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Recalling some forgotten volunteers in westfield's history - Led Flashlight Keychains by fdhjkl rfghjtkl





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Recalling some forgotten volunteers in westfield's history - Led Flashlight Keychains by
Article Posted: 08/16/2012
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Recalling some forgotten volunteers in westfield's history - Led Flashlight Keychains


 
Business,Business News,Business Opportunities
Sometimes it seems like the universe is directing attention andfocus on an unanticipated historic topic. Such was and is the caseregarding volunteerism in Westfield. As many readers of BeeLinesmay know, Marybelle Beigh - the Westfield Historian - is also theproprietor of Parkview Caf, Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor. Forreasons of "too much on her plate" and health issues, Beigh hasbeen seeking other options for continuing the operation ofParkview. A friend pointed to a possible solution, directing Beighto 21 East Caf and Used Bookstore in Dunkirk, which is run solelyby volunteers to help support Literacy Volunteers of ChautauquaCounty.

The LVCC volunteers assist either in the bookstore or thecaf as well as providing tutoring in literacy and English as aSecond Language for which they have received specific training. A fascinating and informative visit to 21 East inspired Beigh tolearn more about volunteer literacy tutoring. In the meantime,while researching an entirely different topic in the March 5, 1969Westfield Republican, an article - "Literacy Volunteers Train 13New Teachers" - caught Beigh's attention, especially since itreferred to the Literacy Volunteers of Westfield in the leadsentence. Further research was undertaken to determine the startingdate for this volunteer group, as well as the names of itsorganizers. Research was rewarded with a delightful surprise.

In the Jan. 10,1968 Westfield Republican was found an article headlined "LiteracyTraining Volunteers Sought" and bylined by Mrs. Ralph Wilson. Beighwondered aloud, "Is this really the Mrs. Ralph Wilson, or JanWilson, whom I know from my very first official BeeLines articleabout the little private 'museum' at the former Wilson Auto Partsbusiness on South Portage?" Reading through the article providedthe answer - yes.

In a follow-up phone call to the Wilsons, Jan Wilson provided aninteresting brief history about the Literacy Volunteers ofWestfield. Mrs. Ralph Wilson and Mrs. Gunnard Carlson - LindaCarlson Dunn's mother - had been the enthusiastic leaders instarting the local volunteer group. They received their trainingfrom Literacy Volunteers, Inc., "an independent, non-profitorganization with headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y.

Its purpose is toteach basic reading and writing to adults and teenagers who canread and write very little or not at all." According to Jan Wilson, the program was quite successful for a fewyears, not only doing the literacy tutoring, but trainingadditional tutors for the one-on-one teaching situations. Anothersurprise was that the Literacy Volunteers of Westfield provided thefirst training seminar for the Dunkirk-Fredonia group thatcontinues as LVCC at 21 East in Dunkirk today. With the passing of Mrs. Gunnard Carlson, and the decision of JanWilson to go on for her full teaching credentials, the LiteracyVolunteers of Westfield was turned over to another director.Perhaps without the enthusiasm of the original directors, orperhaps because there were fewer and fewer local folks who requiredliteracy tutoring, the Westfield organization folded. At a meeting with the current director of LVCC at 21 East, AmandaWalden, Beigh shared the above discovered history, and Waldendescribed the current situation of funding and other issues, suchas the possibility of Parkview becoming a "satellite" for LVCC.Although this particular volunteer organization may not be anoption at present for Parkview, there are likely many othervolunteer service organizations that could possibly utilize thespace and benefit from the proceeds of a small caf, soda fountain,bakery and gift shop.

And the universe is continuing to provide more options. The April 12, 2012 issue of The Westfield Republican had anexcellent article - "Volunteer group in Mayville offers weeklyvisits to lonely senior citizens" by Scott Shelters - pointing outthat, "It's a huge need" for more volunteer visitation programs forseniors. The Office for the Aging sent out flyers suggesting becominginvolved by donating time and talents and announced a free luncheonto learn about opportunities to assist older adults in ourcommunities. Another recent article in the Republican called for volunteers tobe hosts at the Westfield-Barcelona Chamber of Commerce Visitors'Booth.

RSVP is a volunteer organization of seniors who have been hosts atthe Visitors' Booth, but do many other volunteer activities in thearea. Anyone with ideas, time, and energy for making a volunteer serviceorganization visible on Main Street of Westfield should considerthe possibility of a community center, and contact the WestfieldHistorian. Remember, in the late 1960s and early 1970s there reallywas a Community Center at 3 East Main Street, where the office ofthe Westfield Historian is now located in Parkview Caf, SodaFountain, Bakery, and Gift Shop. The possibilities are seeminglyendless.

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