Volunteer of the Month - September 2020

We are thrilled to announce Rozanne Screven as September volunteer of the month! Rozanne is a longtime educator and licensed reading teacher who has professionally taught first grade and adults at Waukesha Technical College. She began volunteering with Literacy Services in 2006 when WCTC required staff to do community service work, however Rozanne had long passed her required hours because she fell in love with tutoring. Rozanne has been a tutor in all of our programs, but as a reading teacher, she is currently tutoring a couple of students in our Adult Basic Education program. She loves the Wilson Reading System, a highly structured phonics system, and says it’s the perfect way to teach reading.

Rozanne finds tutoring to be such a rewarding experience and is always excited seeing students improve. One of her students, whose story always makes her tear up, was denigrated by their teacher and did not have access to reading classes so he faked it, all the while not feeling as smart as others. “I could not believe a teacher would do that to a child,” said Rozanne. Her student had memorized a lot of words and resourcefully got by, but when there were promoted to a supervisory role, he was terrified his employer would find out. This story is similar to many of our students who are looking to improve their reading, writing, English, or math skills so they can advance their career, gain meaningful employment, and support their families.

At the start of our transition to remote learning, Rozanne immediately made plans with her students to continue lessons by phone. She gathered the materials she needed and set out to mailing packets to her students. It has been challenging working from home for many of us because there are more distractions competing for attention. However, we’re amazed at how she made a hectic transition seamless. The special care and attention she devoted to her students, especially during a pandemic, deserves to be recognized.

In the words of Bianca Johnson-Ortiz, the Adult Basic Education Program Director, “The key to maintaining engagement with these learners is building a personal relationship. Rozanne’s patient and kind demeanor allow her students to feel at ease while she further makes a genuine connection to know the whole person.” Rozanne has an endearing spirit, a love for teaching and fiber arts, including weaving. We are grateful for her truly inspiring dedication to our mission!