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Volunteers! We are grateful and overwhelmed by your tremendous support over these last few months. Through your efforts, we have been able to support more students with more audiobooks than ever before. Here are some numbers to show just how unbelievable you have all been:
As we head into the summer months, we will be focusing heavily on the most important books needed for summer reading, as well as for back to school in the fall.
Also, due to the unprecedented and appreciated influx of prospective volunteers during these last few months, we will be limiting new applications starting in July. This will allow us to catch up on communications to all of our new prospects, as well as continuing to support the onboarding of those that have progressed through training into our audiobook production communities or other new volunteer roles.
Please note, we will not always have consistent and continuous work for all volunteers. Please feel free to check in with your production staff leads when you are looking for work through your usual communication channels. We will also reach out directly when we have a specific project need that we feel is a good fit for your skills and interests.
Thank you again for your amazing work supporting our audiobook solution and for your commitment to our mission to transform the lives of struggling learners.
Yunqing Han, also known as Isabella, is an inspiring and determined high school junior from Beijing, China. Yunqing currently studies at a boarding school in Virginia, plays the piano in their free time and is a volunteer for Learning Ally! Yunqing has been reading with Learning Ally for almost 2 years now.
Yunqing’s journey with Learning Ally began after realizing they had a passion for education. Before becoming a volunteer, Yunqing’s school offered a co-curriculum opportunity where Yunqing would spend 5 weeks in a professional setting. During this time, Yunqing was partnered with a special education school where they became a teaching assistant for students with severe physical and learning disabilities. After completing their time with the school, Yunqing became inspired to find more opportunities to help students. With a long browse on the internet and lots of determination, Yunqing found Learning Ally.
When asked how they balance schoolwork with volunteering and what incentivizes them to do so, Yunqing said they found time to volunteer on the weekends when the school library was less crowded and more quiet. Yunqing said they also found added benefits to volunteering, other than being able to help students with learning differences.
Reading the textbooks and literature books has allowed Yunqing to improve their English fluency, as it is not their native tongue. When COVID-19 came about, Yunqing’s classes moved online and they had less opportunity to practice English with their classmates and teachers. Reading for Learning Ally gave Yunqing the opportunity to continue practicing their English conversation skills and improve pronunciations.
In addition to growing their speaking skills, Yunqing also did some studying while volunteering. Yunging recalls: “I actually studied part of my AP European history exam with Learning Ally’s textbooks. I happened to be recording a chapter on the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires and by reading the material, I essentially reviewed what I needed to know about Islamic influences on Europe for the exam.”
When we asked Yunqing if the pandemic challenged them as a student and in volunteering, they said they were able to find a silver lining. Due to the quarantine, Yunqing moved home to Beijing. Now living at home, Yunqing records with an audience in their parents’ living room, rather than their quiet, private nook in the school library. From reading in front of their parents, Yunqing has discovered that they read with more focus, clarity, and has a much better delivery when someone is sitting right beside them listening. Yunqing suggests that all readers and narrators pretend as if there is a person listening to them read. Not only does it improve your sound, but Yunqing says “Everytime when I feel like I do not want to continue reading after the first hour or so, I imagine someone sitting right in front of me saying ‘I want to listen to one more chapter’ and then I keep reading.” Yunqing added: “ I really enjoy reading for Learning Ally, sometimes I think it helps me more than I help it.”
Check out Yunqing Han's narration of "Yen-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China".
Yunqing, you are an inspiring, young professional. From all of us in the Volunteer Nation, we want to say thank you for all you do!