At our 10th birthday party on 19 November Louis Howell, a young person who has been involved with our youth work in libraries for a number of years, gave this entertaining speech.
My main reason for being here is actually to inform everyone that I recently passed my driving test ... only joking, but I would like to use the metaphor of driving.
I joined the slip road of the Reading Agency when I first volunteered to support the Summer Reading Challenge in Lewisham library in 2010. I had to build up some serious speed to be able to match the enthusiastic and honestly quite refreshing children who I would see when they came into the library.
Although my primary role in the position as a Summer Reading Challenge Champion was to support the children in the process of reading their six books, once I had hit fifth gear I was capable of doing so much more. From helping them to read, to getting them rewards for their progress and signing new people up I knew I was indicating that reading lots is definitely the lane to be in. It was a truly invaluable experience. I must commend The Reading Agency though for the programme, I've seen it make a really big difference to children who don't have books or are not encouraged to read at home.
Since that summer I've now moved into the fast lane and I've been able to use my experience to go on and do further volunteering, get involved in other youth projects, give a House of Commons speech at a Reading Agency event, work with one of the sponsors of the Summer Reading Challenge and most recently get a job in youth participation for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
The support I've had and the opportunities that have been provided for me by The Reading Agency have definitely ensured that my engine runs smoothly for the whole journey. I must stop now as I can see the sign for my exit ... Junction 9 for the next road to success.
Find out how you can benefit from volunteering opportunities in the ways described by Louis on our volunteering page.