News & Stories

ONFE Volunteers In Education Spotlight: Wendy Kramer

Our fifth volunteer spotlight in honour of National Volunteer Week features Wendy Kramer. Read on to learn about Wendy and why she decided to become a part of the ONFE community as a volunteer. But before that, a quote about Wendy from Adriana Johnston, Program Manager of Volunteers in Education (VIE),

“Wendy Kramer is a caring and conscientious volunteer who is eager to help students in Ottawa. She has been participating in the after school virtual tutoring program since it started at the beginning of the pandemic and has been a VIE volunteer since 2014!

She helps students in Math and Language and is reliable and friendly. Thank you so much for everything you do, Wendy!”

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Coming from the Science Museum in London, England, to work in Ottawa at the Museum of Science and Technology (as it was then named) was a big adventure. I came on a temporary work visa … and stayed; albeit with an eighteen year break to live in the States, returning to Ottawa for three summer months of each of those years. I’m back here permanently these days.

I was born in London, the second of three sisters, with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins around growing up.

Now I have five adult stepchildren, six granddaughters, one stepson’s stepson, and a great-granddaughter soon to have her first birthday.

I like to weave and play bridge. Also, once it started, I quickly became addicted to ‘wordle’ and its variations.
What made you decide to volunteer with VIE?

Since before we were teenagers, I used to help my younger sister with Math, and when I regularly babysat my younger cousins I would help them with their homework. My late husband taught at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, and for several years I volunteered at the College’s Adult Literacy Program. Returning to Ottawa full-time I decided to continue with ESL tutoring; finding VIE/ONFE was ‘the way to go’.

 Who was your favourite teacher and why?

While my school teachers, particularly those in primary school, were all dedicated, caring people, I would choose my father as my favourite teacher. He died fifty years ago, but what I learned from him I value to this day.
What is your personal philosophy on life? 

Be thankful for life’s blessings and strive to do as much as possible to improve the lot of others, especially those less fortunate.

If you could go back to a particular grade level or childhood age, which would it be and why?

Age 10, I was in my last year at primary school, I really liked my teacher, Mrs. Thompson. Some of my classmates, including my best friend, would be going to the same grammar school as myself (continuity) in September. My family travelled abroad for the first time. Life was good.

What is your favorite hidden gem in Ottawa?

The Tin House facade, hanging on up the wall was such a surprise the first time I saw it. I like to point out its uniqueness to visitors whenever I have the opportunity.

Tell us about a lesson you learned this year. What did it teach you about yourself?

A few months ago I had (successful) major surgery, in hospital during the pandemic.

I learned to appreciate the help I received from so many, and I learned how it takes very little effort for one/me to give back, or ‘pay it forward’. During these on-going stressful times it is so important, so I know I can and will keep at it.

If you are interested in volunteering with ONFE’s Volunteers in Education, please visit our program page.

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