Shirley Warren began volunteering for Volunteer English Program of Chester County (VEP) after seeing a notice at her church asking for volunteers.
VEP is a free, independent tutoring program for adults who come to Chester County from other countries. VEP provides one-on-one tutoring to teach English, promote cultural understanding and support community participation. For over 20 years, dedicated volunteer tutors have helped new residents improve their English skills, find employment, get a driver’s license and attain U.S. citizenship. In 2007, 187 tutors gave over 13,000 hours of their time to teach and mentor 212 adult students from more than 40 different countries.
When Shirley joined the organization as a tutor, over four years ago, she was matched with a student from Mexico. “Working with my student twice a week and over a period of months, I quickly saw the impact I was making on her life and that of her family”, she said, “Seeing the difference these changes had on her life made me more passionate about the program and I became more and more involved with the organization.”
After two years of tutoring, Shirley was asked to serve on VEP Board of Directors. “VEP was looking for fresh blood and professionals from the corporate world. I was interviewed by the board and nominated as one of three new board members in 2005,” says Shirley, “For the first three months after joining the board, I spent time learning more about the organization and what my duties as a board member entail.”
Shirley is currently the Chairperson for the Fundraising Committee and is responsible for formulating a plan to double VEP’s annual budget over a two-year period. The key to this plan is increasing our fundraising efforts. She successfully planned VEP’s first fundraising event, which was held on June 6, 2007 at Longwood Gardens in Kenneth Square PA. She is currently working on the fall 2007 fundraising letter. Shirley also plans to introduce technology planning in order to maximize VEP’s existing technology plan for future growth. Shirley states “I see it as a tremendous opportunity for VEP to benefit from a professional-caliber technology plan and to increase the efficiency of our fundraising—at no cost to the organization.”
She has not limited her volunteer work only to VEP, but also participated in technology mentoring camps for girls and Days of Caring programs throughout her career with IBM.