Pat Lafrenière was the Yamaska Literacy Council (YLC) volunteer tutor with whom every student loved to work. At one point Pat was working with four students, and she was adored by all of them. Pat would come into the office, and it didn’t matter what was going, or what it was like outside, she came through the door… beaming, smiling, positive, and always willing to help out. Pat was a ray of sunshine.
In memory and honour of Pat, the YLC Board inaugurated the Pat Lafrenière Award to celebrate volunteers. The design of the pin depicts an Open Book to represent “literacy”: the V-shape to represent “volunteers”… the sun reminds us of Pat.
Martha Shufelt joined YLC (formed in 1981 and initially called the Townshippers’ Reading Council) as a volunteer literacy tutor around 1982. Since then, she has tutored more than 20 students, including several inmates at the Cowansville Institution, a Korean woman whose husband was transferred to work in Bromont, and several older youth who needed a step-up in life. Currently, she works with Ernest on the sequel to “My Girls”, stories about life on the farm.
In addition to being a literacy tutor, Martha has served the literacy community in numerous ways:
- She is a volunteer Literacy Trainer and trains new literacy tutors for YLC. She has traveled extensively around Quebec and Canada giving workshops to tutors in communities that don’t have their own training resources.
- The first YLC volunteer to tutor in the Cowansville Institution in 2000, Martha has also trained inmates how to be literacy tutors.
- She was instrumental in setting up a Peer Youth Tutor Club in the local high school, training students to help tutor their peers (several times!).
- Martha has served on the Board of Directors for YLC in most capacities over the years; a valuable member of the Board with experience in many areas, most notably literacy training.
- Volunteering in many ways to increase public awareness of the literacy issues in our communities, Martha has marched in parades and staffed countless YLC booths at community fairs and events.
- She was a driving force in the development of the provincial umbrella organization now known as Literacy Quebec, at times representing YLC, and serving on the Executive as Treasurer for many years.
- Martha served on the National Board of Directors for Laubach Literacy of Canada, was active as Provincial Training Officer and was instrumental in program development (family literacy, training standards) across Canada.
Congratulations Martha, on a well-deserved honour!