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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 10:57 am | A Few Clouds 53º


Marie Foley Still Teaching in Retirement as Partners in Education Volunteer

Retired SBCC professor bonds with Adams School second-graders, and looks for promotion to third grade in the fall

(Santa Barbara Partners in Education video)

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Cottage Health System, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Even retirement can’t keep former teacher Marie Foley out of the classroom. The emeritus professor of English at Santa Barbara City College is a volunteer tutor through Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

A nonprofit organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Partners in Education meets school and community needs through volunteers who have skills and interests relevant to those needs.

Partners in Education volunteer tutor Marie Foley is gratified to see her students develop self-confidence and curiosity. “I think of my role as helping to foster those qualities, not just reinforcing their skills,” she says. (Santa Barbara Partners in Education photo)

Foley liked that she was able to specify on Partners in Education’s online volunteer sign-up form what grade level she would like to volunteer with, the time of day she was available, and the number of hours she could commit. From there, volunteer managers would work to match her preferences with a school or nonprofit request in the community.

“I had tutored adults with literacy volunteers and in Adult Ed Basic Skills for many years, and decided it would be fun to change to elementary students,” Foley said.

“I’ve tutored in my grandchildren’s classes and have always found it stimulating. I chose second grade because I knew the focus would be on language arts.”

Once she was connected with a classroom, Foley began tutoring two hours a week over the course of the past school year. Since she began volunteering in September 2012, Foley has given nearly 70 hours of service in a classroom.

She has enjoyed her time working with the younger children.

“I love learning about the students’ lives,” she said.

“I especially remember the day one little boy, whom I had thought was so shy, revealed that he was taking rodeo lessons, had his own pony and was saving up to buy a horse,” she recalled. “A 7-year-old!”

Jackie Lapkin’s second-grade class at Adams School was assigned to Foley.

“I am so grateful to have Partners in Education volunteers in my class,” she said.

“We have so little funding for assistance in our classes, and I really look forward to Thursdays when Marie Foley can come and help.”

Thinking of those who have inspired her as an educator and volunteer Foley noted, “I was probably most influenced by several college professors who showed me, finally, how to read literature deeply, to think critically and to write intelligently. Those were the qualities I tried to promote in my students at SBCC and the qualities I try to instill through my volunteer work.”

“I was really touched by how invested Marie became in the learning of the second-graders she worked with,” said Ashley Cortez, the Partners in Education volunteer manager and AmeriCorps member who coordinated Foley’s involvement.

“As the school year came to a close, she mentioned perhaps wanting to be assigned to the third-grade class next year, so she could continue helping the children she had gotten to know,” Cortez added. “Either way, she plans to come back as a volunteer tutor again next year. Her dedication is inspiring.”

When asked what she enjoys most about working as a Partners in Education volunteer, Foley was ready with a reply.

“It’s been delightful to watch the students develop self-confidence and curiosity,” she said. “I think of my role as helping to foster those qualities, not just reinforcing their skills.”

                                                                  •        •        •

Santa Barbara Partners in Education is a nonprofit 501(c)3 administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Partners programs include a Volunteer Recruitment program serving K-12 public schools and nonprofit organizations; a Paid Job Readiness Training & Internship program for deserving high school students; and Computers for Families, a program working to close the digital divide.

» Click here to volunteer with Partners in Education, or call 805.964.4710 x4401.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook. Follow Partners in Education on Twitter: @sbpartnersined.

» For other inquiries, contact internship program and communications coordinator Chelsea Duffy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

— Jenae Jeppesen works with Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

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