Good Fellows Award 2017

New Haven Reads had the pleasure of presenting three of our tutors with the inaugural Good Fellows Award at our volunteer appreciation party. This award is given to volunteers who have shown an incredible dedication to our program over the years. This year’s recipients were Ken and Susan Fellows and John Horkel. We Sat down with the three of them to discuss their experiences at New Haven Reads.

John Horkel  Susan Fellows

From left to right: John Horkel, Susan Fellows, Ken Fellows.


New Haves Reads: “When and why did you first start volunteering with NHR?”

Susan Fellows: “Ken began tutoring before I did.  He informed me that there was a waiting list of 250 students because there were no available tutors.  I thought that was a ridiculous arrangement and the least I could do was tutor one day per week, which has subsequently morphed into 3 days per week.”

Ken Fellows: “(I started) on the advisement of a friend from a soup kitchen, Mary Barnes. We were working on the soup side of things and got talking”

John Horkel: “Retired in late 2012 – checking out New Haven as I didn’t want to leave the area – as I had so many connections up here – am a power walker and walked past your Bristol Street site – thought what is this place?”

John Tutoring Student

John Horkel tutoring.


NHR: What keeps you coming back?”

Susan:  “I continue to come to NHR because it is a welcoming environment, the students are great, the system is orderly, and expectations are intact for both the tutor as well as the tutee.  There is a dedicated enthusiastic staff, as well as dedicated tutors, all of whom have a love of reading.”

Ken: “The atmosphere is very encouraging and supportive. You can see the progress over some months of the particular child you’re working with. I find it very enriching to see that progress. Its a very encouraging and supportive and upbeat environment.”

John: “The social contract I now have with the New Haven community in which I now live and gives me so much – mandates that I give back to it.

Susan Tutoring

Susan Fellows with tutee.


NHR: “What kind of impact do you believe that NHR has on our community and the city of New Haven?”

Susan: “It is clear that NHR has had a positive impact in the community as evidenced by the growth in the number of children who come to be tutored, and the fact that I believe that there continues to be a waiting list for tutors.  The key, of course, is the fact that reading levels for most tutees have improved dramatically.  (Give statistics)  Another major impact is the work with the schools that Tanya Smith does (add anyone else who does this) to ensure proper placement for the student.   I think that NHR is a gift to the New Haven community.  The children have in essence a private tutor who views the Lexia program with them as well as the writing workbook.  I wish that I had that service when I was growing up!”

Ken: “If you look at the statistics over recent years, 98 to 99 percent of students, tested in October, showed improvement in April. It is meaningful to see that progress. To know that these children close the gap at school.”

John: “The future of this city is dependent on the success of the kids in it – NHR helps to make this happen – if you can’t read – you’re sunk.”

Ken Tutoring Student

Ken Fellows plays literacy games.


NHR: “What impact, if any, do you feel that volunteering at NHR has had on you?”

Susan: “For me the impact is in sharing good reads with a tutee.  I usually tutor those in middle school to high school.  Current reads are Dreams of My Father,  The Fly Catcher, and The Catcher Is A Spy.”

Ken: “I’ve felt a tremendous amount of self esteem and satisfaction. It is uplifting and self satisfying to see that progress.”

John: “Hmm – getting seriously emotional as I respond to this – am so much the better person, so great to see my kids grow up before my eyes, hope that I’ve made a difference in their lives – so much more.”


Categories News & Events | Tags: | Posted on April 27, 2017

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