Anne Million of the Poudre River Public Library District is the 2021 recipient of the City of Fort Collins Human Relations Commission (HRC) Public Service Staff Human Relations Award. Since 2018, Million has been instrumental in creating educational and social opportunities for newcomers and learners of English in our community.
“Anne’s work, first as a library volunteer and now as a staff member, stems from a personal passion and deep dedication to supporting English language learners in the community,” said Ken Draves, Acting Executive Director of the Library District. âIts library programs and services have helped individuals not only develop their language skills, but also develop peer relationships, strengthen community bonds, and achieve personal and professional success.
Million was honored for her work in creating the Library’s Weekly English Conversation Group and for creating an ESL Mentoring Service, which matches volunteer mentors and learners based on focused personal and professional goals and relevant experience. The ESL mentoring program serves learners by providing a source of social capital in the form of knowledge and access to resources and people in the community. Learners continued to achieve goals such as becoming a U.S. citizen, finding new careers and internships, pursuing higher education, and more.
Almost 75 people participated in the Conversations in English group, and dozens of ESL learners and mentors have found personal and professional success through the program.
âTwo years ago I came to America and started learning English. By studying hard, I can communicate with others in English now, and I have found a job this year; I am now a school bus driver at PSD, âsays Jianâ Kevin âChen, one of the ESL mentoring service participants. âAnne is a mentor and a helper for every student. “
Yareni Herrera is working to become a nurse in the United States. âThe program helps me a lot and I feel very close to achieving my goal. In addition, I feel more comfortable with my English now, âsays Herrera. âI never thought I could give a presentation in English, but now I can. Anne is one of the first people to believe in me and I am very grateful for the mentorship I have received.
âAnne has a unique skill set that combines excellent management skills with a sincere personal touch that is quite motivating,â says Dan Chilson, a volunteer mentor with the ESL Mentoring Service. âAnne’s strong commitment to learners is evident and she consistently provides excellent guidance to mentors. The Human Relations Award is presented each year to individuals and organizations in our community who work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to the Civil Service Personnel Award, the CRH presents the Individual Award, the Youth Award and the Organization Award.