GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
Here in Mesa County, nearly 500 people a year benefit from a library program that helps them learn how to speak English, and now this course is in need of some help.
The Adult literacy Program at Mesa County Libraries currently has a waiting list of over 100 people, and without extra volunteers, the library system won't be able to cater to all of them.
“We have students from over 30 different countries,” said Karen Kllanxhja, of the Mesa County Library Services. “They’re really from all over the world.”
The program helps Mesa County residents learn English, improve their English skills and prepare for U.S. citizenship.
“You keep your mind active. So you serve your own good too,” said Tish Kllanxhja, volunteer.
Tish Kllanxhja is a former teacher who is about to turn 90-years-old. But after retiring, he decided to use his extra time and volunteer at the adult literacy program.
“I had a lot of time at my disposal and I was not used to it,” said Tish. “I worked for 50 somewhat years.”
Throughout the 10 years he’s been tutoring, Tish has helped several residents, including Euesbia Garza.
“I met with him 3 times a week for an hour and a half,” said Garza. “Now I am teaching the Spanish computer classes. I am so happy that he helped me. It was so amazing.”
Garza says the program not only provides aid to residents struggling to learn a new language but also gives them hope.
“If I can learn, I can help my community that was my big goal,” said Garza. “Now I am living my dream and helping people. If I can, they can too.”
Library officials say the definition of "literacy" continues to evolve, which is why they not only provide reading lessons, but help folks learn computer skills as well.
If you would like to get involved, the literacy program is hosting two volunteer tutor sessions on March 7th. The sessions are 1-2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. at the Mesa County Central Library located at 655 N. 1st St.
For more information, click here.