INA — — Yaro Hospodarsky of Ina won a 2012 Spotlight Literacy Award, given by the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White. Hospodarsky, one of 20 winners in the state, began tutoring in 1994 in Ohio. He has been tutoring students enrolled in the Adult Literacy program at Rend Lake College since he moved to Ina in 2002. He said he was not expecting the nomination for the Spotlight Literacy Award, nor did he expect to win anything for his work as a tutor. “I was proud, but I was also sort of embarrassed,” Hospodarsky said. “There are thousands of tutors out there who have to be better tutors than I am. It’s just what I do. I never worked for an award.” He said he understands what it is like to go back to school later in life. “I think it’s just a super program,” Hospodarsky said. “These people fall through the cracks, and there are not too many [educational] groups that understand them.” Hospodarsky had to take classes to become certified as a tutor, he said. He said the classes teach tutors the “dos and don’ts” of tutoring and how to deal with the privacy issues associated with being a tutor for adults. “We are not dealing with children, but with people who had a life and managed to make it in the world, and for some reason could not get their degree and decided they could not live without it now,” Hospodarsky said. “It’s been rewarding.” Ali Whittington, literacy specialist for the Adult Volunteer Literacy Program at Rend Lake College, is the person who nominated Hospodarsky for the award. She has been working with the program since November and said when the time for the annual nominations came up, she thought of Hospodarsky. “He is one of the tutors that stood out in my mind,” Whittington said. “He is just a very giving and humble person and I felt like he needed to be recognized for all the hard work he does for the program.” Whittington said Hospodarsky makes learning math fun for the students and encourages the students to want to learn. “I really feel like he is going to make a difference,” Whittington said.
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