Introducing Staff at Literacy Volunteers
The driving force of Literacy Volunteers is just that: volunteers. More than 400 local people give generously of their time and talents to ensure that students reach their goals. However, it doesn't happen by itself. We depend on this small but mighty staff to make it all happen.
Mary Marin Taylor
“No one ever makes it by themselves. We all get help from others along the way.”
Growing up in a French-speaking community in Northern Maine, she learned that her grandfather couldn’t read or speak English, despite selling insurance for MetLife. It was Mary’s mother who taught him to read. At the age of 19, Mary had her first child and was only able to complete her education and rise up from poverty because of mentors and her family’s help.
That understanding of and passion for addressing the problems of low literacy, poverty and cultural diversity brought Mary to Literacy Volunteers in 2003. Additionally, she has a master’s degree in communication, a Certification in Volunteer Administration, and is a Nationally Certified Poverty Coach.
Favorite read? Historical fiction.
Model superhero? Stretch from The Incredibles, so she can reach and gather everything and everyone.
One of Meredith Eaton’s first jobs was as a “fluffer and folder” at the old Filene’s at the Bangor Mall. She became a cosmetics consultant, and learned a lot about customer relations, which has served her well at Literacy Volunteers. With a degree in University Studies with a focus in public administration, she’s our Program Manager and has a Certification in Volunteer Administration and is a Nationally Certified Poverty Coach. Meredith has been with us since 2006, first as volunteer, then as staff since 2013.
Her greatest satisfaction? Seeing a student and tutor going beyond the lesson plan: “I love seeing the tutor going outside her or his comfort zone, and the student getting excited about learning!”
Favorite reads? Memoir and sociology.
Real-life superhero? Dorothea Dix and Carrie Fisher, who
helped us understand more about mental illness.
Sean is excited about her new job with us. The best part? “All the students’ stories,” she says. “Education is a renewed focus for them. But often they are uncertain about their ability. It must be terrifying.” But she’s here to help.
Sean knows something about challenges. Growing up in New York City, there were no models for how to be an American girl with Korean parents. She liked “I Love Lucy” because it was about the only place in popular culture that showed the “entwined, messy, and often humorous” intersections of people from different cultures.
Sean joined us in early 2019. She got here the long way. After college, she taught for several years in Korea. Then she came to Rockport, Maine, and later to Orono. She was the director of Husson University’s ESL program before joining us.
Favorite reading? Everything she can get her hands on about how adults learn, along with cookbooks and contemporary novels. She’s about to finish her master’s degree at The School for International Training’s Graduate Institute in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). She also has a master’s in English.
As a young woman, Lehann Collins worked in a bank. But it wasn’t long before she found her true calling: anything involving teaching, learning, and books. Lehann worked for years in a small New Hampshire school. She was very happy working with kids in special education classrooms from kindergarten through junior high. And she got to work in the library. “I loved putting books in the hands of non-readers,” she says.
So it’s only natural that this book lover
feels completely at home in her role which she began in September 2018. “I really, really love the
organization and what they do,” she says.
Recent reads? A rich mix: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s autobiography, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and Ardeana Hamlin’s historic Bangor novels.
Superheroes: Her mother Lorraine Groh, and Mother Teresa. Both were women of small stature who had profound faith, remarkable strength, and tremendous compassion for others.