Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner
OC Community Resources
OC Public Libraries
Brea Branch Library
ACTION: What does the volunteer do?
Akshay Verma began volunteering at the Brea Branch Library in June 2009, and since that time, he has logged in more than 600 service hours. In addition to volunteer shifts scheduled at the library, Akshay dedicates countless hours at home to creating flyers, preparing for meetings, and sharing library events with other teens on Facebook. He is a founding member of the Brea Library Teen Advisory Board (TAB), and over the years, he has held several other important leadership roles, including coordination of the library’s teen book club, which has become a popular activity under Akshay’s direction.
When the previous TAB president resigned unexpectedly close to two years ago, Akshay was elected president of the organization by a unanimous vote. He successfully kept the group together during a difficult transition and was instrumental in increasing TAB’s membership. As a National Honors Society scholar, school newspaper reporter, and organizer of an extracurricular school club, Akshay has many demands on his time, yet he continues to provide exceptional leadership for TAB members. His dedication, charisma and hard work keep teens involved in library activities and help them to build friendships that extend into the community.
In addition to his involvement with TAB, Akshay volunteered during the summer to assist with several special projects such as organizing a group of teens to move hundreds of picture books to the library’s new PICTUREBK location. He also assisted the librarian with weeding teen books, which involves examining books slated for removal from the library’s collection because they are outdated, haven't been checked out in a number of years or are worn out.
Akshay’s work in support of the Brea Library’s Voices & Visions program has been significant. Voices & Visions is a monthly contest for Orange County teens showcasing their creative works of prose, poetry, art and film. A new theme is announced at the beginning of each month, with entries due by the last day of the month. Akshay has submitted several entries on his own and has actively challenged other teens in three library groups to submit their entries as well. When two teens were selected to appear on the community cable access show to promote Voices & Visions, Akshay was the library’s first choice. He shared the program with viewers and read one of his poems on camera. His enthusiasm in discussing Voices & Visions assisted library staff in achieving a successful cable appearance.
NEED: What community or agency need does the volunteer address?
Akshay’s involvement has enhanced the library’s efforts in establishing itself as an essential part of the community. The Brea Library is committed to serving all members of its community, regardless of age. Through his volunteer endeavors, Akshay partners with staff to demonstrate to local teens the great activities, opportunities for personal enrichment, and tremendous resources available at the Brea Library.
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteer's service?
Prior to TAB’s implementation, there were no teen programs at the Brea Library, and there were few teens using the library. Thanks in large part to Akshay, the library currently offers three successful teen programs that schedule a total of five meetings per month. Now, there is a noticeable increase in the number of teens using the library, because of its welcoming environment and great resources. Previously, few students visited the library after school on weekdays, but that’s not the case today. The library has become a hub of activity for teens who fill the tables in the late afternoon while working on homework assignments and school projects.
INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteer unique/special?
Although he is still a teenager, Akshay is a very mature and extremely reliable person. He relates well to people of all ages and clearly understands why teen programs are important to both the library and the community. He excels as a leader and eagerly shares his enthusiasm for the library with others. Akshay’s high level of volunteer participation along with the positive impact of his efforts are truly inspirational and worthy of our highest recognition.
Thank you and congratulations to Akshay Verma, recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Volunteerism Award!
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