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by Christine P - 7 Comment(s)

Filza is one of the newest additions to our team of youth volunteers and we are very happy to have her! She began volunteering just over a month ago and has since been hooked; in just a short period of time she has been involved with CyberSeniors Connect, Computer Buddies and ESL Teen Talk.

Filza enjoys volunteering because it gives her the opportunity to communicate with members of the community. “The greatest part of volunteering is that you are able to interact with a diverse group of participants and are able to help the community strive to accomplish a goal.”

Over spring break Filza volunteered for ESL Teen Talk, a program where youth English language learners can practice their language skills while enjoying conversation, fun activities and interaction with peer volunteers. She obviously enjoyed her time: “In the ESL Teen Talk program it was amazing how there were people from eleven different countries gathered into one room. Despite our differences we were all able to unite as a collective group and were successfully able to interact and make friends. This program is unlike any other in the sense that a bond was created among the group. My favorite part is that the volunteers and the participants are not only comfortable in sharing one and others ideas, but are also encouraging and appreciating each other.”

If you are interested in learning more about our youth volunteer opportunities click here.

Buddy Up!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

What happens when you bring together the curiosity of a young student and the enthusiasm of a teen volunteer? Computer Buddies!

Computer Buddies is a long-standing program at the Calgary Public Library. It started in 2002, pairing teen volunteers with students in Grades 1-6. Since then, hundreds of young buddies and just as many teen volunteers have been involved every season.

With an emphasis on safe surfing and fun projects, the Buddies tackle Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as keyboarding, math games, and creating online comics.

Become a big buddy today! Click here to find out more about volunteering with Computer Buddies.

If you are the parent of a younger child (Grades 1–6), you can register your child for Computer Buddies here.

Great Kids in our Midst

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

It’s not too often that a young Calgarian gets to shake hands with our Premier. At the Fantasyland Hotel Ballroom on October 16th, Aminah Farzana got to do just that.

Aminah was one of 16 recipients from around the province (and one of just four in her age category) to receive a Great Kids Award for 2010. These Awards are given by the Government of Alberta to recognize youth who demonstrate compassion, determination, courage, generosity, and strength of spirit. (You can learn more about the Great Kids Awards here and watch a video of the ceremony here.)

A frequent volunteer with the Calgary Public Library, Aminah was a natural choice for this nomination and we are so pleased she was selected as a winner! She’s made quite an impact on the world around her already.

Aminah came to Canada at the age of seven. Returning to Bangladesh at age ten for a visit, Aminah was struck by the poverty there. "This experience made me thankful to be in Canada, because although my mom was from a middle class family, my dad grew up in a very poor family. My dad managed to break the cycle of poverty through education, and he inspired me to take education more seriously. Now, I'm a firm believer of 'the pen is mightier than the sword' and I hope to engage myself in a profession that will allow me to give back to the society that I am a part of, and that is part of me."

The Library has four programs supported by youth volunteers, and Aminah has volunteered with all four. She has been a technology coach for young children and seniors alike, tailoring lessons to differing ages and skills levels. A self-described "big fan of books", Aminah has shared this fondness with younger readers. More recently, she has led engaging activities for her newcomer peers, encouraging them to develop their spoken English in ESL Teen Talk.

Throughout her volunteer career, Aminah has had a hand in opening the door to new worlds of education, inspiration, and enjoyment.She has found volunteering to be beneficial for herself as well as those she helps. "The hours I put into volunteering give me a sense of fulfillment because I'm doing something productive by helping others."

Aminah's contributions don't stop there. Active in her school community, Aminah is a valued member of the Social Justice Club. Her commitment to thoughtfully living her values, sharing her views respectfully, and hearing others with the same respect, has made an impression on her teachers and fellow students. Her Social Studies teacher has this to say:

“Over the course of the last two years, Aminah has become an active citizen trying to raise awareness and arouse action in relation to her passion for ending discrimination and prejudice. In particular, she spearheaded and spent countless hours on a ‘Safe Classrooms’ campaign in which she designed, created and then posted ceiling-to-floor posters which depict the various religions, ethnicities, gender and sexual identifications represented at our high school. This visible demonstration against the marginalization of minorities got students and teachers alike talking about who makes up our communities and what it means to be a global, engaged citizen.”

Along with a sleek statue for her memento shelf, Aminah received a new IBM ThinkPad laptop, a gift certificate for her and her family to enjoy the attractions at West Edmonton Mall, and other gifts.

Congratulations, Aminah!!

A Stellar Volunteer!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

“Ella is so kind.”

“Ella is super-positive.”

“She is soooo nice.”

These are a few of the rave reviews that youth volunteer Ella Li has received lately. Animated and light-hearted, Ella has an easy laugh that brightens the room.

In Summer 2009 Ella joined the Calgary Public Library volunteer team and she’s been brightening up program rooms and computer labs ever since! Ella heard about the Library’s volunteer programs from her friend Zoey and thought it would be “a very good chance to experience something new”. As a Computer Buddy, Ella helps younger buddies develop computer skills. Through fun projects and activities, they practice safe Internet searching and Microsoft Office programs like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Ella says, “I love to be around children, especially the energetic ones. Watching them laugh makes me really fulfilled.”

In Summer 2010 Ella tried out another program. “I really enjoy the ESL Teen Talk program. I met lots of new people, they are really fun and nice to be around. Once we played a game [that] involved earning points. I remember my group was scared to answer the hard questions at first, but after half an hour we were all in a really hyper mood. Even the most quiet people raised their hands to answer. We couldn't wait to answer the next question. Everybody was so involved, because we all worked together.” All that teamwork was for the best – her team won the game, and became better friends too.

Ella has many interests, including badminton, tennis, art, calligraphy, and guitar. Besides volunteering with the Calgary Public Library she has also volunteered helping young children at Chinese school.

Thank you, Ella, for bringing laughter and fun to the Library’s youth volunteer programs!