Anny Whetzel, a Cranston resident, was recently named a Rhode Island Community Hero by Cox Communications in honor of her volunteer efforts. Whetzel is a production support tech at Cox, where she has worked for more than 13 years. During the past year, she has spent her Saturday afternoons at Knight Memorial Library, a branch of the Providence Community Library, teaching adults English as a Second Language. In recognition of Whetzel’s efforts, Cox will award the library a $3,000 Cox Charities Grant to further support its work in the community.
PBN: Why did you decide to volunteer as an ESL teacher?
WHETZEL: I became a weekly visitor of the Knight Memorial Library in 1994 to pass my love of reading on to my children. My family and I would visit the library almost every Saturday to pick up books for the week. I would always read the library newsletter, and one day, I read an article about a new ESL program that was looking for volunteers. I thought to myself, what better way was there to give back to the place that provided a wealth of knowledge, entertainment and love of reading to my family than to be an ESL teacher here?
PBN: Can you tell us a little bit about what a typical Saturday teaching session entails?
WHETZEL: I usually work with three to four other volunteers. The students are divided into groups based on their level of proficiency of the English language. I focus on pronunciation, learning new words and sentence structure. I also encourage the students to play a word-association game. My job is to begin a conversation with my students and they have to keep the discussion going in English.
PBN: What do you find rewarding about volunteering?
WHETZEL: Knowing that I helped someone in my community become more independent is a great feeling. Not only have I helped them develop a tool to become more self-sufficient, but they are now able to communicate with their neighbors, local city offices and their children’s teachers. It is truly rewarding when the students return week after week and I get to witness the effort and progress each one of them has made. •
Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.