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22 Books in a Single Bound

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

Gisela has been volunteering with the Libraries in Residence program for over 10 years and is well known by staff from the Central Library all the way up to the Nosehill Library. Through the Libraries in Residence Program, library staff select and deliver “mini libraries” to continuing care centres and seniors’ residences. Volunteers host the in-residence libraries or provide “room service” via book trolleys. Volunteers have an opportunity to meet and discuss reading with seniors and people with disabilities who share a passion for reading. Volunteers may be residents of the facility, or individuals who visit the facility on a regular basis.

Library staff remark that Gisela is a regular visitor, ordering books for Bethany residents and has been known to deliver as many as 22 large print books to a single person! Gisela doesn’t volunteer for the glory or the recognition. “If it makes people’s lives a little better, it’s a worthwhile endeavor" is how Gisela puts it.

One Bethany resident said that if Gisela ever left, she would have to follow her, wherever that may be. Fellow Bethany volunteers describe Gisela as unforgettable and Library staff would certainly agree. Thank you Gisela!

"Super-Nanny" to the Rescue!

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

‘Super-Nanny’. That’s how Vivian, age 11 and currently in Gr. 6, and her parents, Daniel and Sandra, refer to Eileen, the volunteer who’s been working with Vivian in the TD Read With Me program since February 2009. For an hour a week during most weeks since then, Vivian and Eileen have met at a Library branch and shared reading in order to help Vivian develop her English literacy skills.

Vivian’s parents Sandra and Daniel are originally from South America and their first language is Spanish. When Vivian first started learning to read in English at school, they were a bit concerned as they felt they couldn’t provide as much help to her at home as they would have liked in this area. They decided to seek extra support for her through the Library's TD Read With Me program.

Enter Eileen and her dedicated, kind and patient help. Daniel explains: "Each week, we met with Eileen and saw Vivian progressing and becoming more confident. We started to notice how much help she was providing to Vivian and even to us, as parents. Vivian is now so confident – she corrects us on our pronunciation in English and sometimes serves as our ‘personal translator’. She also shows a special love for books and a love of learning in general. We feel this development is not only from the school environment, but also because of the friendship with Eileen. This is not just a reading program to us. We have developed a strong relationship with Eileen and we’re grateful for her time and knowledge. It’s more like a family relationship with her, for the whole family." Hence, ‘Super-Nanny’.

Vivian provided her own feedback about working with Eileen in the program:‘"I like being with her because I get a bit of social life with her and I enjoy reading with her. We read books on lots of topics. I like the program of the Library. It’s actually very good. I learned so much from Eileen’s experiences and all the words she’s taught me. It’s helped me in school. Eileen’s really nice and kind and when I don’t get something, she explains it until I get it and she’s a great person."

The feelings are mutual, as Eileen shares: "I've thoroughly enjoyed working with Vivian and her family. She’s kind of filled a gap for me because my grandchildren are all grown-up. I’ve always loved reading. We have fun."

Eileen and Vivian currently comprise the longest-standing match in the program, and they will have been working together for 5 years as of February 2014. What an amazing feat - to build such a strong and enduring bond! Thank you, Eileen, for all the time and energy you have dedicated to volunteering with Calgary Public Library! And best of luck to you, Vivian, in Junior High next fall!

Meet Our Volunteer Ricky!

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

Say Hi to Ricky!

Ricky is one of our superstar Reading Buddies volunteers. Not only has he volunteered for two years with the program, but he was also a Reading Buddies participant when he was younger. "I loved it so much that I came back!"

The Calgary Public Library's Reading Buddies program pairs youth volunteers with children in grades 1-3 to help them develop a life-long love of reading and confidence in their literacy skills.

Ricky enjoys volunteering for Reading Buddies because it is an entertaining and enriching program. As an aspiring teacher this program allows him to work with children and develop their reading abilities. Ricky takes time and care with each of his little buddies, knowing each child is unique in their strengths and interests.

He believes that volunteering is valuable not only for yourself but for your community. "Every volunteer has a meaningful impact on the community, creating a network of support and strengthening the structures of a community each time they decide to give up a bit of their time."

Without volunteers like Ricky, the Reading Buddies program would not be as successful as it is now. Thank you so much for giving up a bit of your time every week. Your hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm make you a valuable member of Calgary Public Library’s volunteer team!

To learn more about becoming a Reading Buddies volunteer please call Jody Watson at 403-221-2062.

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

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