For many kids in our community, the Library serves as a place where they can feel welcome to explore, learn and express themselves.
That includes kids like Jeremiah. Early on, Jeremiah wasn’t a fan of the Library, but as a third-grader his mom “strongly encouraged” him to spend time at CLP–West End. Over time, he began talking with other kids and making friends. He started going after school. Then, as often as possible. Suddenly, the Library was cool—it became his go-to place to hang out with his friends.
Jeremiah grew to love the Library so much that as a teenager he became a volunteer Reading Buddy. He helps kids read books or with their homework. Sometimes, they work on a puzzle together or play a board game.
For the kids, having “Mr. Jeremiah” in the space provides lots of opportunities for hanging out and talking. They talk about their days, what they like to do and what’s on their mind.
“I can’t tell you enough about the positive impact Jeremiah had on the kids here,” says Beth Zovko, Youth Services Librarian. “Their faces would light up the minute they walked through the front door and saw him. I think what they appreciate most was his willingness to let them decide how to spend their time and how he brought such genuine enthusiasm to every interaction.”
Due to after-school activities and jobs that eat up a lot of his time, Jeremiah isn’t able to volunteer as much as he’d like to now, but he certainly misses the experience. And the kids he worked with miss him, too!
“I loved that kids looked forward to going to the Library, hanging out and socializing and not being buried in their electronics. It was so cool. And the fact that they still ask if Mr. Jeremiah is here today? Oh man, that kills me. But it’s just so crazy to hear them say that. Because I was pretty sure that a handful of them weren’t really happy with me because I was trying to get them to read,” he laughs.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of neighborhood kids like Jeremiah and for showing you care about the next generation of readers.