by: Jessica Clark
Hello everyone—Think Literacy is back after a bit of a break. Summer closure plus a mountain of work has kept me away, but we’re back! Before we get into the meat of this post, a little housekeeping:
As of August 9th, I will be done working for The Literacy Center and no longer in control of this blog. Jenelle Caines, our Program Manager, will be taking over as the manager of Think Literacy. More info on Jenelle, from Jenelle, a little later.
When I leave, The Literacy Center will be reducing its number of staff members to only two. This may mean changes in the frequency of posts that appear on this blog, so be ready for some possible changes.
Finally, we need contributors! If you are a Literacy Volunteer for TLC or elsewhere, if you are involved in adult literacy in the Flagstaff community, or if you are currently or have been an adult education student, WE WANT YOU! Think Literacy was designed as a place for a conversation about adult literacy to take place in order to spread awareness about this important issue. We need voices, especially now that TLC will have fewer resources to devote to this blog. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, contact Jenelle for more information.
On to the content!
There are two ways to say goodbye in Korean.
One, annyeonghi gaseyo (안녕히 가세요), is used by the person who is staying. Annyeong means “peace,” so when saying goodbye to someone who is leaving in Korean, you are literally telling them to “go peacefully.”
The second is used by the person who is leaving—tomorrow, that person will be me. As many of you who are in the TLC community already know, I am moving to South Korea to live and teach English. While I have loved working for The Literacy Center these past two years (in fact, I often say it is the best job I have ever had) and living in Flagstaff for the past 21, it is time for me to move on.
I don’t know all the details about my future in Korea yet, but here’s what I do know:
- I’ll be living in Korea’s second largest city, Busan. It is located in the very southern part of the country, and it has about 3.6 million people and a beach.
- I’ll be teaching students whose grade level falls somewhere between 3rd and 7th grade for a program called EPIK (English Program in Korea).
- It’s going to be an adventure!
Now here’s what I know about The Literacy Center—a subject I’m something of an expert in:
We have THE best community of people. Ever. I don’t know what it is about this place, but there’s something special about here—something that attracts the most passionate, caring and dedicated people.
Our volunteer board of directors is comprised of some of the most generous individuals in all of Flagstaff. They constantly give of their time and energy and wealth to make sure that there is always a place in Flagstaff where people who need literacy help can go.
TLC’s volunteers are also stunningly dedicated to helping each and every person they work with get better at reading, writing, and conversing in English. Some are able to give only a few hours per week, while others spend so much time here that it’s a wonder we aren’t sick of them! Every person who walks through our door with an interest in volunteering does so to make someone else’s life better. That is pretty amazing.
Our learners are among the sweetest and funniest people I have met in Flagstaff. Many fight against a sea of obstacles to make it here every week so that they can put in the work necessary to meet their goals. Some are here to acquire skills that will give them access to better jobs, some are looking to go much further with their educations, some are simply trying to learn to have conversations in English. All are fighting a hard battle, and despite the difficulties they face, they always manage to remain optimistic, friendly, and supportive of one another and of the organization itself.
Then there’s the staff… Carynn, our Executive Director, and Jenelle, our Program Manager, are the two most amazing people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. They have also become my very dear friends. Although I am leaving, and turning our trio into a duo, I know that we will stay in touch, and that they will keep the TLC fires burning. (Even when those fires are at the ends of double-sided candles!) I’ve also loved the opportunity to get to know all the work-study students, Americorps volunteers, and other temporary staff members who have come through TLC during my time here. Each one of these individuals has brought his or her own unique flair to The Literacy Center, and we are a richer organization for having had them here.
TLC is also backed by just about the best community of people one could ask for. So many Flagstaff citizens, business owners, students, and even visitors support The Literacy Center and its efforts to improve the lives of people in Flagstaff who need literacy and language help.
If you are already involved in with TLC, I am so happy that your contributions helped make this organization what it is. If you aren’t involved, but you’re thinking about it, know that if you do become a part of this organization, you’ll be working with the very best people. It is not an easy group to leave behind!
So, to all of you at TLC who I’ve come to know and love, I say:
Annyeonghi Gyeseyo. (안녕히 계세요.)