New DVLC Tutors

Diablo Valley Literacy Council Newsletter
Volunteers teaching English as a second language (ESL) to non English speaking adults

Convoy of Hope (Job Fair)
April 28th all day at
Meadow Homes Park

Bylaws Meeting
Wednesday, May 2
1 pm

Board Meeting
Thursday, May 10
10 am

Immigration Law Clinic
Tuesday, May 22
6 pm - 8 pm
Pleasant Hill Library
1750 Oak Park Blvd,
Pleasant Hill

Board Meeting 
Thursday, June 14
10 am
(subject to change)

Report Hours for January through March, 2018
Don't forget to report your hours for the first quarter: Tutoring hours and Non-tutoring hours (time spent for preparation, travel to student and workshop).
You can email to

Remember to Pay Your Membership Dues
If you haven't already done so, remember to pay your 2018 membership dues. It's a great way to show your support for DVLC, and we use the dues to pay for items needed to support our tutoring program.  Please send a check for $15 to DVLC, 4000 Clayton Rd., Concord, CA 94521

DVLC Directory
Voicemail: 925-685-3881

President and Web Master
Lucy Goodell 
Vice-President and Publicity
Loretta Morrison
Mary Thomas

Treasurer and Telephone Committee
Joanne Hill

Board of Directors: 

Database Manager
Jim Keenan
Hospitality and Volunteers
Ela Newacheck
Hours Coordinator
Rachel Sanborn
Mary Nash
Newsletter Coordinator
Victor Tiglao
Special Projects
Denise Coyne     
Student/Tutor Coordinator
Holly Sprague
Workshop Registrar
Wendy Bojin-Liston
Workshop Training Coordinator
Kris Torske

Student Outreach
Sue Gannon

Workshop Trainer
Ed Chambers

Spring 2018
Vol. 32  No.2


Yes, since  1978  we have been helping adults who come to us seeking help with their English skills!

It started with the efforts of three amazing women, Helen Ollila, Chancey Henneman, and Evelyn Hidy, who recognized a need to provide individual help for ESL learners to improve their language skills. Our founders had the vision and energy to create a non-profit organization to carry out this important work.

Over the years we have equipped over 1,300 people to tutor ESL learners one-on-one. These tutors have offered a boost to well over 4,000 adults from 95 different countries who have come to us for help with their English learning. Currently about 100 individuals are actively tutoring. Some tutors have continued with one student for many years, others have had several students. Strong friendships have been formed in the process.

We look forward to marking 2018 as a year for truly making a difference for people who are pursuing their dreams of navigating the English language.

Lucy Goodell

March Workshop

Welcome to our new tutors who completed the March Workshop and have been matched with their students!

Thank you to Harumi Naito and her student Carmita for addressing the new tutors about their experiences as tutor and tutee.

I Can Read a Menu! Celebrating Small Successes with ESL Learners

- Sue Gannon

They say that happiness is made up of small moments, like the sunlight that shines through a dew-filled spiderweb, or a toddler's chortle of delight.  The same is true in measuring successes on the path to learning English.  The grand achievements, such as gaining citizenship, or a promotion, are easy to spot.  But the small steps along this path are also cause for celebration.  As a Chinese proverb states, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

Often students see only the long road ahead to English proficiency, rather than appreciating how far they have come.  Tutors also may wonder if their efforts are making a difference and question the effectiveness of their methods.  But just as a race is not won with one giant step, there are many steps along the way and each step is as important as the one at the finish line.

If, at the end of the session, the student understands something new, that's a reason to celebrate.  Encourage these small victories and challenge your students to look for others during the course of their week.  Here are some example of small yet meaningful accomplishments:
  • He sang a short song in English,
  • She chanted a nursery rhyme or played patty cake with a grandchild
  • He made an appointment over the phone
  • She had a chat with a neighbor
  • He can retell a story in his own words
  • She can follow a recipe
We'd love to hear your ideas.  Please send us your success stories of all shapes and sizes - no act is too small or insignificant.  For me, an important step in my student's progress was when she no longer felt compelled to use her online translator during our sessions.  I'm counting that as a success!


Ron Balakian's student has become an American citizen!

Joellen Ademski's student is studying for the citizenship test.

Wendy Bojin-Liston's student, Abida, passed the U.S. citizenship test!

Annual Membership Meeting in January

- Ela Newacheck

Our January Annual Meeting was well attended with over 30 tutors and board members present.  After enjoying a delicious lunch we got down to business.  Ed Chambers, Mary Thomas, Joanne Hill, Mary Nash and Holly Sprague were elected to 3 year terms, and Denise Coyne, Rachel Sanborn, Jim Keenan and Victor Tiglao to one year terms.  We acknowledged our founders: Helen Ollila, Chancey Henneman and Evelyn Hidy, along with retiring board members Rochelle Fortier (Newsletter Editor), Marion Keibel (Workshop Registrar) and Marie Kidwell (Dues Coordinator).  

Our on-going accomplishments included improving tutor training materials, reducing the number of students on the waiting list, and training a record number of tutors.  Our goals for 2018 include a more efficient method of logging tutoring hours, creating online sign-up capability for students seeking a tutor, and initiating social dining for both tutors and students.  

We are also planning to review and re-write the DVLC bylaws, refine the DVLC Board Job Descriptions, and improve our DVLC website.  

At the meeting we were able to answer the following questions from tutors:
  1. How can someone sign up for upcoming tutor training
    1. Use the DVLC website, email DVLC or call DVLC
  2. How do potential students hear about DVLC?
    1. Word of mouth from other students
    2. ESL Classes
    3. Libraries
  3. Is tutoring just in the East Bay?
    1. Yes, mostly Concord, Walnut Creek, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill.  However, we do have students on the wait list from East County

We hope you'll be able to join us in 2019 for our Annual Meeting!

Tutor/Student Social Dining

Would your student benefit from additional exposure to conversational English?

If you are interested, please send an e-mail to and note in the subject line "Tutor-Student Social Dining".

Contra Costa Crisis Center

Many of our ESL students avail themselves of services at the Contra Costa Crisis Center. The new executive director, Tom Tamura, wants us to know that there are changes to the way one can access information referral, crisis and suicide prevention hotline, and grief services.  From this point forward, simply dial 211 to access all services 24/7, or text HOPE to 20121.  You may want to mention this to your ESL student in case it may be relevant.

To access the 211 database online, anyone can do so by typing

Immigration Law Clinic

F ree drop-in sessions with an immigration lawyer (bilingual English-Spanish) in the Pleasant Hill Library is coming up. Spread the word to your students, neighbors, co-workers...anyone with concerns!

Tuesday, May 22, 6-8pm, 15-minute time slots, sign ups start at 5:30pm

Pleasant Hill Library, 1750 Oak Park Blvd.

Please Return Unused Books to the Library
Please return DVLC books that you are no longer using so that we can keep our library stocked and avoid the need to purchase more books. The Laubach, Side by Side and Azar books are in demand!   
Books may be returned to the DVLC self-service library during the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church office hours from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday thru Friday. Alternatively, you can email our librarian, Mary Nash, at  and make arrangements to drop the books at her home in Walnut Creek. 

We'd love to hear from you!  Email your questions or comments to Diablo Valley Literacy Council at: 
See our updated website: