• For more information on becoming a tutor with Literacy Forsyth, call Lorraine Stewart at (770) 876-2011.
• To learn more about Lanier Tech's Adult Education Center program, call Elaine Glenn at (770) 781-6987 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's been several years since Cathy Lindsey set foot in an American history or civics class, but she recently spent more than three months brushing up on the United States.
Lindsey wasn't studying for herself. Rather, she was helping a student enrolled in Lanier Technical College's Adult Education Center get ready for the U.S. citizenship exam.
Lindsey said she and her student, who she declined to name, would meet one night a week at the Forsyth County Public Library's Sharon Forks branch.
There, they would spend about two hours reviewing everything from American Indian history and the Pilgrims' arrival to the size and makeup of Congress.
"We would read history books together, review flash cards, I'd find stories about the Pilgrims or American Indians, just try to give her in-depth knowledge so she would be completely prepared [for the naturalization test]," Lindsey said.
Her student passed the exam last week. Lindsey plans to attend the swearing-in ceremony after the student returns from a two-month trip to her native Brazil.
Lindsey is one of about 15 volunteers who tutor students through Literacy Forsyth, a nonprofit group that supports Lanier Technical College's Adult Education Center.
The center at Lanier Tech's Forsyth campus provides free literacy and General Education Development diploma classes, as well as English classes to non-native speakers.
Instructors also work with Lanier Tech's 096 and Georgia Work Ready programs.
The 096 program offers extra help to students who have a high school diploma but aren't quite ready for the demands of the typical classroom. In the Georgia Work Ready program, companies send job seekers for additional training.
Literacy Forsyth began its tutoring program in January as a way to provide assistance to students who need one-on-one help.
For Lindsey, it made perfect sense to become a tutor.
"I decided I wanted to do something to help people help themselves," she said.
The center's programs are free, allowing anyone with the desire to improve his education to participate.
"It really makes a difference to their lives and their families," said one of the center's instructors, Eileen Leone. "Everyone gets something out [of coming].
"Even if the student doesn't actually graduate [with a GED], they really get something out of it. Even improving their literacy or educational levels a little bit gives them a new confidence."
For student Marissa Machado, joining the program was about improving her future.
"I wanted to go into the program to fulfill my goals and complete [my GED] in order to get a better job," she said. "I'm still working on it."
And when students need to work outside the classroom to get additional help, tutors like Lindsey are ready to step up.
"They'll take time to do whatever needs to be done to get that student up the level they need to be in class," said Lorraine Stewart, director of Literacy Forsyth. "Tutors work [with students] at night, on the weekends, whenever.
"They'll meet any place except a private residence. They meet at restaurants, the library, wherever."
During a ceremony Nov. 21, Literacy Forsyth honored its tutors, each of whom received a plaque for a yearlong commitment to the program.
Lindsey said she's ready to sign up for her second stint.
"I absolutely think it's a great positive experience for both the tutor and student," she said. "I'm anxious to get involved with my next student."