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Learning Ally Volunteer Nation logo

Who We Are

The Volunteer Nation is a community of over 1,000 individuals across the world who graciously support Learning Ally’s mission. Volunteers share their talents to create human-read audiobooks and provide support in roles that help us reach the 30 million students who struggle to read. Join the Volunteer Nation in smashing the literacy divide and bring equitable education for all.

Connect with the Community!

    
volunteer quote: I volunteer for Learning Ally because I ... want to help share stories that speak to me. I've always been a reader, and books have meant a lot to me. I know how frustrating struggling to read can be and appreciate how good audiobooks can pull me into the world of a story so that I can't stop listening until I've finished the book.

 

 

 

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Interested in sharing your volunteer story or writing a blog post for us? We welcome your ideas! 

Email us: volunteer@learningally.org 

 

 

 

Volunteer Nation Blog

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“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” ~Winston Churchill


Winter Already

This has been an… unusual year in many ways. We've all faced some new challenges and, for the most part, we've found ways to overcome them and continue our mission of helping  students to reach their potential. The end of a year is always a reflective time, but we can also look forward to our plans for 2021, and beyond.

 

Year End Holidays

 

Learning Ally offices are officially closed from December 25th through January 1st in observance of winter holidays. Though you are welcome to keep working on your projects, contact from staff and other volunteers may be interrupted or infrequent. Check in with staff and other volunteers before the holiday break begins if you need to confirm schedules ahead of time. 

 

What's Next for Learning Ally?

 

We pride ourselves on the fact that we are always changing, and for the better. When Learning Ally began, we served a very specific need for a very specific audience - a niche of sorts. As we learned more about the need for accessible books, we expanded the content we offered and  communities we serve. Today doctors and educators are learning more and more about how early literacy develops. They are doing more to recognize needs and provide accommodation long before the student becomes frustrated by classroom learning. At Learning Ally, we are looking for ways that our tools and our volunteers can help children as young as pre-school age.

 

Binoculars filter the sunsetWe've used the phrase "lifelong learners" to mean those who are still learning from our books even after they have earned their degrees. I think we should reconsider that phrase. We need to recognize that a student's learning from pre-school on; through elementary, high school, college, and beyond is the real lifelong learning. When we can provide for all those stages of growth we are fulfilling our mission to provide true access to those who need it.

 

Next year you'll be hearing more about "Learning Ally Audiobook Solution 2.0," as we revise our apps and form new partnerships with organizations like Square Panda to find better ways to help. There will be new opportunities for volunteering as well. We'll still be recording our audiobooks, but as we expand programs to work with more teachers and parents we want to find volunteers who can help us with these efforts. More updates will be shared as they become available!

 

Share Your Joy

 

We hope you can enjoy the winter holidays while staying safe during these challenging times. Please join us on our volunteer Facebook page to share your plans for this year, or your memories of holidays past. Photos of cookies, gingerbread houses and outrageous sweaters are always encouraged.

 

Congratulations Training Graduates!

 

Melissa K., Colin S., Elli S., Socorro G., Barbara M., Dianne F., Janeanne R-K., Patricia M-V., Noemi A., Debra F., Sean O., Sue B., Gouri G., Katsy J., Jaclyn D., Patrick K., Julia S., Lena H., Neha N., Yannie W., Aditya U., Rhonda G., Kathleen E., Emma B., Kendra Y., Lamar J., Andrea K.


Volunteer Spotlight - David Frens

David Frens has decided to retire after being an active Narrator with Learning Ally for 13 years and logging in over 5,000 hours. In that time, he helped create science textbooks that are helping students with learning differences access grade-level content for school.

 

In 2007, he began volunteering in the Phoenix Studio and when it closed, he transitioned into volunteering remotely with the Athens Studio where our team had the opportunity to work with him.  Christine Hoffman remembers assigning projects and proofing his work. David was one of our earliest remote volunteers, more or less beta testing what would become the Virtual Studio. David always understood the importance of putting our mission first while adapting to a new way of volunteering.  Then, when we transitioned completely to virtual in 2017, he joined the Virtual Studio.

 

He was a prolific Narrator, moving through dense science textbooks, covering medicine, nursing and other science texts, in short amounts of time. David was a neurologist in his early life and he willingly shared his knowledge through narration. His tenacity and knowledge allowed us to close large projects quickly and move those recordings into the audiobook library. His reading interests ranged from biology, chemistry, philosophy, humanities, and religion/theology.

 

Besides reading for us, David reads fiction and nonfiction for Sun Sounds of Arizona, a radio reading service for visually impaired people. 

 

David has a total of 5,872 volunteer hours and over 1,173 visits to our Virtual Studio (and Phoenix Studio). He stopped reading in June 2020, and finally, he reached out to us in the Summer.  Retiring was not an easy thing for him to do, as he is an active retiree, but he let us know he has been finding new ways to volunteer in his community, so there are some lucky organizations benefiting from his generosity and knowledge!

 

We cannot thank David enough! He has been a star volunteer.  His generosity has had a profound and lasting impact on our students. His willingness to share both his time and talent says a lot about him. David’s willingness to give selflessly to help others will never be forgotten here at Learning Ally. Thank you, David!