ELitman-headshotcolorVolunteer Award – Reunion 2014

The amount of service Emily Litman provides is staggering. She seems to move seamlessly from her vocation—teaching—to her avocation—volunteering. The number of people whose lives she affects is beyond an easy calculation.

When Emily arrived at the Forest from Hoboken, N.J., she had already had a high-school year in Argentina. At Drew, she majored in political science as well as minoring in Latin American studies and Mideast studies, and engaging in the United Nations Semester. What Drew probably remembers her best for, however, is her participation in the first Honduras Project, which has annually sent students and faculty to assist the Honduran people ever since.

Drew taught Emily to love learning and gave her the desire to pass it on to others, and the Honduras experience inspired her to volunteer there for a year to teach in an orphanage after graduation. Next she taught career education and life skills in Boston’s El Centro del Cardenal Alternative High School. She taught fifth grade and English as a Second Language in P.S. 70 from 2003 to 2006, while she followed New York City’s Teaching Fellows program. The program, an alternative route to teaching certification, subsidized her master’s degree in elementary education at Mercy College, which she received in 2005.

Since 2006, Emily has taught fourth and fifth grades at the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City, N.J., where she has also taught Spanish from grades one through eight. In addition to teaching standard subject areas, she designs enrichment programs in science, literature and community service to encourage students to be aware of their local and global communities, and coordinates the eighth-grade students; this amounts to 1200 volunteer hours annually. Helping children to appreciate and engage in volunteering is important to Emily, and her homeroom does one community project every month.

After daily responsibilities like hers, most of us would yearn for a nap, but Emily’s day as a volunteer has only begun. She is president of her school’s local chapter of the New Jersey Educators Association. She is one of the founders and teachers of the Open Door, offering free ESL classes to adults in Hudson County, N.J. In Jersey City Lacrosse, she is co-founder, vice-president and coach. She is the New Jersey outreach coordinator in Cantigas Women’s Choir in Hoboken. In the Liberty Humane Society, she helps facilitate supply and fundraising collections, as well as adoption counseling, and has fostered numerous orphaned kittens in her home in Jersey City. And she has not forgotten Drew: She is one of the creators of the Jake Stults ’01 Memorial Fund, which remembers a Drew friend by providing resources to the students of the music department.

It is good to know that Emily does take vacations—recently to Guatemala. We know that her pleasure trip, like everything she does, will ultimately enrich everyone she knows.