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:

Liana Almonte (Volunteer) Liana Almonte is a Cambridge resident and a first year volunteer with GPA’s ESOL program. During the day she works as a Quality Assurance specialist at a biotech company and in her free time enjoys cooking, yoga, running and seeing live music. Liana has a passion for language learning and being a first generation American, knows first hand the struggles immigrants can face in America.  She is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the Boston community, and looks forward to class with the students each week!

Deanne Peterson (Volunteer) Deanne Peterson has taught young students in Cambridge for the past 15 years. Recently retired from full-time teaching, she continues to substitute several days each week, and is currently a volunteer at the Gardner Pilot Academy’s ESOL Program for Adults. Deanne feels fortunate to play a role in helping adults increase their fluency in English, which will improve their access to opportunities in the community!

Jannah Kalai( Volunteer) Jannah Kalai is currently a student at Boston University studying International Relations. This is her first year with GPA, as she began volunteering in September of 2018. She is excited to create a vibrant and productive classroom atmosphere, and watch the students progress over the course of the year. In addition to volunteering, Jannah enjoys traveling and supporting the Red Sox.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.






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