Blog

08 Jan 2014

Mona Can't Imagine a World Without Books

Growing up on a farm with no access to a library meant there weren’t a lot of books available in her home. “My mom was an avid reader and I guess my sister and I inherited that.  We were so desperate to read that we read anything we got our hands on, even the encyclopaedias.”

Mona Chappell has been a volunteer tutor with READ Saskatoon since 2000. Her hunger to devour words was the driving force behind her involvement. The written word had always been such an incredible part of her life, and she wanted to share this gift with others.

Mona worked as an editor, writer and administrator at the University of Saskatchewan. Through her involvement in a variety of publications and with the alumni association for the College of medicine, reading and writing were paramount in her life. A life that, since she retired 13 years ago, she looks back fondly on.

“Gosh that was fun!” she muses as she thinks about her experience, “I think I was so very lucky to do something I loved.”

Her desire to work in a world of words was not yet over. She reached out to READ Saskatoon after retiring, and since becoming involved has worked with six different adult learners, all of whom came to the table with different learning needs. She has been inspired by each of the individuals with whom she has worked with.

“Every single one of the people I’ve worked with has inspired me. Each one has heart-wrenching stories. To listen to those stories and to recognize the incredible challenges they’ve taken on, and the decision that they will do anything to make their lives better… that gives me tremendous hope!”

Mona is honoured to be part of such a dedicated team of people. From the staff members, to other volunteers, to the learners themselves, Mona is endlessly impressed by those she works with and their quest to make a difference.

“The people at READ Saskatoon are really dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives. The learners who have come to realize that reading is important and opens the doors to improving their lives. The match of learner and tutor opens the gift of one-on-one learning, and the ability to be flexible and grow together.”

Mona sees the growth and improvement as a two-way street. “A little bit of my time is easy to contribute. A small donation of my time may help someone access the printed page and I benefit at the same time. My learners have all been very appreciative of what we’ve done together. A little makes such a huge difference!”

Mona’s world has opened up since becoming a tutor. As once she couldn’t imagine a world without books, she now can’t imagine not being involved as a tutor with READ Saskatoon. She encourages others to do the same.

“Education is the door to improvement and opportunity. To think I might be making a difference in someone’s life, opening up a world for them and their families is a thrill. And my world has opened up, too.”

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