ELU Member Spotlight: Valeri Harteg

Brunette smiling at camera

Valeri Harteg is a newer ELU member and shares how ELU has helped her reconnect to Berks County. Learn more about Valeri and her involvement with ELU and beyond.

Valeri has been actively involved with ELU for just over a year now, finding a connection in its committed and caring community. “Returning to Berks a few years ago was filled with mixed emotions largely because I was leaving behind the professional network I’d worked hard to build in Philadelphia,” she recalls. “Getting involved with ELU has helped reground me in the hometown that I love and catch me up on the incredible work that’s happening all over the county.” This experience has also reminded her about the opportunity to listen—really listen—that volunteer leadership provides. “The first ELU event I attended was a park cleanup and gardening project led by Amanda Funk, Executive Director of the Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge,” she recalls. “Not only did our group clean up the park and garden, but we also learned a great deal from Amanda as she talked about land stewardship and shared fast facts about the plants around us that usually go unnoticed.”

Valeri, is currently an Adult ESL Instructor for the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks, a United Way of Berks County Agency Partner, and she finds fulfillment in returning to the classroom. “After years in education program management, I am thrilled to be back in the classroom,” she says. “Supporting the Literacy Council is special to me, as I volunteered with them 10 years ago, an early part of my ESL teaching journey.”  Along with serving as an ELU Cabinet member, she serves on the Penn TESOL East board to enhance professional development opportunities for ESL professionals. She shares, “This is my first board experience and I joined to bring representation to the community-based Adult ESL context and, more broadly, to help expand access to affordable, high-quality professional development in my field.”  Valeri’s commitment to community-based ESL contexts reflects her passion for expanding access to high-quality professional development in the field.

Valeri believes, “Serving is an undeniably critical part of volunteering, but listening and learning about the impact and larger mission of the work is equally valuable. I’m so grateful to ELU for giving its members the opportunity to do both!”