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2019 Volunteer Spotlights: Tom Mace

Tom began volunteering at MAM Literacy Advance as an ESL tutor in May 2017. Since then, he has led several regular classes and frequently leads Waiting Class. In the last semester of 2018, he had TWO ESL classes in addition to multiple sessions of Waiting Class.

To every class and every tutoring activity, Tom brings enthusiasm, patience, and understanding. His varied experiences with languages, cultures, and bilingual programs within Houston have helped him to connect on an even deeper level with his students.

Just last month, Tom gave us another special gift: Brand new classroom fans! Thanks to Tom’s generous gift, students and volunteers can be even more comfortable in their classroom spaces, ready to learn and listen no matter what the weather looks like that day. Thank you, Tom, for all that you give to MAM Literacy Advance!

What brought you to MAM Literacy Advance?

I had been tutoring at other adult education organizations. While most of these organizations offered ESL & ABE classes for free, none of them offered the wide range of classes, class days and times, and transition services offered at MAM Literacy Advance.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering as a tutor?

I enjoy the varied background and skills sets of students who come to MAM Literacy Advance. I have tutored students whose first language was Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and several others.

What tutoring strategies do you often use in your classes?

While I prepare a lesson plan for each class, I have to be ready to improvise and adjust my tutoring and responses when necessary. My main interest is to make sure that I provide a comfortable and safe environment where students can feel free to express themselves when speaking in English.

In what ways do you think your experiences as a volunteer tutor have impacted you?

I retired from a high-level corporate career as a Risk Manager. My role was to provide my time and talent to benefit my employer, customers, and fellow employees. It has been a great pleasure and honor to be able to impact many students as individuals.

What inspires you?

My students inspire me every day! Learning English and adjusting to the U.S. culture takes many years. I admire their dedication, their thirst for learning, and their patience.

What would you say to others who are thinking about volunteering?

Volunteering has been a rewarding experience for me. This experience has made me proud to be an American citizen. I didn't realize how fortunate I was to live in the USA. I am very proud to share my first language and culture. I have been honored to learn some language and customs from our students, too!

Thank you so much for your dedication, Tom!

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