CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — At 88 years old, most people are likely settling down in life—but not everyone. That includes people like Jody Morse. She spends her time volunteering with the Literacy Volunteers of Harrison County (LVHC).
“I work primarily with adults who do not speak English,” Morse said. “So, I have a Syrian gentleman, a lady from Morocco, and a lady from the Ukraine, and we use a dictionary, which comes in either French, Arabic, Russian, or Spanish, and it’s a picture dictionary, and it’s our best tool.”
Morse doesn’t speak any other languages beyond a small amount of French, so students are learning English from her by being immersed.
Morse started this journey around 15 years ago, first starting on the non-profit’s board, then moving to volunteer work after realizing it wasn’t so difficult.
“When you speak Arabic, or you speak Russian, they don’t even know our language and our alphabet. So, they don’t know what an ‘A’ looks like. I finally said, ‘I can do that’. It’s like a cookbook. You follow the rules and you do what it says, and you can do it,” Morse said.
While Morse works with adults, the LVHC works with mostly kids to help their skills in school.
“We work with children who missed out because of COVID,” Morse said. “They just missed that connection with their peers as well as the teacher in class. And, at home, watching it there, is not always going to be the best thing.”
Morse said her students are learning new things at every session, including her Syrian student who has lived in the area for 20 years.
“He’s learning to say a whole sentence, because when he knew he didn’t know it, he would drop his voice. But I said ‘no no, you’re not telling me the whole thing’, so we’d go back. So yes, their grammar is improving,” Morse said.
While the students are learning, they love their tutor.
“When they leave class and come up and hug me and say ‘I love you Miss Jody’, that’s everything. That’s everything. I know that they are improving. They tell me they love me,” Morse said.
For her work helping people learn English as a second language, the Miley Legal Group donated $500 to the Literacy Volunteers of Harrison County in Morse’s honor.
“I don’t do it for the pay, but it sure is nice that my efforts will show and help this organization which I love,” she added.
If you have a volunteer you would like to nominate for our Celebrating Volunteers series, you can fill out this form or email HBenda@wboy.com with the volunteer’s name and contact information.