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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!

A 'Real' Book!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

TD Sparks uses the library once a week, and was intrigued when he saw an advertisement for Living Library volunteers. He explains, “It was painless to volunteer. I just clicked on the website.”

The Living Library works exactly like your local library – readers can borrow a “book”. The difference is: books in the Living Library are people, “living books,” with whom the reader can have a conversation.

This unique program enables people to ask the questions they have always wanted to ask and to share stories about their personal experiences in a safe and welcoming environment.

TD’s book title is Recovering from Addiction and Alcoholism: 17 years and counting and reflects his personal history as a former foster child and his journey through addiction recovery. TD says his story has two main features: it's about ending the patterns of a life of addiction and abuse, and it is also about discovering success in the performing art of magic and balloon sculpting. TD used magic as "occupational therapy" channeling the negative energy of his addictions into the positive energy of performing. Sixteen years later he is still clean and sober and performing has become his day job. One reader commented, “The honesty was overwhelming. The half hour was packed with useful information. I gained a deeper understanding of addiction. Wonderful program!” Another reader also gave TD a glowing review, “Wonderful experience, well-spoken, well-informed and the sort of book in which only the ‘real’ McCoy will do! He was ‘experience talking’. It doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks TD”

TD believes society should not turn their eyes away from any issue, or hide behind closed doors, because we will not be able to solve problems by not dealing with them. His willingness to share his struggles make his book quite popular and at the first Living Library program at Fish Creek he was ‘checked out’ all day. TD has even been interviewed by CBC Radio during a Living Library at the Central library and by Global TV. TD Sparks not only exemplifies the best qualities of a volunteer, he is also an amazing advocate for Calgary Public Library and all its services.

Thank you TD!

Volunteer Recognition Event April 23, 2010

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Congratulations to our Volunteer Award Winners for 2010:

25 Years of Service- Robert High

Career Coaching- Janeen Scott

Computer Buddies- Julia Schade

Computer Technology- Liela Chan and Peggy Jubien

ESL Conversation Club- Barry Simpkins

Homebound Readers- Carol Sinclair

Homework Help- Kim Koch

Libraries in Residence- Nellie Wojtaszek

TD Read With Me- Joan Buhr

Reading Advantage-Fiona Pinnel

Reading Buddies- Charanpreet Gill

Spanish Conversation Club-William Jiménez

Family Award- Carlos Vidal Wu and Susana Lui Colan

John Dutton Volunteer of the Year:

Gloria Rasmussen

Gerry Meek, CEO of Calgary Public Library, with Gloria Rasmussen and Jamie Niessen, Chair of the Calgary Public Library Board.

From English to Spanish

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

With welcoming smiles and genuine empathy, Clara Galvan and Arturo Gutierrez have a way of setting people at ease. The husband and wife team are the motivating force behind the Spanish Conversation Club at Fish Creek. Instantly charming and disarming, Arturo and Clara are blessed with ebullient personalities and caring natures. Helping Spanish language learners to flourish and gain confidence comes naturally for them!

Part of their success lies in the fact that they have been on the other side of the table as well. Clara and Arturo began as participants in the ESL Conversation Club shortly after emigrating from Mexico. Through the ESL Conversation Club, they honed their English language skills and made new friends along the way.

When Spanish Conversation Club started up at Fish Creek Library, the two were a natural fit as volunteers. The move from participant to volunteer was seamless. Clara and Arturo had been inspired to give back and to enrich their community in their own way.

We at the Calgary Public Library would like to take this opportunity to thank Clara and Arturo for their heartfelt contribution. With their assistance, Spanish Conversation Club has been a great success!

The Niceties of ESL Conversation Club

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Since Fall 2003, Mary Craig has contributed 165 hours to a number of volunteer programs at the Calgary Public Library. From ESL Conversation Club to Proctoring, her presence is felt across the system. However, what sets Mary apart is that she may be the nicest volunteer you will encounter at the Calgary Public Library.

In the ESL Conversation Club, Mary's pleasant demeanor makes her an extremely approachable individual. This is of the utmost importance in this program as a positive, nurturing environment helps participants to build confidence in their English language skills. Moreover, participants draw upon Mary’s devotion and loyalty to the program – bolstering their own enthusiasm. These traits, in conjunction with her extensive experience as a teacher, have proven invaluable to the ESL Conversation Club at the Central Library.

Yet to Mary, her motivations for volunteering are simple: it’s because she enjoys it. The volunteer opportunities at Calgary Public Library offer unique interactions with a variety of individuals; the happiness and enlightenment Mary derives from these interactions fuel her own passions. Mary Craig is the embodiment of a stellar volunteer. Through her commitment and contributions she has made a tremendous difference in the lives of others!

VESL Volunteer Highlights Fall 2009

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Memorial Park ESL Conversation Club - Pam and Linda center

The success of the ESL Conversation Club at the Calgary Public Library lies in the hands of its volunteers. It is through these individuals that we are capable of fostering a positive environment for new Calgarians. Pam Hansen and Linda Zaferis are two such individuals. Drawing upon her skills and experience as a teacher in New Zealand, Pam leads the Club with calm assurance. To her, the participants are an inspiration – their ability to persevere whilst adapting to a new environment and culture is unique. While Linda, with her fresh and effervescent personality is the perfect foil. Her openness and enthusiasm make the session’s fun for everyone. Linda comments that at times the participants are the actual teachers; their courage, tenacity, and humor in the face of adversity is something that we all can learn from. Both are a pleasure to work with and are passionately committed volunteers. Calgary Public Library, and Memorial Park, are extremely fortunate to have Pam and Linda as part of our Volunteer family.

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