Since 1985, the DLC has trained more than 2,500 volunteer tutors who have, in turn, helped empower more than 18,000 Durham residents through literacy. Many others have filled vital support roles on our board, at our reception desk, and on various fundraising projects. These generous individuals have transformed many lives through literacy. We hope you will join them!

Volunteer Opportunities


All Durham Literacy programs are operating online during the COVID-19 pandemic. All volunteer tutors must have internet access and a computer with a camera and microphone to be able to teach in the online environment. 

Our programs are accepting new volunteers on an as-needed basis:


  • ESOL: Our ESOL program is currently in need of a small number of tutors who have experience teaching ESOL.  If you are interested in tutoring a class at least one night a week (February 1-May 27), please contact joan@durhamliteracy.org by January 18th about your availability.  

  • Adult Literacy: Our Adult Literacy program is not recruiting new tutors at this time. On a case by case basis, we may be able to match former Adult Literacy tutors who completed one or more of our past trainings and who are interested in working remotely with a student (using Zoom, Google Meet, or another platform). If you are a former tutor who is interested in tutoring remotely, please contact gardy@durhamliteracy.org

  • YAP: Our YAP program is welcoming back former program tutors and other volunteers who have experience with remote/online academic tutoring for our students who need one-on-one focus with reading, writing, and math skills at the intermediate academic level. We will provide you with technical training in our online learning environments, live support, and lesson plans for weekly tutoring sessions throughout the spring semester, which will run January 19th through June 30th, Monday - Thursday mornings between 9:30 - 11:30am. Tutors typically volunteer for one or two hours per week with the same student each week. If you are interested in volunteering with YAP, contact amy@durhamliteracy.org

Training in our curriculum and how to use online learning tools will be provided remotely to new volunteers. Thank you for your interest!


We offer the following types of volunteer opportunities:


  • Direct instruction as one-on-one tutor, a small group instructor, or a substitute tutor/instructor with one of our core programs (Adult Literacy, ESOL, Youth Achievement Program)


  • Instructional support provider (e.g., prepare instructional materials, assist students in the computer lab as they complete homework assignments and/or apply for jobs) 


  • Administrative support provider (e.g., cover a shift at our front reception desk or assist with direct mailings, data entry, prep for fundraising events)


  • Board sub-committee member (lend a hand and learn more about the organization)


The Volunteer Opportunities Grid provides summary information -- including typical time commitments -- for these various options.


​​Becoming a DLC Volunteer

Follow these steps to become a DLC volunteer:

Current Volunteer Resources
Adult Literacy Tutors

Submit data (then clear cache!)

      >>  Volunteer Hours

      >>  Assessment data

      >>  Progress report

      >>  Online instructional resources

ESOL Instructors

Online instructional resources

>  ESOL Class Syllabi

>  ESOL Tutor Calendar

Youth Achievement Program Tutors

 Online instructional resources


Review the Volunteer Opportunities Grid and follow the links to more information for the opportunities that interest you most. If needed, contact us for more information using the contact form to the right, emailing us at volunteer@durhamliteracy.org, or calling us at (919) 489-8383.


​​If you would like to provide instructional or administrative support or serve on our board or a board committee, we will schedule a meeting with you to discuss current opportunities in more detail. If you would like to become a tutor or an instructor, we will provide you with information about our next tutor orientation and training series.


​​Prospective Adult Literacy tutors and ESOL instructors will attend a 1-hour orientation, complete a 12-hour training series, and then be matched with a student or a small group class based on each volunteer’s availability. Adult Literacy GED tutors will receive a 2-hour training and ongoing support from program staff. Prospective Youth Achievement Program tutors will receive on-the-job coaching from program staff.

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Click here for more information about volunteer orientation and tutor training.



​Volunteer Requirements and Responsibilities​ 


​While specific requirements and responsibilities vary by volunteer role, we expect all volunteers to meet the following requirements:

> Be at least 18 years old, unless special arrangements have been made beforehand.

> Be able to transport themselves to and from the DLC site.

> Be able and willing to participate in any training required for the volunteer role chosen.

> Be able to communicate with DLC staff by phone or email as needed.

> Be patient, compassionate, and dedicated to the DLC community. 

Finally, we require that all tutors (and staff) be respectful of students' right to privacy. All information shared by students - even the simple fact that they participate in our programs - is strictly confidential unless a student has consented in writing on an official DLC consent form to sharing information with others. 


Click on photos to learn more about our tutors:

Thank you to our volunteers!


Over 235 volunteers worked with us in the 2018-19 programmatic year alone. We couldn't do it without them!

See the Full List