Volunteers in Teaching Adults (VITA)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the VITA philosophy?
A VITA tutor makes a difference. Tutors enhance learners’ confidence in themselves as their knowledge and skills increase. Tutors enable the professional teachers to be more productive and creative in responding to the special needs and goals of adult learners. VITA means life. VITA gives life to learners, volunteer tutors and the community.
What is the VITA program?
We offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adult non-native speakers of English who need to acquire listening, speaking, reading and writing skills necessary to function in their new American culture. We also offer a Learn to Read to Learn (LTRTL) literacy program for adult native speakers and ESL adults who need to improve their reading and writing skills in pursuit of specific life goals.
VITA tutors work with the teachers in both the ESL and LTRTL programs. VITA tutors respond in an individualized way to the educational and personal needs of these adults.
Who are the learners?
Our learners are adults ranging in age from 16 to 75. Both American-born and English as a Second Language (ESL) adults need help learning to read and write. Other ESL adults also need to learn to understand and speak English. They are all enthusiastic learners!
When and where are tutors needed?
Tutors can volunteer weekdays, evenings or Saturdays. Classes are held at Oakton’s Skokie campus, various schools and businesses, public libraries, churches and synagogues, a YMCA and a shopping mall. Tutors volunteer two to six hours per week each term.
What are the qualifications?
Ability to read and write English
Empathy for others
Warmth and enthusiasm
Acceptance of cultural differences
Sense of humor
Willingness to learn
Willingness to listen
Knowledge of a foreign language is NOT necessary.
“I appreciate from my heart every VITA teacher who donates precious time to us, listens to our inadequate English patiently and gives us proper advice.” —Japanese student
“My tutor has renewed my trust in my fellow human beings. There is still sharing and kindness in the world.” —Israeli student
“The VITA tutors teach us English with love and devotion.” —Italian student
“Tutoring is a win-win situation. Because I help others learn and grow, I also learn and grow and feel terrific in the process.”
“If I can make a small difference in the lives of a few people by helping them to read, that is my reward.”
“Though the expression is trite, I truly believe that I get far more than I give.”
- Contact the office.
Call 847.635.1426 or
E-mail Elizabeth Tharp or
Visit the office (Room B111, Skokie campus)
- Attend the (four) required training workshops at the Ray Hartstein Campus.
Saturday, May 11, 1 - 4 p.m.
Tuesday, June 18, 6:15 – 10 p.m.
Thursday, June 20, 6:15 – 10 p.m.
Wednesday, July 10, 6:15 – 9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 24, 6:15 - 9:30 p.m.
Spring registration is ongoing.
Explore the links under "Find Classes". You're sure to find something of interest.
Online Flexible Registration System
Register using our online "Flexible Registration" system; with its shopping cart functionality. The online registration system serves as a convenient and seamless method for searching, registering, and paying for classes. Visit our How to Register page today and find out more about our flexible registration system.