An Inside Look on the Nutley Library’s Teen Volunteering Program
I have been working with Nutley Library’s Teen Volunteering since June 2019, and since then have watched the program blossom into an excellent way for teens, grades 9-12, in Nutley to give back to their community as a whole. Ms. Lucia Alvarez, Nutley Librarian and Coordinator for Teen Volunteering, has been running this program since 2018, creating more opportunities and involvement for all.
With more students being involved due to Covid-19, virtual alternatives have been added— “something rewarding and beneficial to a teen’s development of important social and technical skills,” explains Ms. Alvarez.
This new virtual setting has made it hard adjusting to volunteering through a computer screen, but luckily opened a surplus of opportunities due to the flexibility of online services. These include, writing book reviews, making book lists, making how-to videos, being a helper for the library’s STEM/STEAM programs, and finally, partaking in the Teen Advisory Board and Reading Buddies program.
Personally, having experience with Reading Buddies truly did benefit my skills with interacting with children, while also giving me the chance to make a difference. It gave me new motivation to help out my community and also earn service hours simultaneously. I learned that setting aside 2-4 hours out of my week can really put a smile on kids who may be having a hard time at home with the pandemic.
Ms. Alvarez further explains the new Teen Advisory Board just recently started at the library. "This is a youth-led group that was designed to allow teens to incorporate themselves within the library through actively engaging in the development of library events and programs for all teens of the community,” she states. “Members have an opportunity to provide real leadership and service to their local library and, by extension, to other teens in their community by having their voices heard!”
Having experience in these programs has helped me tremendously and given me motivation to help others while at the same time building my skills with communication, leadership, time management, and professionalism.
Others are also encouraged to sign up and volunteer for Nutley at teenservices.nutleypubliclibrary.org/volunteers/.