Quite a few people have told me they want to explore Alaska for several months and would like to get involved with a worthy organization. There aren’t many better gifts you can give another human being than language.
If this appeals to you, please consider the Anchorage Literacy Program (ALP). They have created an environment where everyone wants to be there, both adult students and volunteer teachers.
You don’t need a teaching certificate; ALP provides an in-house training program for new teachers.
The classes are 10-week terms for fall, winter, spring and summer. You can volunteer to teach a full class, co-teach (to give you flexibility to travel during the term), tutor, or run the front desk for a couple hours a week and meet interesting people. They key is to keep communication open so you can fulfill the commitments you make.
ALP is located across from Costco and has plenty of free parking. Most of the classrooms are upstairs, but the computer lab and one large classroom are on the ground floor.
The Alaska Literacy Program mission statement:
It is the philosophy of ALP that adults have the right to be free from the burden of illiteracy – free to function as independent, productive citizens. They are given a hand up, not a hand out, through volunteer tutoring and teaching in basic reading, writing, oral and life skills.
The students are a mix of immigrants, spouses of people on work visas (commonly from oil companies and airlines), refugees and foreign visitors. Their language skills range from pre-literate to pretty fluent. ALP also supports a citizenship class and computer lab.
The volunteer teachers are nothing like I’ve seen in other organizations. You’ll meet people with backgrounds in nursing, teaching, law enforcement, business owners, attorneys and more.
I taught for two terms at ALP, and hope to maintain an ongoing relationship for future years. The students aren’t the only ones who benefit – teachers learn just as much from them.
Have you ever tried or considered work/travel before? If so, what programs caught your eye?