FCCLA earns library volunteer award

Members of the Hermiston High School FCCLA club enjoy dinner after the club and its advisor were named the Hermiston Public Library's Volunteer of the Year.

For years, members of the Hermiston High School FCCLA —Family, Community and Career Leaders of America — have manned booths at the Hermiston Public Library’s seasonal parties, dishing out snacks, painting nails and adding prizes to fishing poles for younger children.

Thursday, the library recognized the club for its service when it named the Hermiston High School FCCLA and advisor Susie Cobb as Volunteer of the Year.

“They’ve been here and helped out with several of our parties, they’ve done puppet shows, summer reading,” said Sue Folsom, library volunteer coordinator. “They’ve been really solid volunteers, and we wanted to show them how much we appreciate that.”

The high school club has volunteered at library events for the past three or four years, Cobb said, but has consistently stepped up for events in the past year and a half. In some cases, the club will draft 15 volunteers, which can fully staff a library children’s event.

In addition to helping out the library, the volunteer hours help the high school students interact with younger children and put classroom skills to practice.

“This is a great way to connect literacy in the classroom level at the high school with kids growing up. They can see what the beginning stages of reading are because a lot of the time, the kids at the parties are anywhere from age 2 or 3 to 10,” Cobb said. “This is a way for them to learn future skills, to have fun and to make an impact. I’m totally surprised because we didn’t do this for recognition, but it’s great for the high school students to see that they can have an impact.”

For the students, volunteer highlights include helping the community, spending time with friends and seeing children smile.

“All the parties are really fun,” club member Cristal Jaime said. “You get to interact with kids, play games, make crafts. Sometimes it’s hard to choose which (station) to help with.”

Other students agreed, although applying temporary tattoos and making Christmas ornaments were listed as popular activities.

“I like it because you get to teach and be hands-on,” Gaby Villegas said. “I like seeing the kids have a good time, and if they like the station, they’ll come back. It gives you a good feeling.”

Thursday, Folsom surprised the club with the announcement, prizes and snacks.

“You don’t know how much of an impact you’ve made at the library,” Folsom told the students. “You always come and you’re so full of energy and so good with the kids that we just wanted to say thank you. You’ve been a blessing, and we look forward to seeing what you will do in the future.”

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