Lloyd Ayer is one busy pebble.
Following in his father's footsteps, Lloyd took over the family's manufacturing business for 40 years before selling the company to his sons when he retired. He still makes regular trips to the factory to do all the purchasing.
Lloyd didn't let retirement stop him from being active in his community. He worked as a tutor, a trainer, and a board member for over two decades before 'retiring' at the end of October 2014. During his twenty-two year tenure with Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven, Lloyd's contributions improved the lives of hundreds of students and encouraged the growth of hundreds more tutors.
The organization has changed a lot over the years.
"In the beginning, we had no office space," Lloyd said. The economy was bad and both the ESOL and Basic Literacy classes worked out of libraries and churches. "For many years, the operations ran on personal donations from tutors until they learned more about how to apply for grants."
Lloyd was first introduced to the Literacy Volunteers organization by his pastor. For him, working with LVA was a religious calling.
"It's how you give back," he said.
After working as a literacy tutor for a few years, Lloyd decided to try his hand at training tutors. He took a 25-hour certification course through LVA Connecticut in order to become qualified to train other tutors. Additionally, he did a year-long internship where he shadowed other trainers in action. Lloyd also served on Literacy Volunteers' Board of Directors as the only tutor for twenty years.
All the time spent was worth it to Lloyd, who said that he liked training tutors the best. He said he's always running into people he trained!
For Lloyd, the greatest reward of being a tutor was "anytime you can make someone's life easier." For most of our students, illiteracy is the barrier that keeps them from achieving their personal and professional goals.
Though he was trained as a reading tutor, Lloyd's background was in engineering. He started tutoring in math when a potential tutor approached him at one of his training sessions.
Lloyd's advice to current and future tutors is this: "The most important skill you need is patience. You're dealing with people who are living on the edge of survival." Tutors need to understand that reading classes may not be the top priority for adult students who are struggling to find work or take care of their families.
On behalf of the students, tutors, Board members and staff, we'd like to thank Lloyd for all of his years of service. We'd also like to wish him a happy birthday! Lloyd turned 85 on November 10th.