2022 VIRTUAL Literacy Volunteer Management Conference


Saint Paul, MN 55114
United States

Friday, December 2 from 8:30am - 2:45pm

The Volunteer Management Conference (VMC) is a one-day professional development opportunity that brings together Adult Basic Education staff who work with volunteers: coordinators, teachers and managers alike. This year, the conference will be virtual, on Zoom.

  • Event Location: Virtual, via Zoom
  • Cost: Free for participants in Minnesota; $20 for participants outside of Minnesota
  • The deadline to register is December 1, 2022.

Get Ready To:

  • Learn new strategies and ideas through 12 concurrent session offerings.
  • Get practical resources you can use right away.
  • Be inspired by this year's award winners for Excellence in Volunteer Engagement.
  • Network and share your professional wisdom with colleagues.
  • Earn CEUs.

Questions? Contact Sophie at sphan@literacymn.org or 651-251-9063.

Literacy Minnesota is committed to providing access for people with disabilities at our trainings and events. To request accommodations, please contact Kelly at krynda@literacymn.org or 651-251-9074 at least two weeks in advance.


8:30 - 9:00 am      Welcome and Awards

9:15 - 10:15 am       Concurrent Sessions:

Volunteer Management 101
Patrick Smith, Literacy Minnesota
Annelisa Donlan, Literacy Minnesota

In this session, we will discuss the basics of the volunteer management process, including volunteer recruitment and onboarding, managing risks, giving feedback, and providing support and recognition. We will also discuss ways to address concerns and deal with unexpected.

Using Volunteers in Remote ESL Classrooms – Five Tricks of the Trade
Sheri Lear, Literacy Minnesota (retired)
The virtual ESL classroom benefits greatly from the addition of volunteers, especially at the Beginning or Basic Literacy levels.  However, these volunteers need special training, as they will largely be working independently in breakout rooms.  They will also need to be prepared to be fluent in different learning platforms.  Join us to learn about the best strategies to prepare volunteers to partner with you in your online class.

Mental Wellness!  It Matters! Mental Health Tips for Self-care & in the Classroom
Wendy Sweeney, Physical and Nonapparent Disability Assistance (PANDA)
Andrea Echelberger, Robbinsdale Adult Academic Program

Many people are well aware of methods to stay physically healthy, but few are educated about what it means to stay mentally healthy.  Mental and physical health are closely intertwined, and both should be priorities in our lives.  Come to this session to learn how to teach mental health strategies to ABE students using PANDA’s new mental health tip sheet.  Discover its benefits for students and how it can be used for teachers’ self-care. The session will share concrete examples of how the tips can be incorporated into lessons to help your students get on the road to mental wellness.  This workshop is intended to address the re-licensure areas of key warning signs of early-onset mental illness.  

10:30 - 11:30 am    Concurrent Sessions: 

What’s New (and not-so-new) in Volunteer Training
Rob Podlasek, Literacy Minnesota
Meghan Boyle, Literacy Minnesota

Come get an overview of the what happening in volunteer training. We'll review the Minnesota ABE training standards and the Literacy Minnesota training resources designed to help volunteers meet those standards. You'll get a chance to ask questions and to provide feedback for future developments.

Five Ways that Volunteers Can Support Digital Literacy
Dani Brown, Literacy Minnesota

Are you in charge of digital literacy or distance learning programming at your organization? Do you have great volunteers who are looking for new opportunities? Consider incorporating your volunteers into digital literacy and distance learning programming! Come to this session for 5 tips and stick around for a group discussion.

Five Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation
Sophie Phan, Literacy Minnesota
Jason Brazier, Literacy Minnesota

Volunteers are the backbone of many ABE programs but not all volunteers seek the same rewards for their work. Following the tenants outlined in the book  The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, by Gary Chapman and Paul White, this session will examine ways to authentically motivate and show appreciation for your volunteers.

11:30 - 12:30  pm   Lunch Break

12:30 - 1:30 pm   Concurrent Sessions: 

Tracking Volunteers in SiD
Jenny Schlukebier, SiD
Mary Zimmerli, SiD

We will cover the how and why of tracking volunteers in SiD. You will learn how to create volunteer records; record time; and run reports required for state reporting and your local needs.

English Unlocked:  Made for Volunteers
Meghan Boyle, Literacy Minnesota

English Unlocked, the new curriculum from Literacy Minnesota, was designed with volunteer teachers and tutors in mind. And now that it has been in use by Open Door Learning Centers for over a year, and by dozens of other programs around the country since May 2021, let’s check in and see how it’s going. Come to this session to review the structure and components of English Unlocked, hear why it’s a great tool for volunteer teachers and tutors in English language classrooms and learn about how it’s being put to use by coordinators and volunteers in real contexts.

Risk Management: Supporting Successful Volunteer Assignments
Debbie Cushman, Associate Director, Literacy Minnesota

Most volunteers bring commitment, passion and expertise but it’s always important to provide structure for both the volunteer and the organization. We’ll look at tools that can support you in more actively managing volunteers and their relationships with your organization, for better and for worse. We’ll also talk about those times when volunteers surprise you by not fulfilling their role and consider cases of poor match, poor performance and misplaced enthusiasm.

1:45 - 2:45   Concurrent Sessions

Saviorism and Volunteerism
Brianne Carmichael, Literacy Minnesota

This training is designed to help participants understand saviorism, ways it shows up, it’s impact and how we can approach learners and each other in helpful ways.

Volunteer Outreach Strategies and Trends
Matthew Miller, Metro North ABE
Amy Kilgore, Metro South ABE

In this presentation, we will present a mix of volunteer outreach and recruitment strategies that we have found the most effective and new outreach techniques we are implementing to fulfill our volunteer needs. We will review broad outreach resources like online sites and volunteer organizations, local strategies to build a volunteer base that fits your specific program, and explore trends we have seen in volunteer recruitment as we reconnect after the pandemic.

Volunteers as Digital Navigators
Elizabeth Bennett, Literacy Minnesota
Nick Houlson, Literacy Minnesota

Volunteer Digital Navigators can mentor learners in using technology, building skills and setting goals. They can support learners with things like resetting passwords, connecting to wifi, bookmarking frequently used websites, installing and updating apps needed for classes, accessing affordable devices and home internet plans, finding reliable information online, and so much more! Implementing digital navigation in your program can help remove tech barriers for learners so they can better pursue their educational and career goals. Come to this session to get started!