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How We Can Help

Do you want to read, write, spell or speak English better? We can help. We will provide you with your own tutor who can help you reach your goals. Our services are free and confidential. Call us today at (207) 947-8451.

These are some of the things we can help you do:

  • Read to your children
  • Read your mail, recipes, prescriptions, etc.
  • Study for your high school diploma or HiSet (formerly GED)
  • Get a driver’s license
  • Read the paper, books, or the Internet
  • Keep your job or get a better one
  • Study for your U.S. citizenship test
  • Speak English
  • Improve your self-confidence

Want help today? Call our office at (207) 947-8451. Or, fill out the application below.


Apply

You may fill out an application online, print it out and mail it to us, or call our office for help at (207) 947-8451.

Basic Literacy Student Application

Use this form if you want help with reading, writing, or spelling and English is your first language. If you can’t complete the form, that is okay. Fill out as much as you can.

You can complete and submit this PDF online by emailing us, or you can print it out and mail it to us. The address is on the form.

English Language Student Application

Use this form if English is not your first language. If you can’t complete the form, that is okay. Fill out as much as you can.

You can complete and submit this PDF online by emailing us, or you can print it out and mail it to us. The address is on the form.


Frequently Asked Questions

Students come to us with lots of questions. We answer some of the most common questions here.


Student Stories

Our students have very different backgrounds. They come to us with very different goals. Whatever they hope to achieve, Literacy Volunteers is here to help. You can read a few stories from our students below.

Ana Guzman

Basic Literacy Student

“It was hard coming from another country,” says Ana Guzman. “It was hard to buy things for cooking. You don’t know the name, and you’re not sure you’re buying the right thing. You don’t know what to do if someone gives you the wrong change.” When she couldn’t cope with a mistake at a store, she says, “I went home and cried in my house.”

Ana had struggled in the English classes she’d taken, so an individual tutor was perfect for her. “The most thing I appreciate is time – she has time for me. She can make the time work – if I’m busy, we can reschedule. And I said, ‘Ooh, that’s a nice way to learn! If I don’t know what something is, she brings it to me, like fudge.”

After a little over a year with her tutor, Ana was comfortable enough in English to give a talk at a fundraiser. She encourages immigrant co-workers who are afraid to go into stores for fear of being misunderstood or not knowing what to say. She sends them straight to Literacy Volunteers.

Mary Hunter

Basic Literacy Student

I grew up during segregation and during the Depression. Since I was a young child, I’ve struggled with reading and writing. I can read some, but I want to be able to better understand what I’m reading and to follow instructions.

[Now] I have an opportunity to learn things I didn’t have a chance when I was going to school. I want to learn so that I can help others. I joined a Book Club through Literacy Volunteers where we read wonderful stories and talk about them. I work with a tutor on writing down my stories and memories, and now I’m learning to use a computer.

And so here I am at 96 years old and I’m still struggling and learning.Sometimes people tell me I’m too old to learn, but I try not to let it stop me. As long as the door is open and the opportunity is there, I take advantage of it and go through that door.

Angela Montoya

English Language Student

Angela Montoya came from Colombia with her sons in search of a better life. She’s keenly aware of the subtle ways a weak grasp of English held her back. She was so afraid to speak English that she wouldn’t even try to order at a fast food restaurant.

“People can think you aren’t smart” when you’re silent, Angela explains. “I’ve been silent too many times,” she continues. “There is more in me than shows on the outside.”

Did she change that? Oh, yes. Once she got a better grip on spoken English, Angela was sailing. She completed a medical assisting program, got a job in her field, and became a U.S. Citizen. Today, she makes sure to give back and routinely shares her story so that other immigrants can “jump the language barrier” and gain confidence.

Brandi Meservey

Basic Literacy Student

“I could read somewhat. I didn’t read anything of importance, because I didn’t understand anything that I was reading. I could get a bill, but didn’t understand the description of why my bill was this amount. And sometimes with new medications for my boys, the only way I was really going to find out anything was to call Poison Control.”

Brandi Meservey was born into generational poverty and low literacy. The last grade she completed was 7th and eventually earned her GED. By her mid-20s, she had survived domestic violence, drugs, and homelessness. Now, as a single mom of three, she didn’t want her sons to struggle as she has.

After years of working with tutors, Brandi advocates for her family–both in person and in writing. She can read through complicated legal forms. She has attended college and today is apprenticing with a finish carpenter and supporting her family.

Richie Allen

Basic Literacy Student

Richie came to the organization after a lifetime of working hard and getting by with low reading abilities. Today, he’s a reader. He says proudly, “It doesn’t matter if I’m home or in the grocery store. I can’t stop picking up magazines and reading them. I’ve got to know what’s inside.” Richie also remembers not being able to read to his children and grandchildren. But today, he proudly reads to his new great-grandchild.

Elodie Nkamhoe

English Language Student

A native of Cameroon, in central Africa, Elodie could not speak or understand English when she arrived in Bangor. She lived in an apartment, with her husband and preschool daughter. Elodie’s husband reached out to Literacy Volunteers on her behalf. In just nine months working with a tutor, and with much hard work and dedication, Elodie improved her English skills. With her new skills, she has been able to better support her family and gain back some independence.

Also, in that short time, Elodie got her driver’s license, was placed in the Advanced English class through adult education, and got a job with a major retailer. Elodie’s future goals include attending University and acquiring her US Citizenship.

Linda Savoy

Basic Literacy Student

For years, Linda had difficulty because of  poor reading skills, which limited her ability to help her children with school work and get ahead at her job. Ultimately, Linda was inspired by a friend who shared his literacy and life advances since working with Literacy Volunteers. Today, Linda is an inspiration. She improved her reading skills several grade levels, has received promotions at work, helps her children with homework, reads for pleasure, and speaks on behalf of Literacy Volunteers about her positive experience.

Yoselyn

English Language Student

Yoselyn, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, arrived in Maine knowing very little English. After working with her tutor. Yoselyn’s enthusiastic personality shines as she describes all the things she’s learned and the independence she has gained through improved language and reading skills. “Before, I had to have my husband make all my appointments. I didn’t feel comfortable talking on the phone,” she says. Today, she navigates her own and her children’s medical, school, and business communications gracefully in person and over the phone. She got a job and became a U.S. citizen.

Nicole Hustus

Basic Literacy Student

For years, Nicole Hustus hid the fact that she never finished high school. A dedicated wife and mother of three, Nicole volunteered in her children’s school, church, and community. Still, she had unfinished business to do but was scared of failure.

Eventually, she gathered the courage and asked for a tutor. After working with a tutor who helped her study for the high school equivalency test, Nichole became a high school graduate and achieved a long-time goal.

Click here for an audio interview to hear Nicole and her tutor Deb describe what Literacy Volunteers of Bangor means to them.

Hoang Lam

English Language Student

In 2004, 19-year-old Vietnamese immigrant Hoang Lam came to our office with his English-speaking uncle so that he could apply for an English tutor. At that time, he understood very little English. “My English was horrible…It was like a nightmare for me,” remembers Hoang.

After hundreds of hours and lessons with his tutors, Hoang is now living the American dream. Hoang received his Associates degree from Eastern Maine Community College in Electrical Engineering Technology and then a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Maine. He works as an engineer in Maine, is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and lives with his wife and daughter.

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