It All Comes Back to Annika
Within the vibrant walls of Cole Harbour Public Library, an energetic atmosphere thrives, thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of devoted volunteers like Annika Koelsch. A 15-year-old high school student, Annika is not only an active participant in various programs but also a passionate advocate for cultivating connections within the Library community. As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week, let's delve into Annika's story and discover the ways her diverse interests and talents have positively influenced the lives of Library patrons.
"I initially began volunteering for Creativity Action Service hours required by my International Baccalaureate program," Annika shares. "But I fell in love with the Library community and its volunteering programs."
Annika's volunteer work spans multiple programs, such as Leading Readers, Makers Gonna Make, and the Creative Doers program, which involves designing book displays and painting windows. Despite occasional scheduling conflicts, she also contributes to the GSA events as an unofficial volunteer.
Through volunteering, Annika has developed numerous friendships and strengthened her connections with fellow students.
"It's not just the volunteering that bonds us, but also the Library itself. We share similar experiences, which creates a strong sense of community," she says.
One memorable instance that reflects this camaraderie occurred during a Makers Gonna Make session, where Annika's friend and fellow volunteer Elisa helped her clean up after a messy, yet enjoyable, witch's brew experiment.
Annika's experience has not only nurtured friendships but also fostered personal growth.
"Volunteering at the Library has boosted my confidence in my decision-making skills and ideas," she explains. "The volunteers are given a lot of freedom, and our ideas are embraced and genuinely considered."
This newfound self-assurance has even led Annika to pitch a new sewing class program at the Library, which is currently in the planning stages.
Whether it's suggesting a new program or proposing a book display, she believes that taking the initiative can lead to positive outcomes.
"Don't be afraid to share your ideas,” says Annika. “At the very least, they will be genuinely considered.”
As Volunteer Appreciation Week unfolds, Annika reflects on her personal growth and the priceless lessons she has gained during her time at the Library.
"I've gained a lot of confidence and a better understanding of how to contribute ideas without fear," she says. "This experience will be beneficial in future interviews, college applications, and beyond."
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of volunteering, Annika highlights the supportive environment and the fun, engaging nature of the programs, encouraging others to join in on the fun:
"I really enjoy working with kids, and the Library offers a wonderful experience. If you're thinking about volunteering, just do it—you won't regret it."
In honour of dedicated volunteers like Annika Koelsch, we recognize the enduring impact they have on the lives of those who frequent the Library. Through their diverse talents and unwavering commitment to fostering connections, these exceptional individuals transform our branches, like Cole Harbour Library, into sanctuaries of learning, inspiration, and community.