What is a Teen Advisory Board? Often abbreviated TAB, it is a group of teens ranging in age from 6th grade to 12th, who are interested in becoming more involved in their community through their local library. The goals of this group are to give young people a voice for change, help them feel connected to the library and become lifelong library users, build leadership skills, job skills, teach responsibility and give opportunities for community service.
At the VFW National Home for Children, we have had a Teen Advisory Board for the past three years, and it has continued to grow in popularity with our close-knit campus population. They meet about every two months in the relaxed environment of our campus library to eat pizza and discuss the next few months of library activities using informal parliamentary procedure. During these meetings, the teens help to brainstorm, schedule, plan, and prepare for reading events on campus. They also take this time to make repairs to damaged books and shelve them.
The reading events that they plan are centered around a theme for the month. For example, In November, the theme was focused on being thankful, the book was “The Giving Tree,” and all of the activities surrounding the book reading were about serving others.
One of the most popular events on campus is called Chocolate Olympics! It's a fun event full of chocolatey themed activities such as pie eating contests, and relay races designed to pull kids from the community into the library and peak their interests in getting involved.
In addition to serving their community, the National Home teens also feel the importance of helping our nation's military. The National Home is a patriotic community because of our residents are here because of the service of a family member. This year they are showing their support to the military by gathering and preparing items to be sent overseas to deployed troops through Operation Shoebox. They have also collected donations through a can drive and supplied items for the local Blue Star Mothers Chapter.
And that’s really what the Teen Advisory Board is all about, the service of others. These young adults, taking time out of their lives to come together and plan fun, informational events for younger kids and bringing their passion for the library and their love of country to their meetings.