Since summer 2010 Samuel has been a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Horsham Library in West Sussex. Here he tells us about his experiences as a volunteer, and explains how the project has helped him improve his CV and boost his confidence.
My volunteering experience
I first heard about Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) volunteering after my younger sister did it in 2009. I had been at college doing IT and catering courses and had started job hunting. I was looking for anything customer oriented, in a shop or a hotel, so I thought it would be good experience, and decided to give it a try the next year.
I'm the one who sits at the books table in the library; I explain to the children how the SRC works, and when they bring books back I talk to them about what they have read, and give them their incentives - things like themed scratch and sniff stickers that are tied to a different theme each year - and then when they have completed the Challenge I give them their medals or certificates.
I really enjoy it. I have always been keen on books and reading and I have worked in the past with disabled children, so it's a good combination, and great for my CV.
Our library is pretty busy in the summer when the kids are not at school and have no homework. I get to meet a wide range of people, some of whom I know already but most of them are people I don't know. When I first did it, I was a bit nervous, but it does help you improve your confidence.
Books have been around a lot longer than computers and games, but so many kids today just play computer games. Books are there to be read, but what with all of today's technological advances, in the years to come kids might not even know what a book looks like! It's nice to see the children get really into the books they are reading; certainly there are some interesting stories they tell me about what they have read and what they have liked, and about the characters in the book which they have started to get into. I think talking about what they have read helps the kids to understand better what the book is about.
I would say that SRC volunteering is a great way to get to work with people in a public place, and to get some customer service skills. And it's brilliant fun!
Interested in building your CV through volunteering or like the idea of meeting new friends whilst helping out at your local library? Find out more about Reading Activists and what you can do for yourself and for your local community.
If you've been volunteering this summer tell us about your experiences on our facebook page or contact Claire Styles on firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature your story on our website too.