Your Community: Work experience and leadership skills for teens

Shawnee Mission Post Sponsor - June 9, 2018 9:22 am

Johnson County Library provides summer volunteering opportunities for students throughout the county. This includes not only a chance to work within the Library and helping with the summer reading program but also an opportunity to gain real work experience and leadership skills. With more than 210 teens volunteers providing over 4,500 hours of service at our thirteen locations, it may seem like an enormous challenge to provide volunteer placement for so many of our county’s youth.

Using Technology to Improve Efficiency
Peggy Hendershot, one of Johnson County Library’s teen volunteer coordinators, created a tier system to help manage and standardize the experience of our teen volunteers. The system ranks teens from tier one — new volunteers learning the ropes — through tier three — experienced volunteers ready for more autonomy and leadership. Tier-three volunteers become mentors to other teens and use their problem-solving skills to improve the program.

When faced with rising numbers of teen volunteer applications and limited space in the program, Syed H., currently a high school senior, developed a waiting list using Google forms and a flyer with a link code. He then taught staff how to access and use the waiting list. This digital waiting list is instrumental for placing additional teen volunteers throughout the summer and school year.

Teens Driving Change
This year, Evanna D., a middle school volunteer worked with Mrs. Hendershot to learn interview and placement evaluation skills. She and two other students applied these skills to interview new volunteer applicants in preparation for the summer program. Evanna didn’t stop there. After interviewing, she identified the need for a better form and criteria for the interview process. Mrs. Hendershot encouraged her to create a new form, which proved to be easier and faster than the previous methods.

“We’re always looking for ways to empower our teens,” Mrs. Hendershot said, “By putting together this form, Evanna learned that her feedback counts and that she’s capable of driving change in an adult environment.”

The teen volunteer program at Johnson County Library is a very popular program and fills up fast. If you would like to learn more about 2019 teen volunteer opportunities, click here.

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