It’s National Volunteer Week 2016, and we want to celebrate the important role of volunteers at Queens Library!
All this week, we will share stories of our volunteers on our blog. Thank you to them, and to every Queens Library volunteer, for their service!
Mark Mehler was a journalist for 31 years, but after 9/11, he decided to take a different path in life. In May 2011, Mark signed up with ReServe, an nonprofit that matches senior professionals with organizations that need their expertise. Through ReServe, Mark was hired as a part-time student counselor and literacy tutor at the Central Library Adult Learning Center (Central ALC).
From 2011 to 2013, Mark taught a writing group at Central ALC that produced student authors who were featured in New York University’s Literacy Review, an annual journal of writing from adult literacy programs throughout New York City. In August 2013, Mark returned to full-time work, but came back to Central ALC two years later as a volunteer. Now, he tutors an Intermediate ESOL writing group in his spare time.
“Mark has been one of our hardest-working tutors,” says Arshia Hossain, Literacy Specialist at Central ALC. “His classes focus on helping students tell their personal stories. Two of his students were selected for inclusion in NYU’s Literacy Review this year; this is the third time that students taught by Mark have received this honor. Mark is very dedicated and involved, and keeps our staff informed about his group on a regular basis.”
Mark loves working with his students. He has them write every week, whether it’s an essay or a letter, and when his group meets again they critique their writing together. Mark wants to develop his students’ writing skills using their imagination, creativity, and analytical skills, and encourages them to submit their writing to literary competitions at NYU. A journalist at heart, Mark is currently working on a nonfiction book, but nothing gives him more joy than when one of his students wins accolades for their writing.
Our thanks to Mark for expanding the creative world of his students!