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Lilo Myers: Pay it Forward

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

by Jane Eberly

Originallly posted Sept 22, 2022

As part of Troy Literacy's 50th year celebration, we want to spend some time paying tribute to our founders, long time members, and retired officers who have given so freely of themselves to their community. It is our honor to introduce Lilo Myers.

Lilo Myers became a member of Troy Literacy Council in 2005. She continued to serve until May of 2020 when the Covid epidemic disrupted our in-person tutoring services. Lilo was a native of Germany, and she herself was tutored in England to learn to speak English. As a member of Troy Literacy, she was paying forward the kindness and giving she received. She held numerous offices on the Board including President, Secretary, and librarian. She often stepped up in the absence of the Secretary to take and write up the meeting’s minutes and keep our resources up to date and in good supply.

While serving on the Board, Lilo led the planning and carrying out of our 40th year anniversary celebration. As a retired employee of Hobart Corp, now ITW, she was instrumental in helping to fund our budget over several years through their community volunteer program for retirees. Her biggest project was the creation of a weekly tutoring/literacy program at SafeHaven in Piqua. That program began in May of 2017 and ran until the Covid shutdown in May of 2020.

As well as serving on the Board, Lilo tutored numerous students over the years, developing a close rapport with many of them. Recently, Troy Literacy received a tribute to Lilo written by one of her students. It shows the impact Lilo has had volunteering for our organization. I would like to end this article about Lilo by sharing this tribute with you.

“I finally set my mind to learn English, and to end my illiteracy when I was 25 years old. I was very lucky to have a wonderful private English tutor from Troy Literary Council. Mrs. Lilo Myers was not only a wonderful English Tutor for me, but also an amazing American Grandma for my 3-year old son who loves to call her as “Omi”.

I still remember the day when we first met each other at the Troy Library parking lot, how nervous we both were. I still remember those nights at the library, the lovely librarian knocked on the glass window of our study room to kindly remind us that they were closing the library in 5 minutes. I still remember those special days that I shared my big news with Omi. “Lilo, I got a part time job. Now, I can practice more oral English.” “Lilo, I am taking college classes at the Community College at night to improve my English.” “Lilo, I am reading more books now to write my term paper.” “Lilo, I graduated with a GPA 3.14!” “Omi, thanks so much for mailing me the local newspaper! Yes, I see my name there associated with the Master degree announcement.”

How time flies! Omi is 80 years old now, and with her help and encouragement, I have been speaking, reading, and writing in English for almost 15 years! I remember when we first started our tutoring session, Omi told me that an Austrian lady helped her with her English while she lived in England. So, when I started my first day of teaching, I told my students that a German lady taught me English. And I joked about that: “See, you do not need an Englishman to teach you English. I am your Chinese Math teacher! Let’s begin the calculation …”

Being a Mathematics teacher, there is a quote I really adore that “Mathematics may not teach us how to add love or minus hate. But it gives us every reason to hope that every problem has a solution.” Yes, indeed, math is the language of the universe, and English is the international language of the global society!

Oh, my dear Omi! How can I ever thank you for helping me become more and more independent and confident in living a life in this second homeland. You are fantastic! I do remember when I asked Lilo this same question, “How do I ever thank you.”, during our last tutoring session; and she gently smiled at me and said, “Well, you just need to help the next person in the same way that I’ve helped you.” And this was the moment that I decided to become a teacher like Omi. And I also promise her that when I am retired, I will tutor English as well. ☺“

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