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Literacy Connection celebrates at annual Tutor/Learner Recognition

Updated: July 22, 2013 4:32PM

ELGIN — Jennifer Bornekomosa celebrated more than 250 hours of tutoring during 2012-13 at The Literacy Connection’s Annual Tutor/Learner Recognition held recently at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin.

Bornekomosa averaged nearly five hours per week of regular meetings with her adult learner, Bertha, who also was recognized for exceptional attendance. Bornekomosa began tutoring Bertha in December 2006. She has logged more than 800 hours of service since then.

More than 100 other tutors and their learners gathered at the annual event to celebrate their outstanding efforts during the past year, according to a release from the Literacy Connection.

Certificates were awarded to tutors and learners who committed to more than 50, 75, or 100 hours of service or attendance.

Albert Guevara was recognized for more than 500 hours of service for multiple learners he tutors. Guevara is a 2012 Elgin Image Award winner, recently accepting the award for Individual Volunteer in the citizenship category from the city of Elgin.

Other special recognitions included five- and 10-year tutor service awards; administrative and testing volunteers were acknowledged and thanked for their commitment and assistance to the agency; and Shirley Appler received the Staff Appreciation Award for her service as tutor trainer.

Mi Hu was recognized for nearly nine years of board service; and a special dedication was held for former board member Marilyn Morel, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Jenni Engstrom and Andrew Bogott from Plante Moran in Elgin accepted the Corporate Engagement Award for the company’s commitment to literacy over the past nine months. Plante Moran adopted The Literacy Connection as its PM Cares initiative for 2012-13. It has provided support and funds for a variety of agency projects including in-kind printing, donating gift baskets for the annual Trivia Bee, and providing homework supply kits to families.

The organization also elected officers and board members for 2013-14. Chris Awe, financial administrator at First Congregational Church of Dundee, was elected for another one-year term as board president. Deb Giardina, Elgin Mental Health Center, was re-elected and will serve another term as vice president. Gary Christenson, professor emeritus at Elgin Community College, was elected secretary; and Gertrude Zaja, senior consultant with CGI, was re-elected as treasurer.

Elected to three-year terms as board members were Vikki Giacalone, Big Kaiser Precision Tooling; Deborah Giardina (re-election), Elgin Mental Health Center; Cheri Moore, Sherman Hospital; Marcia Munn, retired insurance and reinsurance professional; and Susan Van Weelden, retired dean and director at Elgin Community College and McHenry County College.

Additional tutors are in great demand at this time as the agency has approximately 194 adults waiting for help. New tutor training begins in August. To learn more, visit, email, or call 847-742-6565.

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