Seniors and those recently retired often feel a lack of social interaction and purpose, feeling disconnected from society or that you’re no longer needed. Volunteering for a worthy cause can help alleviate these feelings.
With 16 years of dedicated service as a tutor to adults in reading, writing and math, Linda Forward finds community and purpose at the Dartmouth Learning Network. In 2018, Linda received the Provincial Volunteer Award for Eastern Passage, as well as the Halifax Regional Municipality’s Volunteer Award.
“When I can help a grandmother learn to read to her grandchildren, help a young person who has failed the military entrance exam prepare to rewrite it, help a struggling family understand that they are entitled to have Community Services assist them or help someone understand the map of Canada, I think the whole community benefits,” says Forward.
She’s right. According to a 2005 study, when Canadian literacy levels are raised by one per cent, national productivity increases by 2.5 per cent and gross domestic product increases by 1.5 per cent. That’s because adults with higher literacy levels are more likely to be employed and earning higher wages, are healthier and more engaged in their communities.
“If I can help someone to learn to enjoy and appreciate learning, that is a huge reward to me,” says Forward.
Tutors at Dartmouth Learning Network are supported by staff and provided with training and ongoing learning opportunities to help them in their role. They and their learners are also invited to socials and field trips throughout the year to build community. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Dartmouth Learning Network at 902-463-9179 or visit their website at dartmouthlearning.net.