Izi LeMay, 22, a student at The Evergreen State College, is passionate about her work as a volunteer with Kokua, tutoring adults with disabilities.
LeMay has been involved in volunteer work since she was in high school in her home state of Wisconsin. At that time, she worked with the Gesundheit! Institute, which advocates for and provides for free health care for adults with disabilities. She grew up with an autistic sibling, and she says her skills and her passion stem from that experience.
When LeMay came to Evergreen in 2010, she learned about the Literacy and Education for Adults with Disabilities (LEAD) and the Center for Community Based Learning and Action programs, which led her to the nonprofit Kokua (a Hawaiian word meaning “connection” or “community”). She loves her work with Kokua, which she says goes beyond just in-home care for adults with disabilities, but also focuses making their client’s lives fulfilling and advocating for their right to free education.
At Kokua, LeMay has tutored the same person for several years and says they both learn a great deal from their time together. For example, when her learner wanted to bone up on her German, LeMay, who did not know German, found a way to learn some basic German herself while finding the best way to help her student improve her German language skills.
LeMay says she always wants to be volunteering.
“If I could have my basic needs met, I would volunteer 100 percent of the time!”