The Benefits of Teen Volunteering

Is your teen looking for an opportunity to not only volunteer at the library this summer but to also reap the rewards from a volunteer opportunity? If so, look no further than our library! This will be our 4th summer for our Teen Summer Volunteer program, and we hope to meet your teen! We are holding an informational meeting for students entering grades 6-12 on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:30 pm when teens can hear all of the information and details about summer volunteering. Parents are also welcome to attend with their child. Still not sure about volunteering? Read the story below!

Back in 2004, a shy, young 12-year-old walked into his busy community library’s children’s department and asked if there was any volunteering he could do.  To his surprise, there was, and he signed on.  He began to realize how much there was to do at a library, that the staff didn’t read books all day like he imagined, and that they really appreciated all of the help he was giving them. After two years of registering children for summer reading club, making hundreds of copies, shelving books, cutting out crafts and helping set up for programs, he was offered a job to work there because they said he “demonstrated great leadership skills.” For the next four years, the now-not-so-shy teenager worked part-time at the library after school and during the summers, checking out materials to patrons, leading programs on music, engineering and science, and saving up his money. Before he knew it, it was time to leave for his exciting yet slightly overwhelming move-in day at college to study what he always loved, engineering.  During his freshman year, he became aware of an opportunity to apply for a paid summer internship, but first had to submit a resume. When it came to the “experience” part of the resume, he was stumped.  “I don’t have any engineering experience,” he said. “Not engineering experience,” said his mom, “but transferable skills experience.” He was thrilled to get an interview, and during the interview process they commented on how confidently he was able to speak to adults and, much to his surprise, were super interested in hearing about his past six years of volunteering/working at the library.  He got the internship, which ended up spanning one semester and three summers.  After graduating from college in 2014, he is now a project manager for a global engineering company.  I know this young man’s story because he is my son.

Teen volunteering is so much more than the name implies.  Here are some of the benefits of volunteering:

  • Giving back to your community supports community resources that teens use themselves, and what better place than a library! Volunteerism is an investment in our community and the people who live in it.
  • Library volunteering teaches social and networking skills by a) working in a public setting; b) having the opportunity to communicate with both adults and children; and c) having the library staff as great candidates for recommendation letters. These are the people who have seen volunteer interaction with others in social situations and how challenges are handled.
  • Volunteering  boosts self-confidence and happiness.  The library offers a safe space for teens to belong and interact with other teen volunteers, staff and patrons, in a judge-free environment.
  • Most colleges or employers look for well-rounded candidates, not just at grades.  Volunteer experience can set teens apart from other school/job applicants and shows ambition, care for their community and a willingness to take on new challenges and situations.
  • Volunteers discover that they make a difference.

I truly hope that YOUR teen will consider volunteering at our library this summer!

Miss Dolores 🙂

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