A diverse group of people from the Newport-Mesa ProLiteracy program were honored Thursday for their efforts in learning and teaching literacy.
The celebration was conducted as part of International Literacy Day at the Newport Beach Central Library to honor the learners, tutors and volunteers of the program. Orange County resident Marna Lee Lopez received the Rochelle Hoffman Memorial Award and was recognized as the learner with the most progress.
“Someday when I’m a grandparent I want the grand kids to say ’nano had a learning disability and never gave up," Lopez, who never learned to read or write as a child, said.
Lopez said she relied on her charm and humor to get by in the classroom, but realized she had to make a change when her triplets were becoming smarter that she was. She said her tutor, Katie, was her "angel on earth."
The Newport Beach Public Library offers the ProLiteracy program to adults who live and work near the Newport Beach area and are either native English speakers who lack literacy skills, or those who learned English as a second language. Students, who are referred to as “learners,” are matched with a volunteer tutor for about two hours per week.Eun Jung Kwon, of Irvine, is originally from Korea and has been tutored by program volunteer Ann Jennett for three years.
“Her teaching inspired a new dream inside me,” Kwon said.“ I was a full-time mom, I couldn’t speak English very well because I was either at the Korean market, Korean movies, or Korean restaurants. I felt like a little hamster running on the same wheel everyday, I wanted to learn English."
Kwon said improving her literacy skills has resulted in a lot of new friends and the completion of her nursing certification. She also now volunteers at Children's Hospital of Orange County.Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Sign up for the daily email with links to the latest local news.