Volunteer Spotlight: Olivia Tran

Olivia Tran is a volunteer for our Women’s ESL Class. She began volunteering in the very beginning of 2020; in person and online. Today Olivia is in the spotlight.

Olivia Tran recently graduated from the College of William & Mary, Class of 2021, with a BS in Neuroscience. She says “The big long term goal is to go to med school; become a doctor. I know teaching and ESL tutoring aren’t necessarily directly related to medicine, but it’s very important to me to be exposed to all different kinds of populations, all different kinds of diverse people. It’s good to exercise an open mind, because you know when you’re a doctor you see all different patients from all different kinds of personal backgrounds, cultures, societies, religions and those things may or may not influence their medical decisions, so it’s a big deal to keep my mind as open as possible.”

“So, I think HR3 has prepared me really well for my upcoming job at the Literacy Lab. I’ve just learned so much about teaching skills and strategies, well a lot of the stuff I’ve learned during my time was specifically for ESL Literacy Lab. It will be a little bit similar where I’ll be doing reading comprehension and writing skills for very young kids.  English is not their second language per se, but it’s kinda similar. Strengthening their English skills is important for entry into the real world.

I don’t think I would’ve seen myself as a good fit for the Literacy Lab if I hadn’t started volunteering with HR3 because like I said earlier I didn’t really have any teaching experience.  Before I didn’t really consider myself to be a great teacher, but I’ve built skills I didn’t know I could do during the last year and a half. I think that anyone who is out there looking for volunteer opportunities and is looking to do good somewhere in the world can come here.”

We asked her some fun questions too:

What is your favorite color? 

“My favorite color is lavender. My grandfather’s favorite flower was the lavender, and now every time I see it or the color lavender, I think of him!”

What is your favorite food? 

“My current food obsession is raw oysters on the half shell. It’s such a refreshing summer appetizer.”

What can’t you live without? 

“I absolutely cannot live without ice cream!”

Is there a favorite memory or student you liked working with you’d like to share?

“One that stands out to me before COVID, I remember the first 2 or 3 classes I tutored there was a woman, whose name I don’t remember unfortunately, who really struggled with the absolute basics of English. She struggled with the alphabet; she was still working on that while the rest of the class was a little more advanced, like a little more conversational, so I ended up just sitting at the corner of the table with her and I helped her with basic spelling and the alphabet. That day we were studying vegetables but she was falling behind. I remember pulling out my phone and showing her images of every vegetable. She communicated to me that yes I get it or no I don’t get it. I also really really liked working that day because all the other students were so helpful to each other and that’s what I really liked about tutoring with HR3. Everyone was just a very close knit community and everyone was very willing to help each other. And that was very heartwarming.

Tutoring at HR3 has been such a great experience; it opened doors for me that I didn’t know were there, leading me to pursue and volunteer a job through Americorps in tutoring kids in English starting this August. Again, the last year or so has been so transformative and fun, and I want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity!”

Thank you, Olivia, so glad to have had you on our team!



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