Giving + Learning’s 2014 Annual Report

The goal of Giving + Learning is to match volunteers with English language learners in order to foster a welcoming community for newcomers to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Giving + Learning functioned successfully between 2001 and 2011, matching approximately 500 volunteers with 800 learners in that time. Through the support and release time made available by a Bush Foundation Fellowship, Kevin Brooks, Professor of English at North Dakota State University, began making matches and rebuilding the organization in January of 2014. Brooks was most successful at recruiting volunteers from NDSU (students, staff, faculty) but he was also able to recruit through the Giving + Learning website and the Impact Foundation listing.

Because the goal of G+L is to match volunteers, we keep close tabs on how we recruit, how many we recruit, and where we find both volunteers and learners.

  • 4 volunteer orientation sessions hosted, approximately two hours each: (2 at NDSU, 2 at Fargo Public Library)
  • 95 people filled out the Giving + Learning volunteer form.
  • 43 of those people worked with at least one learner.
  • 35 of those volunteers are known to have an NDSU connection
  • 5 volunteers are known to have been redirected to the Fargo Adult Literacy Center or Project English.
  • 78 learners identified by FALC, LSS, other agencies, or self-referral.
  • 46 learners served.

Brooks contributed numerous hours of in-home tutoring to support volunteers and families. He also contributed the following volunteer hours:

  • 17 weeks of tutoring (3 hours each week) at the Fargo Adult Learning Center.
  • 11 weeks of tutoring (1.5 hours each week) at the International Family Knight, Kennedy Elementary School.

Because G+L is a community building effort, the organization also contributed to cultural and educational events throughout the year.

  • Brooks offered a professional development course for teachers at the annual Building Bridges Conference, April 8 and 9, 2014.
  • He co-hosted a World Refugee Celebration on June 20th, 2014.
  • G+L had an informational table to at the annual Police Community Picnic.
  • G+L had an informational table at the annual Pangea Celebration of Community Diversity.
  • G+L expanded into South High School, matching 5 mentors and learners during the fall of 2014.
  • Brooks participated in a North Dakota Refugee Coalition Strategic Planning Meeting Nov. 25th, 2014.

Giving + Learning at its best is about relationships and stories, not numbers. When the tutor-mentor relationship transforms into a friendship, the value of that friendship is hard to measure. Two G+L mentors in 2014 were asked to support, and they continue to support, the family that lost Frederic Ndereimana in the drowning accident at South High, January 2014. Another 2014 mentor helped transport a family member to the hospital so the expecting mother could deliver her baby, and she is helping the family learn more about home ownership. NDSU students were giving their high school learners Christmas presents on the last day of working together, and one G+L volunteer drives her partner to work every Sunday because there is no bus service that day.

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