I have volunteered my own time and money to help others and my community. I’ve done this on and off since the age of 11. This included three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote area in Africa. This also included managing, as a volunteer, a (501C3) not-for-profit and, as CEO, offering my company’s services, free of charge, to community members who couldn’t otherwise afford those services. As a university instructor, I developed resources that I shared freely with my colleagues.
Relevant Qualifications: B.A. in psychology; training provided by the U.S. Peace Corps; training provided by Open Clinic (crisis intervention center)
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Colorado School of English (CSE) - As the founder and director of an accredited English language institute, I knew that there were many in our community who needed language training and couldn’t afford it. When we began our own TESL/TEFL certification program, we incorporated a 6-week supervised practicum. I offered those classes, taught by supervised student teachers to factories that employed a lot of new immigrants. We brought our teachers to the factories and offered the classes for free. We required the companies to accommodate the workers by doing the classes during regularly scheduled work hours and by providing paper, pens, pencils and an appropriate classroom area.
Although CSE was not a large school, we always had at least one student who we provided with a full-time scholarship.
Director of Sustainable Technology Institute (STI), a 501C3 Not-for-profit - Between 2010-2012, while we were running a solar energy design and installation company (Tri Power Systems), my husband and I decided to also do non-profit programs to help our rural community. STI received several grants from the State of Colorado to implement programs that resulted in energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprints for local businesses. We also ran free workshops in sustainable living (such as “Sprouting” and “How to DIY a Solar Food Dehydrator”) and a large community supported garden. We used the “community supported agriculture” model whereby, with donated land and compost, we and other volunteers planted and tended the garden and sold shares in it. Each week the harvest was divided up among the share holders and volunteers who had worked the garden. We got charitable donations for some of the shares and gave those to the local senior center and the local food bank. The garden was all organic and grown from heirloom seeds. My husband and I were both volunteers for STI, receiving no salary or compensation.
OTHER COMMUNITY SERVICE & VOLUNTEERING
Clear Creek County Sustainability Committee, Founding Member - this volunteer group of concerned community members met to discuss the formation of sustainability initiatives. The group dissolved when key members were absorbed into the Gilpin and Clear Creek Energy Advisory Committee.
Gilpin and Clear Creek Energy Advisory Committee, Founding Member - Over the course of 18 months, community leaders met to devise a strategic sustainability plan which was unanimously adopted by the commissioners of both counties, and to plan/implement a number of community educational initiatives as well as grant-funded energy conservation and energy efficiency programs.
U.S. Peace Corps, Volunteer - My husband and I were Peace Corps volunteers in Niger, West Africa. The period of service was for two years but we enjoyed it so much that we extended our service for a third year. My job was to teach English, the first 2 years in a middle school and the third year in a high school. There were few textbooks available so I made all of my own presentation and practice materials which I wrote out on the board and the students copied into their treasured notebooks. This was before the internet was widely in use - and the school was in an impoverished nation. We only had chalk and a chalkboard available. Students sat four across at a desk designed for two. Nevertheless, they were motivated and hard-working and achieved the target learning outcomes. I also shared the materials I created with my colleagues who, like the students, had to copy it by hand before they could bring it to their own classes. In addition to my work as a teacher, I became known as a “go to” person among my neighbors when they were ill and couldn’t afford a doctor. I even saved the lives of a couple of babies. Corny as it sounds, I was known, not by my name, but the nickname “Ana” which means “mother.” See a presentation I made about my Peace Corps teaching experience in my portfolio.
In addition to teaching students, I was asked, along with one other teacher, to train our colleagues at a two-day inservice training. I felt unqualified for the task, so I read every book in our Peace Corps library that pertained to teaching English language and then went to the American Cultural Center and read all of those. Then I felt equal to the task and delivered a very successful training.
Care-giver for Child with Cerebral Palsy - I was a child myself (11 years old) but I volunteered to spend two afternoons per week doing patterning exercises and bathing a 4-year-old girl who had cerebral palsy. I began to learn both the joy and heartache of volunteer work.
Crisis Intervention Counselor - In college, I volunteered for two years at the on-campus crisis intervention center (Open Clinic) which was run by our psychology department. I was trained in basic counseling techniques which mainly involved being an active listener and thoroughly documenting our interactions with clients, most of whom called on the hotline. I also learned strategies to help those dealing with drug addiction and depression.
Colorado Crisis Services - (Child Abuse Shelter), Volunteer - Also, while in college, I volunteered for a year at a government operated shelter for abused and neglected children. I later went on to work there as an employee and care-giver for two years. My duties as a volunteer were simply to spend time with the children, playing and talking with them.
CONTRIBUTIONS / INITIATIVES
Most of my adult life, I’ve been the boss. However, the past 8 years, I’ve been a university instructor (English language), first at a small engineering college in Kuwait and currently at a very large university in Saudi Arabia. At both places, I volunteered my time and some of my money to create materials which I shared with colleagues. In Kuwait, I created several sets of flash cards and patiently laminated them, so that my colleagues could use them for years to come. I also got the department head to give me funds which I used to buy realia for an ESP course. In addition, I agreed to sit on the board of TESOL Kuwait as webmaster. All the while, I had a full teaching load.
In Saudi Arabia, I created a website, initially as a repository for the supplementary materials I was creating for my own classes, but I quickly realized I could collaborate with colleagues for the benefit of all. Currently, the site, which is passworded, has been viewed over 10,000 times. It’s divided into levels and subdivided by units taught, and by skill (reading, writing etc.) Many teachers have contributed activities, worksheets and quizzes. There are multiple Kahoot! and Socrative quiz links as well for each unit (corresponding roughly to a week of the curriculum). If you’d like to peruse www.flipedu.org in depth, just ask me for the password.
I also volunteered to create and present a variety of training workshops for my colleagues at both institutions, some of which were additionally presented at TESOL Kuwait conferences and at the TESOL Arabia conference. I often use prezi for my presentations. You can see some of my presentations here…
When the international TESOL convention was slated for Denver, I was invited to be on the advance planning team. This involved about 18 months’ of preparation for a convention of approximately 12,000 international attendees.