"Volunteering is a great way to improve your self-esteem, learn practical skills, meet new friends, practice time management, and make a difference. "
Michael McCall-Delgado, 14, of Humacao, Puerto Rico, shares his love of books with others by volunteering at the library in the BUCAPLAA Community Center. BUCAPLAA is a cultural center originally created as a meeting area for three urbanizations: Bucaré, Apolo, and Alto Apolo. The center's name is an amalgam of these three sites.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Michael: I volunteer at the San Juan Community Library at BUCAPLAA. I shelve books and catalog newly acquired books by the library for entry into the library book catalog system. I also check out books for patrons and help them with their research. I am an avid reader of science fiction books so I helped create a separate science fiction section at the library.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Michael: The name of the organization I work with is the San Juan Community Library at BUCAPLAA in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Michael: My project is to help maintain the library facilities and to assist in people’s use of the library. I maintain the library facilities by cataloging, checking out, and shelving new books. I facilitate people’s use of the library by helping them find books and research materials. The people that benefit from my service are the library customers, but especially the local low-income customers who have fewer research materials available at their house and have a harder time using a computer to research because they don't own one and have less experience.
What inspired you to get involved?
Michael: My love of books and knowledge inspired me to get involved. I wanted to help people find the right book for them, so they could experience the joy I feel when I read a really good book. I also wanted to help people gain knowledge, and by lending them a hand in their school assignments, they acquire information that they wouldn't have learned otherwise.
How did you first get involved? Through school? Your parents? Give us some details.
Michael: I first got involved by asking the librarian if I could volunteer. She said yes, and I started my training as a volunteer the next Saturday. After two weeks of training I was ready to begin volunteering, and I have done so ever since.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Michael: The best part is helping people find what they need and to see the children’s faces light up when they read the book you found for them.
What is/was the hardest part?
Michael: The hardest part is balancing my volunteer work with my busy schedule and having to leave at the end of the day. I want to keep the library open later and keep helping people.
What was the biggest surprise?
Michael: The amount of time it takes to put up books and cataloging them! I thought that putting up books was easy, but it is really time consuming, as is cataloging new books.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Michael: I have learned how to better manage my time, and I have become more interested in educating others.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Michael: Go for it! Volunteering is a great way to improve your self-esteem, learn practical skills, meet new friends, practice time management, and make a difference.
© Foundation Center
All Rights Reserved.