March Volunteer of the Month: Shelly Roberts
This month, we honor volunteer Shelly Roberts as an “everyday hero.” Through our Family Match program, Shelly tutors two refugees in conversational English every week and diligently seeks any materials and props possible to aid in their learning. But her work goes beyond teaching language skills: Shelly helps clients navigate their new home by helping them with any needs or concerns, from setting up medical appointments to understanding culture and systems in the United States.
Shelley became a volunteer so she could help the refugee community and enjoys her experience in the Family Match program. She says the most important thing about her volunteer experience is “getting to know the families of her learners and being able to be a part of their community.” Shelly’s most memorable moment in service was when she first began going to her learners’ home. She had brought some props—including fruits and stuffed animals—to help explain what different words meant. The woman’s two-year old granddaughter started eating all the fruits and playing with the toys.
On the importance of the service provided through the Family Match program, Shelly says: “Refugees greatly benefit from being involved with us because we can help them navigate the country.” It has been an eye-opening experience for her and she believes she has learned from it herself.
The Family Match program is designed to match a volunteer with a newly arrived refugee to practice conversational English as well as to help the learner understand everyday things and assist with different tasks. Volunteers truly become their learner’s first friend and guide as they start their new life in the United States. Shelly and other Family Match volunteers play a crucial role: they not only help families learn conversational English skills, they also assist them along a new pathway in their new home. We are pleased to honor Shelly’s work and dedication to her learners!