HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

The Holyoke Tutor/Mentor program connects volunteers to adult education classes in Holyoke.



It's hard to believe, but it's almost time to start recruiting new tutors for the next school year. The process has me reflecting on how our volunteers join our team.


A dozen interviews will teach you a thing or two.

Fortunately I was the interviewer, not the interviewee for all of them, and I was reading through my notes for an article about our new tutors.

As I did, I noticed how many of the people applying to be volunteer with us talked about someone who had encouraged them to pursue tutoring/teaching

A teacher who said 'you should become a teacher yourself'

Grown children or parents who said 'you're good at this' when this meant helping, teaching, supporting.

Feedback on school presentations or work trainings that said 'you've got a talent for explaining clearly'

It always sounds like it was a little thing in the mind of the person saying it - but significant for the person hearing it. (Or maybe that's just my experience)

(or, really, maybe it's just the human experience of encouraging comments.)

In truth, it reminds me of research I read in graduation school, that for many people, the first step in any community involvement, was an invitation or encouragement from another person. A 'hey, you should do this thing' that starts or sparks something.

And, so …

Dear world, please encourage the people around you who have a talent. It seems they're listening (and waiting).

And, also,…

Dear friends of HTM, would you encourage the people around you to volunteer?

If there's someone in your life who makes you think 'you should become a teacher yourself' or 'you're good at this' or 'you've got a talent for explaining' I hope you tell them. I'd bet they'll appreciate it, and I'd also bet that they'd make a great volunteer.


I'll be recruiting new volunteers this summer, and you, dear friends, know better than most people know what it takes and how rewarding it can be. I would be grateful if you'd help me spread the word. 

So, please, encourage those you know.(really)

But if that's not for you, you could also…

  • Post a flyer at your favorite coffee shop/church/library/etc. bulletin board (Stop by my office if you'd like an already-printed copy) AND/OR share with relevant list serves or online communities
  • Or, share the web-ready version online (facebook/twitter/Instagram)
  • Or, invite Allison to meet/attend an event or group that you are part of. (Book? Alumni? Community festival?)
Beyond "Who needs help?"
Thoughtful v.7: Failing

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Monday, 06 December 2021

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