Volunteers & Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteers assist the students and staff in countless ways. We welcome you to join our team of extraordinary volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the Program Director, Michelle Duval via e-mail:  m.duval@live.com


At GPA, we are fortunate and grateful to have many volunteers who donate their time and talent to support our overall mission:

Melissa Banta works as a curator at Harvard University. Her specialty is historical photographs (Harvard has over 10 million of them). She also works at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. She writes about the history of the Cemetery, where many famous people were buried. She has three children and lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Allison Barkauskas has volunteered at ESOL programs in Boston since 2013. She went to school for Economics and Education and enjoys being able to use her education background to contribute positively to her community. Allison works as a Business Account Manager in Back Bay and is currently pursuing her MBA at UMass Dartmouth. She has been a volunteer assistant teacher and currently manages the adult education program’s website.

Sam Bessey has volunteered at ESOL for almost a year helping adults learn English. During the day, he works as a chemical engineer in the Biotech industry designing new production facilities. Prior to the ESOL program he also tutored adults in the math section of the GED.

Meghan Conlon is a marketing professional for a financial services firm during the day. Outside of her job, Meghan began volunteering with ESOL classes in 2017, wanting do something positive for the Boston community. This is her first year at GPA. She’s loves learning from each student and wants to continue to be involved in and support GPA’s community.

Terry Armstrong has a B.A. in Biology and has worked in healthcare clinical labs for 20 years. When she was younger, she lived in a house for international students for four years. It was a real education and led to an interest in politics and international affairs. Terry also had a lifelong interest in the middle east because her father worked there while she was young. Most recently, she has developed an interest in the Syrian refugee crisis and she was frustrated to sit by and unable to do something about it. She finally traveled to Greece and worked in a refugee camp for a month over the summer of 2017. When she came back she wanted to continue to help refugees and immigrants here in Boston and found the Adult Education Program at GPA did just that.

Diane Gordon has volunteered at the ESOL program at Gardner Pilot since January 2017. She was motivated to work directly with immigrants because she wants to be the face of America that reflects who we really are as a country, and to help immigrants learn the skills they need to feel safe and to pursue their own goals in the United States. In her professional life, she has worked with community based nonprofit organizations for over 35 years as a leader, manager, and consultant.

Amy Gulliksen  tarted volunteering with GPA when she moved to Boston in November 2016. She loves to help teach English as a form of empowerment and community engagement and previously spent a year teaching English in East Jerusalem. Amy works as a project coordinator at Brandeis University with a research institute that studies wealth inequality.

Kelly Keenan moved to Boston a few months ago after spending many years in Baltimore, Maryland.  She is currently a graduate student in the French department at Boston University.  Kelly, who is just starting as a volunteer at GPA, and who understands how challenging yet empowering language learning can be, is looking forward to getting involved in her community and is excited to get to know the people she will meet at GPA!  In addition to volunteering, Kelly enjoys reading, yoga, and traveling.

Christina Lima is a healthcare professional who enjoys volunteering in her spare time. She started as a volunteer in October 2017 and likes to help ESOL learners achieve their literacy goals. She also appreciates learning about different cultures and languages and being involved in GPA’s community. In addition to volunteering, Christina enjoys cooking, arts and crafts, and running.

Jayant Rao is a chemical engineer in the semiconductor industry. He recently moved to Boston and is excited about getting involved with Gardner Pilot Academy’s ESOL Program. Jayant enjoys spending his free time sailing on the Charles River and hiking.

Jacob Sajinyan currently works as a Treasury Analyst at Brandeis University. He first got into tutoring as a sophomore in college, where he tutored courses ranging from electrical engineering to chemistry. He has always wanted to get back into tutoring, and the adult ESOL at GPA was the perfect opportunity. Dancing and traveling are two of his most favorite hobbies.

Peter Simms

Catherine Snedeker  is a first year volunteer with GPA,  and loves every minute of class and the students she’s met. The best part of GPA’s program?  The chance to meet and get to know other Allston-Brighton neighbors in really fun and personal way.  For example:  during a class exercise on idioms, and trying to clearly explain a phrase, Catherine and another student found out that they both adore watching,  “Say Yes to the Dress.”  Catherine has her B.A and is pursing her M.A. slowly, but surely, one class at a time!  A Waltham native, she now she lives just a few streets  away from GPA here in Allston, easy to walk to and from school.  During the day, she works for the Boston Police Department in the Research and Development Office.

Jane Tenenbaum is a book designer, artist, and occasional editor. An avid bike rider, gardener, and French speaker, she is happy to share her love of the English language and its wide and expressive vocabulary. She lives in Cambridge with her cat, Ceci. This is her first year at GPA.

Hermelinda Zegarra





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