Karen Zavis: Vail Valley’s Literacy Project volunteer of the month
The Literacy Project is always seeking volunteer tutors who would like to make a difference in our community. For information go to http://www.literacyprojecteaglecounty.org.
EAGLE COUNTY — The Literacy Project’s Study Friends program is about more than homework help, says Karen Zavis, the volunteer of the month.
Zavis has been a volunteer tutor with The Literacy Project’s Study Friends program for six years.
“Tutoring goes beyond the completion of school assignments,” Zavis said. “Developing good life skills, particularly in organization and time management, are critical to school success.”
The Study Friends program is designed to help middle school students improve their reading, writing, math and homework skills by pairing them with trained adult volunteer tutors.
A native of Southern California, Zavis worked first as a CPA and then as a corporate controller in Los Angeles and Newport Beach. When the savings and loan industry collapsed in the early 1990s, Zavis decided it was time for a lifestyle change.
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“I was ready to escape the crazy-busy corporate world and the Southern California traffic, smog and crowds,” Zavis said.
She headed for the Vail Valley and found ways to help her new community.
“I have always had a passion for education and believe that it is the key to a successful life for all,” Zavis said.
In addition to volunteering with the Study Friends team at The Literacy Project, Zavis has volunteered with both the Eagle County Schools’ AVID program and the Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentor program. She also served on the Eagle County Ambulance District Board of Directors for 12 years.
Key to Happiness
To date, Zavis has been paired as a Study Friend with five Eagle County Schools’ students, including the two at Berry Creek Middle School.
“The need for tutoring support in the middle schools is great,” Zavis said. “I recognize how easy it is for students to get discouraged, and it is my goal to help them overcome some of the basic obstacles to a successful middle school experience.”
Zavis said she believes that lifelong learning is one of the keys to happiness.
“Lifelong curiosity and learning make for a meaningful life. School is just one of the ways to learn,” she said.
She said she hopes to set her students up for a better chance at success.
“In today’s America, literacy is the foundation to embarking upon a meaningful life, no matter the career path,” Zavis said.