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A Match Made in Canada

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

'I really liked working with Sharon because she helped me a lot if I had trouble and helped me sound words out. She’s nice.’

Strong praise from Brian, a Grade 6 student and recent graduate of the TD Read With Me program. He was speaking of Sharon Dun, the volunteer with whom he has worked in the program since December 2009. As of his graduation date in mid-June, Sharon and Brian comprised the 4th longest-standing match in the program. Matches in the TD Read With Me program meet one-on-one in a Library branch for an hour per week, so the participants can receive support around building their literacy skills from the volunteers, and it is a rare (and kindred) match that stays together for 3.5 years!

Sharon started with the program in February 2009 and worked for about six months with another young reader before she met Brian and his family. She is a kind, caring and fun individual with a wonderful sense of humour and she works hard to connect with and engage her young students in their sessions together each week.

Sharon relates:‘It’s been a great experience for me…I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been very rewarding, in many aspects. Brian’s family has been so involved, supportive and encouraging of Brian. I’ve felt really appreciated. I’m impressed with how much Brian has improved with his reading and self-confidence. It’s been really neat to watch him grow and learn.’

Inju and Kang Chul, Brian’s parents, wanted to voice their esteem for Sharon as well:‘We really appreciate Sharon coming every week and helping Brian. He enjoys the Library sessions with her because she makes things fun. We feel it’s really great that Sharon volunteers her time- it’s not the case as much [that people volunteer] in Korea, where we’re from, so it’s really incredible and we’re thankful.’

Thank you, Sharon, for all the amazing help you’ve provided to Brian in the TD Read With Me program! Best of luck to you in junior high, Brian!

Pictured above: Volunteer Sharon Dun, Learner Brian, and parents Inju and Kang Chul

Learning Advantage and the Gift of Giving

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

Volunteers with the Calgary Public Library's Learning Advantage program provided learner Peter Sang with one-on-one coaching to improve his English skills and achieve his goals.

"As an adult learner with low English skills there was a huge gap between what I learned back home and the expectations here in Canada. English was the most difficult subject for me and I never thought I would pass.

After getting one-on-one coaching from Learning Advantage volunteers for almost two and a half years, my English improved significantly. I passed the English 30-1 diploma exam. I am motivated and positive about the future. I’m proud to say that I successfully completed my high school upgrading and I am now eligible to enroll in SAIT and Mount Royal.

My volunteers’ great work inspires me to help people. It is important to help my Canadian community and my people back home. I also want to be a good role model to my children, teaching them the gift of giving. I can’t wait to give back to the country that welcomed me and my family with open arms." - Peter Sang

Pictured: Volunteer Alex Burton and learner Peter Sang

Resume Tips from a Career Coach

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

Given that the average Canadian changes jobs a minimum of 8 times in their lifetime, there is always a need to keep resumes sharp and ready to go. Resumes need to be flexible, adaptable, and able to meet the demands of each new opportunity.

This might help explain the steady growth of the Calgary Public Library’s Career Coaching program, now running at five locations throughout the City. The volunteers are a stellar and experienced group, drawing from years of experience in industry and non profits. The Central Library’s Thursday evening sessions have been going for more than 10 years, and I spoke with one of our newest additions to the team and asked Jillian to share her thoughts and a bit of wisdom:

Jillian, you have been volunteering now for over a year with the Library’s Career Coaching program. What attracted you to the position and why did you decide to volunteer?

I initially applied to be a Career Coach in order to find a volunteer opportunity that would utilize my skills in a setting where I could really be hands on. After a few sessions the CPL program quickly became something that I looked forward to on a monthly basis. The program reaches various demographics of customers who are so grateful for the assistance given in finding meaningful employment. The coaches, Library staff and participants are an incredible group of people to work with.

What is the one piece of advice for job searchers who are trying to make their resumes stand out from the rest?

Keep your resume professional and as relevant to the job posting as possible. The screening process isn’t always completed by the direct manager, so it is important to customize your resume to match key skills and words in the job posting. This will give you a better chance of having it selected during the process. If you’re under qualified, try to highlight any transferable skills you’ve attained in previous jobs, school or volunteer positions in your profile.

Jillian, we have had questions from customers about creating YouTube video promotionals or video resumes about themselves, to help showcase who they are. In your role as a Human Relations Generalist with private and public industry experience, have you ever come across this, or would you recommend it?

I’ve come across it a few times and I would only recommend it if the applicant understood that this type of application aligned with the organizations hiring practices. For more creative and progressive companies this style might catch a hiring manager’s interest. It’s important to have your first impression come across as being professional while not relying too heavily on gimmicks to differentiate your application from others.

What one resume book would you recommend to job searchers?

Best Canadian Resumes and Best Canadian Covers Letters is a great series!

Any parting words?

My general advice for all of these activities is to use the services from this program. Having a resume critiqued, going through a mock interview and getting advice from a Coach will give the best feedback customized for that person.

- Jillian was interviewed by Roberta Kuzyk-Burton, the Library’s Community Learning Advocate for Careers at the Central Library

2013 Volunteer Recognition Event

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

On April 19th we held our annual Volunteer Recognition Event - an evening meant to celebrate the amazing contribution Calgary Public Library volunteers make to library programs and in Calgary communities. Over 500 volunteers, guests and staff attended this year and enjoyed an awards ceremony and following reception with food, cake, and music.

Thanks to everyone that helped make it a fantastic night, and thanks to all Calgary Public Library volunteers!

Photos: John Dutton Volunteer of the Year Award Winner, Jane Baker (left); Professional Support Award Winners, Central Library's Career Coaching Strategic Networking team

Meet Our New Volunteer Adam!

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

Adam is just one of our 15 amazing Math Minds volunteers. Math Minds is a 14 week math tutoring program designed for children in grades one through six. Funded by Canadian Oil Sands Limited, the Math Minds program is a collaborative partnership aimed at improved numeracy throughout Calgary.

Currently in his 4th year in the University of Calgary’s General Mathematics program, Adam plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Economics. He has an obvious talent for numeracy and he knows what strategies will be effective. What makes Adam special is his dedication and ability to connect to his students. His friendly and engaging manner allows the learner to feel confident and willing to learn. Adam has not only recruited other volunteers to the program, but he has filled in for these volunteers when they have been ill. Adam has also volunteered in the World Partnership Walk, Cancer Society's Relay For Life, and Volunteer Eco Student Aboard (VESA).

When asked why he volunteers, Adam replied “I volunteer because it's important to give back to the community in any capacity that you can. In the past, I did a lot of fundraising for different organizations and as I have gotten older I have developed a new capacity to give back, which is the passing on of knowledge. Knowledge is the most vital resource in this technological age that I feel it is the best thing to give back to the community. I especially enjoy volunteering in the Math Minds Program because I love to see when students are able to connect seemingly unrelated ideas together or when they smile after realizing that Math doesn't have to be as difficult as people play it out to be.”

If your child is experiencing difficulties in mathematics, the Canadian Oil Sands Ltd Math Minds program offered by the Calgary Public Library could be the solution. Check out the links below for information on our summer program.

http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/about-us/volunteer/volunteer-programs/canadian-oil-sands-math-minds

Meet three of our Reading Buddies volunteers!

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

Meet Emma!

Emma is an energetic and devoted volunteer who likes to give back to the community by participating in the Reading Buddies program. She fell in love with the program after her very first session where she helped her shy little buddy improve his reading skills and explore different genres of books. “My favourite part of Reading Buddies is going out into the library and choosing books because I can hear the improvement when the little buddies read aloud and choose new book topics.”

Emma found helping children discover a love for reading a very rewarding experience and has been a Big Buddy for over a year.

Without volunteers like Emma the Reading Buddies program would not be as successful as it is now. Emma, thank you so much for all the hard work and enthusiasm you bring with you ever time you come to Reading Buddies!

Meet Kiran!

Kiran has been a volunteer with the Calgary Public Library since the summer of 2011 and over the past year and a half she has since volunteered for every youth volunteer program and countless special events! She enjoys volunteering because she considers it to be a unique opportunity that contributes to her self-esteem and confidence. It also helps her build leadership skills and life experience. “I think putting a little time in for volunteering and gaining some valuable skills whether personal or practical is a good asset for the future. Giving back to the community makes you feel accomplished in a way.” Kiran’s favourite part of volunteering for Reading Buddies is the mentorship aspect of the program and sharing great books with her Little Buddies.

Thank you Kiran, for your flexibility, enthusiasm and teamwork! You are a truly valuable member of the Calgary Public Library’s team of youth volunteers!


Meet Richard!

Richard comes from a long line of dedicated Reading Buddies volunteers. He has been participating in the program for over 2 years and genuinely enjoys working with his Little Buddy, whoever that may be. This session, Richard has fostered a strong bond with his buddy and the pair can be seen during buddy reading time having more fun with books than anyone else in the library. Richard always has a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone, endearing him to both the Little Buddies and fellow volunteers. He goes the extra mile by sharing treats with the group, fostering the fun and welcoming environment that Reading Buddies strives to provide for participants and volunteers.

Thank you Richard for your dedication and hard work! Volunteers like you are what make Calgary Public Library such a great place to be!

To learn more about volunteering for the Reading Buddies program and other youth volunteer opportunities please contact Katie at 403-221-2036 or katie.radke@calgarypubliclibrary.com.

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