It is always my pleasure to get to talk about UDPL’s teen volunteers. One of the most gratifying parts of my job is having the opportunity to work closely with students in grades 6-12 who selflessly give back to the community by donating their time to library projects. In 2018, students in grades 6-12 gave more than 830 hours of volunteerism.
This year has lent itself to thinking about not just the importance of libraries in the 21st century, but also what qualities make UDPL so great. This year’s teen volunteers of the year embody what really makes the library a valued gathering point for the community and I’m pleased to honor them today.
Cooper Flood exemplifies dependability. He has volunteered at UDPL since the end of his sophomore year and there is not a single volunteer activity he has not had his hands in. Whether it’s assisting with children’s programs or helping me figure out the best recipe for slime, Cooper is an enthusiastic and conscientious assistant. He has also spent at least two to three hours a week helping Jennifer Roberts maintain the book shelves in the children’s area for the last two years. His favorite part of volunteering at UDPL has been working with children as a member of Catalyst 4 Success, Reading Buddies, and our general volunteer force. Coop will be attending East Strausburg University next year and plans to major in nursing.
Kira Ariyamitr exemplifies adaptability. She has been one of my library kids since, as a 6th grader, she wrote and illustrated a children’s book about internet safety and insisted I add it to the library’s collection. It has been a joy watching her grow into a confident and poised young woman. She has been an active member of Catalyst 4 Success as well as a Reading Buddy and general volunteer. This past December she came to discuss her college essay with me on a Saturday, but ended up filling a pair of very LITERAL big shoes when our volunteer scheduled to portray Pete the Cat had to bow out. Kira didn’t wake up expecting to wear a heavy mascot costume for two hours, but she readily agreed and adapted her afternoon, making dozens of Pete fans very happy. Kira will be attending West Chester University next year and plans to major in marketing.
Jacob McCauley exemplifies innovation. Since approaching me years ago for more information about the STEAM Lab 3D printers, Jacob has been a fixture at UDPL. Not only has he designed the most impressive prints to come out of our printers, but he designed and taught a 3D modeling class for students in grades 3-5. Jacob’s passion for computers makes him a qualified instructor, but his kindness and ability to connect with kids makes him a truly great teacher. He creates a space for his students where failure is not only safe, but just another step on the journey to mastery. To say that the kids like him would be an understatement – adore comes much closer to the truth. After graduation Jacob will spend a year living in Sweden before returning to major in mechanical engineering at a yet to be determined university that will be very, very lucky to have him.
Dependability, adaptability, and innovation – these are what our teen volunteers give to UDPL, enabling us to give the same back the Upper Dublin Community. Please join me in thanking and honoring these three exceptional students!