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Jewish Federation of Madison grant promotes social justice through volunteer recruitment

The Jewish Federation of Madison has awarded a $10,000 grant to Literacy Network and Jewish Social Services for a collaborative volunteer recruitment initiative. 

The grant promotes social justice by providing volunteer tutoring opportunities to members of the Jewish community. Each year, volunteers help hundreds of Dane County adults with low incomes improve their reading, writing and English language skills. Ninety-five percent of Literacy Network’s adult learners are people of color and come from more than 60 different countries. This provides an opportunity for volunteers to vastly expand their understanding of the world while making a tangible difference in their learners’ lives.  

“Now I have a job as a baker. I take care of my children and in my free time I study English to be able to talk with people to help my children with homework. In the future, I would like to have a great bakery since it is what I like the most,” says Literacy Network student Genoveva, who left school in the sixth grade to go to work to help her family.

Tutor David Seligman writes, “Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to tutor several different students from Mexico and Honduras. I was the first Jewish person that they had an opportunity to chat with and explore some of our religious observances. The exchange was not one way. These learners were equally enthused to share their Catholic backgrounds and rituals. There was no question that these exchanges did much to broaden each other’s understanding and trust in each other. ” 

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