In October of 1989, Hedy Martin came to Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County (LVMC) in Phoenix, Arizona to help adults learn to read. Since then she has volunteered more than 3,000 hours as a one-to-one tutor, English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher, and office assistant and has been with LVMC longer than almost any other volunteer in the organization. In essence, Martin represents the mission of Literacy Volunteers and embodies the true spirit of volunteerism, which has given many a chance for a brighter future.
Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching adults how to read, write, speak English and prepare for the GED. Each year, more than 1,800 adults come to LVMC who are disenfranchised from society because of their lack of reading skills. Martin initially started with LVMC as a Basic Reading Tutor to help these adults. She tutored 2-3 hours per week, teaching them to read, write and speak English. She then went on to help in the Matching Office, assisting students with their initial appointments, interviewing and testing the students, placing them with a one-to-one tutor and following up to verify the success of the student-tutor-match. She became the Instructional Coordinator for a Tutor Support Group, helping other tutors and servings as a link between the volunteers and the staff of the agency.
In 1997, Martin recognized the need for an English as a Second Language (ESOL) class at the main office, because of the increasing influx of immigrants who could not speak or read English. Martin started LVMC’s first large group ESOL class and has maintained it ever since. Her class has been the prototype for other ESOL classes around the metropolitan area and she has helped students from more than 25 different countries increase their English comprehension, obtain better jobs, and improve their overall economic and social condition.
Martin continues to be a tutor, ESOL teacher, Instructional Coordinator, office assistant and an agent of hope. On average, she devotes at least 15 hours per week to LVMC. Not only has she dedicated almost 12 years of service with LVMC, but she has also helped in almost every facet of the organization with a vitality and zest that cannot be measured. The work that Martin does, not only affects her students, but also, affects generations to come by helping to break the cycle of illiteracy in America.