Literacy Volunteers trains adults in the community to work with other adults who don’t speak English or cannot read. And the partnership usually takes place over the course of a year or two years. We found that we couldn’t meet nearly the number of people who wanted tutors. When I first came on the job, there were maybe 50 people on the waiting list. Today we have over 300 people waiting for tutors, so we’ve offered classes to, sort of, “keep people in the loop” while they’re waiting for a tutor. We’re finding that the Albanian population and the…[pauses] we’re seeing a lot of Somalis and folks from Nepal and Ghana and Liberia, so there’s, I would say Africa is an area that many people come from. The majority of them have some [English], but not enough really to survive in the community. So therefore they stay in their own little group so that they can support each other and not have to speak outside their group.
Laurie Tigan (née D’Amico) was born in Barrington, Rhode Island in 1951 and attended Barrington High School. She entered Assumption College in 1970, the first year that women were accepted and graduated in 1973 with a degree in History. After college, Laurie moved to Newport, RI where she worked as a teacher for 32 years, also volunteering in many after-school programs. After marrying her husband, Dr. Mark Tigan, they both moved to Worcester when he accepted a teaching job at Clark University. Laurie then became the director for the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester, an organization that helps adults in the community who cannot speak or read English. Laurie is an avid beachgoer and reader, who considers her years at Assumption as her most memorable. In this interview, Laurie talks about her years in Rhode Island and how they eventually shaped her into the woman she has become. She openly expounds on her religious and political views, while admitting that contentment is the ultimate goal in life. In addition, Laurie speaks of her views on Worcester and what improvements she would like to see in the city.