes Sara exceptional is her versatility, her compassion and her ability to be non-judgmental, plus her skill at finding and adapting resources for each of her students, writes her nominator, Melissa Auer. Our students are young men involved in the Juvenile Justice System and they can be pretty rough. Calm and quiet, she establishes a good rapport with each student she works with, she has a special gift for working with the lower-level, more vulnerable youth. She is patient and kind, letting them know she cares. One student had only met with her a few times when he asked her to attend a hearing with him, since his family was not going to be able to attend 

Conference Planning Commitee
Ruby Camacho, UIC Center for Literacy
Lindsey Crammond, Heartland Alliance
Becky DeForest, Literacy Works
Vandana Dalal, Midwest Asian American Center
Carol Larsen, New Reader's Press
Susan Levels, McHenry County College, Adult Literacy Program
John McLeod, Board of Directors, Literacy Volunteers of Illinois
Marilyn Murchison, Literacy Chicago
Marychase Tsui, VOCAL AmeriCorps, Literacy Volunteers of Illinois
Timothy White, VOCAL AmeriCorps, Literacy Volunteers of Illinois
Irene Williams, Literacy Office, Illinois State Library, Secratary of State
New Life Volunteering Society
New Reader's Press
Starbuck's on State and Adams