Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in the state, is proud to announce Betty Mulligan as the 2018 Florida Volunteer of the Year. After 35 years of teaching, Betty dedicated her retirement to developing a free tutoring program in Martin County, allowing students to expand their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension skills.
“Betty exemplifies selfless volunteerism and community service,” said Vivian Myrtetus, CEO of Volunteer Florida. “Her passion for literacy and her commitment to sharing it with an impressionable, influential generation of students is unparalleled in Florida and essential to the state’s continued success.”
Since 2017, Betty has worked with United Way of Martin County to enlist more than 80 tutors from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). RSVP, part of Senior Corps, is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and older. In Martin County, these volunteers provide crucial one-on-one attention and instruction to more than 200 students at five different elementary schools every year.
Betty trains the tutors and monitors their hours, as well as the students’ progress and completes necessary paperwork. She ensures the program’s success by administering pre-tests, analyzing the students’ strengths and weaknesses, and creates individual lesson plans and specific goals. To measure results, Betty and her team of volunteers offer a post-test at the end of the school year. In 2015-2016, 92 percent of students in the program achieved or exceeded their goals, becoming fluent and often proficient readers, increasing their overall confidence and self-esteem.
In 2018, Betty plans to advance the program in Martin County by recruiting more than 100 tutors, providing early intervention to younger students and incorporating helpful technology, such as iPads.
Volunteer Florida is the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida, administering more than $32 million in federal, state and local funding to deliver high-impact national service and volunteer programs in Florida. Volunteer Florida promotes and encourages volunteerism to meet critical needs across the state, and also serves as Florida’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during and after disasters. For more information, please visit volunteerflorida.org.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) engages Americans age 55 and older in a diverse range of volunteer activities. Volunteers tutor children, renovate homes, teach English to immigrants, assist victims of natural disasters, provide independent living services, recruit and manage other volunteers and serve their communities in many other ways. RSVP is a part of Senior Corps, a program administered the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering, service and civic engagement. CNCS engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteer and service efforts. For more information, visit nationalservice.gov.