Iroquois Library needs volunteers to help refugees with homework - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Iroquois Library needs volunteers to help refugees with homework

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's Iroquois Library is looking for volunteers to help refugees with their homework.

Immigrant Services Librarian Sophie Maier says that includes kids from different parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

"We have children from all over the world," said Maier. "And they are so so excited about learning English, about succeeding in school -- but often there aren't parents at home who are able to give that kind of support."

That’s why the library is looking for people to work with the students on their homework so they don’t fall behind.

"You can replace the values in a problem," said volunteer Mary Rotella during her session on Tuesday.

She’s tutoring and teaching a young boy named Lameck from Tanzania. The U of L writing instructor spends a couple hours a week volunteering at Iroquois Library.

"It's really refreshing to see the young people working - especially in the situations where they want to learn and they ask for help," said Rotella.

Gwen Snow knows all about those challenges students face while learning English.

"Maybe they don't have all the language or the vocabulary," said Snow.

She's principal at ESL Newcomer Academy, a JCPS school where about two-thirds of kids are refugees.

"All our students are in grades 6-10, they're in their first or second year in the United States and they're all beginning English Learners," said Snow.

That's why she supports the volunteer program the library and encourages anyone with a love of kids to get involved.

“If you have a child at home, you can help them with their math or their reading or their spelling or things like that,” said Snow. “But if you're not familiar with the language, that might be a challenge for you, so once again, having the homework help here is huge."

When they’re learning and it all finally clicks, Rotella says that’s what it’s all about.

"Watching the kid have the light bulb go on while they're doing their work and they get so excited when they got something that's all it's worth you know?  That's why I do it," said Rotella.

Volunteers are needed after school from about 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. typically Monday through Thursday.

If you'd like to help you can call the Iroquois Library at (502)-574-1720, or email Sophie Maier at

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