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Project Literacy honours-longest serving volunteer with touching dedication

Project Literacy Kelowna honours long serving volunteer – Apr 23, 2021

Jene Lee has devoted her life to teaching and now a room where she taught for years at Project Literacy has been dedicated to her.

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“I worked in there many years and worked with many beautiful people,” said Lee, a former volunteer.

Lee was a career teacher and after retiring she volunteered at Project Literacy, a not-for-profit organization that provides volunteer-based tutoring for 30 years. Kevin Mardell was one of her students for more than a decade.

“She was helping me improve my spelling. I had very poor spelling skills but I have much more ability to function now,” said Mardell.

Read more: Community garden planted at Kelowna street corner to help Central Okanagan families in need

Thanks to Lee’s tutoring, Mardell is a strong speller now. ‘Jean’s Room’ is one of the rooms she taught the most in.

“There is nothing like helping people that want the help and the learning you get yourself is far more than you can give,” said Lee.

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The celebration of the 94-year-old’s devotion to teaching is also a celebration of 35 years of Project Literacy.

Read more: Indigenous student graduation rate reaches five-year high in Okanagan-Similkameen school district

“Over the last 35 years we have really grown to embrace all levels of literacy,” said Paul Zuurbier, Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society executive director.

“We support immigrant families who come here with young children and we help their children learn literacy skills. We are now in elementary schools helping students in grades one to three and we are also working with adults. And we are also working with seniors helping them improve their digital literacy.”

At the downtown Kelowna office, Lee’s photo now hangs in ‘Jean’s Room’ to be a source of inspiration for years of education to come.

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