FFHL inducts two to honor roll
One has reached thousands of students in the classroom. The other has handled thousands of books in the library basement. Both were inducted into the newly created Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) Honor Roll on Nov. 5 at John Carroll University.
Marilyn McLaughlin was inducted as a “mind opener” for her long service teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in the Heights, and John Jarvey’s countless hours of volunteering and leadership with the Friends of Heights Libraries earned him recognition as a “door opener.”
FFHL created the honor roll to recognize those who have made sustained, outstanding contributions to the community by enabling access to literacy or by educating through literacy. About 50 people braved the stormy weather to attend the inaugural FFHL banquet, which featured entertainment by violinist Ariel Clayton Karas.
Rob Fischer, FFHL president, welcomed those in attendance, and Louisa Oliver, a volunteer and former president of the Friends of Heights Libraries, introduced Jarvey. She described the hours Jarvey, a retired teacher, spends sorting books for the Friends and distributing surplus materials to local hospitals, while also making time for other volunteer work.
Jarvey spoke about how popular the Friends’ book donations are at local medical centers and how important they are to children. Speaking of the other Friends volunteers he helps organize, he cited the well-known phrase that “volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”
McLaughlin was introduced by Hana Voris, who worked alongside McLaughlin at Aspire Greater Cleveland. She spoke of McLaughlin’s long service in teaching ESOL, starting with Soviet refuseniks in the 1970s, and how she made a real difference in her students’ lives by helping them to understand American ways and culture.
In her speech, McLaughlin recalled her time as the president of the Teachers of ESOL's adult education section, which began just before the Sept. 11 attacks. Her first newsletter message to that group, published just after the attacks, warned that it would be a difficult year to be an ESOL teacher, and extolled her readers to “keep up the good work.” She reflected that integrating into American life has only become more difficult for immigrants since.
Fischer rounded out the evening by speaking about FFHL and its mission, which is to raise funds for the long-term capital needs of the library system. He distinguished FFHL from the Friends of Heights Libraries by comparing them to two pockets: The Friends pocket has money for the library’s day-to-day operating needs, while the FFHL pocket has the savings for capital projects.
Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, made closing remarks and invited guests to visit the system's newly renovated University Heights branch.
Matthew Ginn is a photographer, writer and analyst living in Cleveland Heights since 2013. He is on the board of the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries.