Patricia Fitzgerald

National Volunteer Week 2016 was technically last week, but you loved our Volunteer Spotlight profiles so much, we wanted to share a bonus one with you!

Besides, we love celebrating the important role of volunteers at Queens Library whenever we can!

Thank you again to every Queens Library volunteer for their service!

Patricia Fitzgerald first began her volunteer work as an Adult Basic Education (ABE) tutor at the Peninsula Adult Learning Center (Peninsula ALC) in 2000. She had to stop volunteering for some time due to personal reasons, but was so determined to help her students that she returned to Peninsula ALC in October 2015.

“Patricia is one of our most dedicated tutors; she is very committed to her ABE students,” says Ebru Mestizo Yenal, Assistant Manager of Peninsula ALC. “Pat, as she is fondly called at the center, has come to view the students, and indeed the ALC, as an extended family of sorts. She often works hours earlier than her agreed-upon schedule, because there are students who she thinks need additional attention. When Pat realizes that those students still require more time, she will add another day to her schedule in an effort to assist them better. She buys teaching materials like flash cards and workbooks for all of her students according to their needs. She also makes it a point to talk to every one of her students to find any possible obstacles to their learning, and she will go out of her way to resolve them!”

Pat currently has seven students who are from different cultures and range from beginning to advanced level speakers of English. Her students have many different goals: to get their High School Equivalency diploma, to become a citizen, to get a job. Pat’s main objective is to ensure that all her students achieve those goals.

“In a very short time, all her students’ literacy proficiency levels have improved tremendously,” says Ebru Yenal. “When you consider how challenging it is to move the proficiency levels of basic literacy students, all of Pat’s hard work has paid off.”

“This is more fun than I’ve had in 20 years,” says Pat about teaching her students. “In life, you rarely come across the level of courage that these students demonstrate when they walk through the door and say ‘I can’t read.’ It’s an honor to be with them and it adds value to my life every day!”

Our thanks to Pat for her determination and persistence in helping her students!