The Greenburgh Public Library has been lucky to boast a robust in-person volunteer (VolunTeen) program for teens ages 12-19 for a long time. But with 2020 came many changes -- including the introduction of Virtual VolunTeens! While the building of Greenburgh Public Library may be closed to the public right now, there are still tons of ways to connect with peers, earn community service hours, and help YOUR community & YOUR Library!
Virtual VolunTeen Program @ Greenburgh Public Library
Teen Advisory Board Meetings on Zoom @ Greenburgh Public Library
Virtual Teen Events @ Greenburgh Public Library
Teen Book Bundles - Looking for something good to read or watch? Need help collecting resources for a project? We are here to help! Just email GreenTeen@GreenburghLibrary.
VolunTeen In The Spotlight:
Meet Raquel Frank, long time library member and VolunTeen at Greenburgh Public Library!
An avid reader, Raquel confesses that she was reading 5 seconds before our interview. “I love, love, love to watch anime, drawing, writing… like making a story out of my own life and exploring the possibilities that different things that may actually happen,” explains Raquel enthusiastically, as we settle in for our interview.
Favorite Authors: Jane Austen and Suzanne Collins
How long have you been volunteering at Greenburgh Public Library?
Since the beginning of time? Since I was 12?? I couldn't wait to volunteer at the library and really wanted to start earlier than the minimum age of 12. I wanted an excuse to come to the library even more – more than attending an event or hanging out and getting more books to enjoy.
Why do you volunteer at the library?
I have been at the library for so many years it was like me becoming a VolunTeen was supposed to happen. I went from visiting the old library, through the renovations, and to the new library. Since I was two months old, I have been here [at the library] through a lot and I thought, what better way to stay connected and involved with the library and not drift away from it than to volunteer? So I did!
What kinds of events have you volunteered for at the library and beyond?
I kind of just float around and volunteer myself to do anything serendipitously. I like to float and help others. At school I volunteer for many projects, including set design and helping friends put ribbons up for cancer awareness month. Recently, I helped TDYCC (Theodore D. Young Community Center) prepare lunch boxes for senior citizens. It doesn't feel like a job to me – it feels like a part of me. It's something that I have been doing since practically birth. I like to help people. I'm like my dad – I enjoy helping people.
What tasks do you enjoy most or are most proud of?
Teen Advisory Board is my favorite activity at Greenburgh Public Library, either before when we met in person, or now when we meet on Zoom. I like to help plan things out and then see them happen, it makes me happy. Cutting snowflakes and arts and crafts in the library are embedded in my memory. I really enjoyed that and miss doing it, now that the library building is closed. But I look forward to being back in the library soon.
What is your favorite part of volunteering at the library?
My friends. When I volunteer my friends are usually there, either volunteering with me or hanging out playing video games or something. I get to interact with them when I am there and it makes my day. I would say the best thing was over the summer a few years ago – me and another friend would volunteer together and it was really fun.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from volunteering?
I think, specifically to the library, I learned how to communicate with other people. Before, I was very scared to do so–I didn't like talking to people, but volunteering has taught me to break that shell and give myself to other people. Before volunteering, I would probably have declined this interview, but now I feel confident to communicate my answers. Responding to the people I am helping whole heartedly, (I tell myself) don't be afraid, you are there to help the people in the library. Now I can help people whether I am there to volunteer or there on my own. It’s given me a sense of responsibility.
How many hours have you accumulated over the course of volunteering at the library?
Last I checked, over 150 hours. And those are just the hours I remembered to count, hehe. I am always pitching in and helping with something new.
How have your interactions with library staff and other volunteers been?
Some library staff I have known since I was really young–since 3rd or 4th grade. I remember them being there and helping me when I was growing up. Everybody at the library is very willing to help. It feels like home, and you guys are my advisors. Even if someone working at the library is new, I feel like I can always ask staff anything. If they are working at the library, they will be positive and helpful. All my interactions have been very positive.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself traveling the world, reading books, curating art galleries, and hanging out with friends. That is all I want for my future. Hopefully I get there and as long as some of the checklist is checked off, I will be happy.
Advice From Raquel
I would say… come to the library! The library is where you will find your people. There is always someone there for you. I still text and call people I know from the library every day. You can make friends for life at the library–you don't even have to put yourself out there. All you need to do is attend events or show up, and you can meet people, and they will become your friends. Whether it be 15 years or forever, the relationships and people you meet at the library will impact your life. It doesn't matter how short or long you are friends, your friendships are important, and in the end–it will all make a difference in your life. Take the initiative to do new things. It will help you become who you aspire to be.
Teens -- do you have a talent, skill, or passion you would like to share with your community and earn those necessary school/organization community service hours at the same time? GPL could be the perfect place! If you are interested click here for details about Greenburgh Public Library's Teen Virtual VolunTeen Program.