06Jun 22

Kristine Flynn’s Reflections on Volunteering

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Thank you. It is a very humbling honour to be on stage accepting an award. 

I love volunteering for READ Saskatoon and have volunteered for many of their programs. But by far the most meaningful volunteer experience has been as an adult literacy coach. I’ve been paired with the same learner off and on since before the pandemic. After two years of phone meetings due to COVID, we recently started meeting in-person again and I’m not sure which of us was more excited.  

I’ve learned a lot about just how tricky English can be to learn, especially without support. We giggle a lot over the word “cho-ear” a lot. Don’t know that one? It’s choir, if you try to sound it out. Anyone who’s tried to learn English as an additional language can probably share their own stories of weird words like that! 

Through volunteering with READ, I’ve also gained an appreciation for just how much bigger literacy is than reading books. Literacy is about understanding and being understood – whether that’s making appointments or ordering medications over the phone or being comfortable filling in forms or signing important documents.  

So, thank you to the READ Saskatoon staff for all the support they provide to volunteers and learners. I’d also like to shout out the Saskatoon Public Libraries for their beautiful, functional spaces where folks like us can spend time together. And, of course, thank you to all of the sponsors and donors who fund the amazing READ Saskatoon programs I’m honoured to volunteer for, particularly Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation who support READ’s volunteers and who made this award possible. 

Kristine Flynn