Wanted: 90 local teens by Surrey Libraries for children’s reading program

SURREY Libraries is calling out to teens between the ages of 14 and 18 to volunteer to mentor younger children in the popular Envision Financial Reading Buddies program.

With program registration set to open soon, the Library is searching for 90 local teens eager to step up and help out.

“This is such a rewarding experience for teens,” says Sara Grant, Youth Services Manager at Surrey Libraries. “It’s a great opportunity to build leadership skills, gain volunteer experience, and make a positive impact on the lives of the younger kids.”

Teen volunteers are paired with a Little Buddy – an emergent reader in grades 2 to 4 – and spend one hour each week practicing reading together online using MS Teams. The goal is to help the young readers gain confidence and improve their reading skills.

The program has other benefits too. It can foster a special bond between teens and their Little Buddies. “Teens can be surprised by the connection they make with their Little Buddy,” says Grant. “They discover common interests, have fun playing games, and just enjoy each others company. It’s truly heartwarming.”

There are a lot of Little Buddies eager to sign up for the online program, so Surrey Libraries is hoping to add more registration spots for the upcoming fall session. But to make that happen, the program needs more teen volunteers.

“As a financial cooperative, we truly believe in working, learning, and making a difference together to help our community thrive,” says David Lanphear, President of Envision Financial, the program sponsor. “We want to help encourage our young readers to find the joy in reading, and what better way than to have young leaders in our community work with our Little Buddies.”

Teens interested in volunteering can apply online at surreylibraries.ca/reading-buddies. Applications are now open and no previous experience is necessary. The fall session of Reading Buddies runs for six weeks, October through December, citywide.

Young readers in Grades 2 – 4 interested in becoming a Little Buddy are encouraged to register online starting September 27. Limited spaces are available.

Surrey Libraries has been running the Reading Buddies program since 2004 and over 5,000 teens and Little Buddies have benefited from the program. For more information on Envision Financial Reading Buddies at Surrey Libraries, visit surreylibraries.ca/reading-buddies.

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