Meet Ruth Toliver, Colorado’s Global Ambassador

September 28, 2015. Arvada’s Ruth Toliver is a prime example of an engaged, globally-minded citizen. At 87, Ruth spends her time and her talents on assisting Colorado’s diverse, international community. From teaching English as a second language, to assisting local nonprofits, Ruth is an inspiring fixture in the Denver metro-area. She is one of the forces making this community a great place to live.

Ruth’s commitment to community development and intercultural relations is something that she has practiced all her life. Born in 1928 in Fort Collins, CO, Ruth attended University of Colorado Boulder, where she majored in Spanish. Soon after her graduation in 1950, Ruth joined the Foreign Service through the U.S. Department of State. Valued for her typing ability – over 100 words per minute – Ruth served in a secretarial capacity in several U.S. embassies, located in cities ranging from London and Tokyo, to Tripoli and Rio De Janeiro.

During this period of international service, Ruth furthered her interest in foreign languages, and received instruction in Japanese, Italian and Portuguese. Following her return to the United States, she began to apply her vocational and educational experiences. She taught English and Spanish classes throughout Colorado and Nebraska, while at the same time working on her Master’s degree in Guadalajara, Mexico, which she eventually received from University of Colorado Boulder.

Since her retirement in 1996, Ruth has been equally if not more active in her local community. Currently, she is a volunteer AARP driving instructor, and contributes her prodigious language skills by teaching English to refugees throughout the Denver-area.

Bright, funny and full of life, Ruth is consistently reaching out and helping others. Most recently, this resulted in a significant contribution of books and learning materials to Aurora Sister Cities International, which just finished running a book drive for its sister city of Adama, Ethiopia. After seeing an interview with Executive Director Karlyn Shorb, Ruth immediately got in touch. Her sizeable donation is a powerful boon to the organization’s efforts.

This act of charity is one that will have a significant and tangible effect, as the books collected through the drive will go to support Adama’s libraries and orphanages. It also serves to highlight the truth behind the efficacy of a community-based organization like Aurora Sister Cities International. As much as the organization depends on the hard work of its board and staff, it also needs the support of active, empathetic and charitable community members. And that is exactly who Ruth Tolliver is.

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