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Juniors volunteer at Clearview Library, gain experience

Shyre Hodson
Avis Skinner (11) checks progress on the book she was waitlisted on in the teen gaming room with open access computers. Skinner regularly donates time at the Windsor-Severance Clearview Library as a member of the teen volunteer program.

From cleaning up and organizing to late nights helping out little kids, the Windsor-Severance Clearview Library volunteers are clearly here to work hard.

Although there are fewer volunteers than many initially think, the special few who do lend a hand are hard-working and committed to their ethics. Avis Skinner (11) has gained experience by building out-of-school connections through volunteering at the Clearview Library.

“(On the day I was signing up) there was a book club that night, and I totally had these stereotypes in my head about the people who were going to be there,” Skinner said. The book being read was the graphic novel “Heartstopper,” which immediately piqued Skinner’s interest. Although she had already read it, she wanted the opportunity to share thoughts and opinions with someone else who was familiar with the novel. 

She has been volunteering for over a year now, coming in at 14 months and counting. Skinner explains how getting her start at Clearview has inspired her to continue her journey of stepping in and giving a helping hand where needed.

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Two children read books in the teen game room at the Windsor-Severance Clearview Library on Jan. 28. The library offers a quiet, comfortable space and many free programs for community members to participate in. (Shyre Hodson)

In addition to volunteering at the library, she chooses to expand her volunteer hours with projects such as being a timer during Knowledge Bowl tournaments. “It feels good to help other people without getting anything in return. They always end up being so fun. Volunteering at the library is relaxing and Knowledge Bowl is always a blast,” Skinner said. 

Getting started is easy with a simple sign-up sheet or even a few clicks on the library’s website.

“If you want to volunteer, there is a form you can fill out under (the ‘About Us’ button). You just put your name, email, and phone number so the head of the teen volunteer program can contact you,” Sarah Willenbrecht explained. 

Willenbrecht is a customer service associate at the library; the teen volunteer adviser is Amy McFadden. Some of Willenbrecht’s duties include checking books in and out, shelving material and helping library visitors. “There is a certain amount of time you need to be an official volunteer,” Willenbrecht said.

Being an official volunteer may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really nothing outrageous: just simple tasks to show commitment, such as organizing shelves, making buttons for local businesses and helping other departments prepare for their programs. Willenbrecht says an interview takes place to make sure no chaos ensues in the cozy reading environment.

These are resin projects volunteers made as bookmarks, coasters and decorative pieces. Students who volunteer at the library participate in a wide range of activities. (Shyre Hodson)

It doesn’t stop there. Kimberlin Cohen (11) has also stepped forward and put time toward the activities. Cohen joined later but that has not stopped them from being completely involved. Thanks to the help of Skinner, they got to work quickly and has made quite an impact.

Now a happy trio, Skinner, Cohen and McFadden — or as McFadden likes to call themselves: “the dream team” — work together to build community in the local library.

“I enjoy getting to watch parents wrangle their children,” Cohen said. Skinner added, with a laugh, “It is literally like, are you gonna solve this? Or am I?”

That being said, working with young children is definitely in the job description. It’s not just shelf stocking; according to these volunteers, it’s also a whole lot of fun. The latest project Skinner and Cohen did was participating in the library’s holiday carnival event.  There was an outdoor mania of games for young children to participate in.

“We stood by a bouncy castle and kept the kids safe … and then we proceeded to jump on it as well,” Cohen said. 

Signing up is completely free of charge and is a great way to get involved in the Windsor-Severance community.

Cohen and Skinner encourage people to join them in making the library a fun and safe place for children and adults of all ages to get their excitement out all year-around.   

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Shyre Hodson
Shyre Hodson, Reporter
Shyre Hodson is a junior at Windsor High School with a passion for writing! She is involved in the after-school theater program as the assistant director. She aims to be in the film industry after her academic career.
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