Pay it 4ward: Woman honored for running English tutoring program

[anvplayer video=”5014170″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — English is not the first language for many people across New Mexico. That’s why a city program is putting tutors in schools to help people break through the language barrier.

Elizabeth Burki is a tutor for the Oasis Reading Program.

"It’s wonderful when you can figure out the key in a little one’s brain to figure out how to get to them, to help them to really take in a joy of reading,” Burki said.

Tutoring kids during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, but Burki said the director of the program has figured out a way to make it work. That’s why she nominated Vicki Devigne for KOB 4’s Pay it 4ward award.

"I nominated you for the Pay it Forward segment,” Burki said. “I think you’re one of the most wonderful people I have ever met—an administrator of a complex program.”

"Being nominated for paying it forward is a little overwhelming. I’m really kind of emotional right now. It’s not me I think that Elizabeth is nominating even though she kindly said those words. I think it’s my whole program. I think it’s all the volunteers that work in our program. Last year before COVID hit we had over 400 volunteers helping 615 students. COVID hit. This year we have 100 volunteers helping about 125 students, but it’s online, and so that’s a whole other learning skill,” Devigne said.

Devigne said she knows exactly what she’s going to spend her Pay it 4ward money on.

"This has been the hardest year to do that so instead of giving them to the children one-on-one, I’m literally boxing up books and delivering them to the schools and asking the schools to give them out to the students because the whole point of a reading program is to put books into kids; hands so that they can read,” she said. “So not only will this help buy more books for the kids, but it will also buy books for our library."