Literacy Leadership Blog

News and reflections from experts and practitioners on the latest literacy research, events and daily practice

< Back

Back To School Spotlight on Two Volunteer Superstars - Do Something Good

Categories: General, Volunteerism

In April, Learning Ally team celebrated National Volunteer Appreciation Week by recognizing the amazing community that makes up our #VolunteerNation.
Now, as we jump back into the school year, we would like to personally acknowledge two volunteers who go above and beyond—even as they pursue their own education.

Arwa Ouali is a high school senior and an integral member of our volunteer community. Since joining our team in 2020, she has donated as many as 262 hours, researching school districts to support outreach, and performing quality checks on our audiobooks. “She is someone who you can always depend on,” says Maria Lelie, Learning Ally’s Program Manager of Volunteer Services. “She has a strong ability to assess community needs, learn tasks quickly, and jump right into a project.”

Newer to Learning Ally’s Volunteer Nation, Adoesha Taylor has quickly become an integral member of the community. As a college senior, Adoesha is on track to receive a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration this spring. Despite the rigorous demands of college life, she has already donated 22 hours since she joined our team last year. “Only recently joining our volunteer community, Adoesha has already made an enormous impact, serving on three high-priority projects in less than one month,” explains Lelie.

Recently, Ouali and Taylor worked together to research school districts and school principal contacts in Massachusetts. The aim of their work was to identify districts that may be eligible to receive a state grant. Grants of this kind allow U.S. schools to provide their students with additional support without ever spending a dime. Many of the students who depend on Learning Ally are able to do so as a result of government grants. However, a surprising amount of districts are unaware that these programs even exist. 

Luckily, this outstanding volunteer duo were able to curate a list of 137 eligible schools, and they did so in less than a week. Thanks to their diligent work, principals at these schools will now be made aware of this awesome opportunity. 

In another recent project, Ouali and Taylor helped to expand Learning Ally’s volunteer network. This time, they focused on the civic engagement departments at colleges and universities, nationwide. In less than one day, the two volunteer superstars scouted 170 new contacts at 86 different schools. These efforts will help connect Learning Ally with many more young volunteers, like Ouali and Taylor, who are committed to making a positive impact on struggling readers.

“Find an organization that is aligned with your beliefs and take the initiative to start,” says Ouali encouragingly. “Volunteering has proven to be rewarding for me and gives me a feeling of fulfillment”. 

Taylor shares the sentiments, “[Volunteering] can help connect you to others, advance your career, teach you new skills, and impact the lives of others”.

If these two superstars sound like you, you may be a great addition to our #VolunteerNation. 

Learning Ally is always excited to work with motivated community members who are passionate about supporting students, educators, and schools. 

To join our network and make an impact, simply fill out the Volunteer Interest Form

Sign up for the Whole Child Literacy Newsletter

Join our community and get the latest sent right to your inbox! Stay up to date on the latest news, research, and practical guidance.