Seven years ago, volunteer Connie Gregg retired from teaching English as a Second Language and began working with LexRAP, bringing a skill set tailor-made for the needs of LexRAP families. She and her husband Jim raised their two now-adult children in Lexington, where she has lived for 35 years. Connie loves to walk, read, paint, and do needlepoint.
In addition to her outstanding ELL skills, Connie has life experience that supports her volunteer efforts. “I spent my junior year of college in France,” she explains. As a result, Connie knows how overwhelming it can feel to be in a different country, giving her special empathy and insight for the refugee families she supports.
Connie came to LexRAP after reading an article about the Alloh family in the Boston Globe. She gave LexRAP a call and began helping the family with English.
In addition to tutoring, Connie has helped families with school issues; coordinated with teachers; helped with driving/licenses; and arranged summer camps and medical appointments. “Pretty much anything that comes up,” she says.
A high school student Connie tutors has gone from failing all of her classes to winning a literature award and earning all A’s and B’s with Connie’s help. She says that one of most memorable accomplishments she’s seen is watching her refugee students graduate from high school and move on to either college or starting a business.
“I really enjoy witnessing the growth that families and individuals achieve,” she notes. “Seeing students succeed in school and helping parents with basic skills is very satisfying and exciting. It’s especially thrilling to see adults get their green cards, passports and citizenship!”
Says Connie, “Being a LexRAP volunteer, whether it’s a one-time car trip or spending time once a week or more to help a child read, is very fulfilling. I’ve met incredibly talented, caring people, some of whom have become good friends. The LexRAP community is always there to chat, help out, provide resources, or anything else you need. I would encourage anyone who wants to give back to contact LexRAP and explore the many opportunities they offer.”
–Reported by Nancy Keswani