Volunteer Spotlight – Becky Anderson
At New Chapters our volunteers share our passion to inspire a love of books in at-risk youth. This is the first in a new series for our blog, Volunteer Spotlight, where we ask one of our volunteers a few questions.
Today, we introduce Becky, who joined the New Chapters volunteer team in 2016. As a former junior high language arts teacher, Becky comes to us with an enormous amount of experience with reading, books, and working with young adults. There doesn’t seem to be a young adult book that Becky has not read! Becky currently volunteers nearly every week at the New Chapters library at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, where she and Laurie (another NC volunteer) are committed to keeping the library filled with current, relevant books for the young people who live there. She also fills in as needed at the YESS library. Becky is currently working on setting up a new Book Talk program for our youth. She is a valuable addition to our team, and we are grateful for her big smile and generous heart!
Thank you, Becky, for your time and for your support of the kids and the New Chapters’ mission!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Des Moines originally, and after college at ISU (Go Cyclones!), I came back to central Iowa to stay. After I was married, I stayed home with my four children for 14 years and then began teaching in WDM after my youngest started school. Being a teacher for a total of 22 years was a wonderful experience; I always felt I had a dream job with so many great kids and caring peers (I even had one of my own children as a student—fun memories!). Being a wife, a mom, a grandma, a daughter, a friend, a reader, a traveler, and a volunteer certainly fills my life with a different adventure every day.
How did you get involved with New Chapters?
I owe it all to the power of social media! I knew Stacie but had not known about her recent pursuits until I read a post of hers on FB. She wrote about her desire to promote reading and put books in the hands of kids. Wow. I felt that the feelings she shared were exactly like my own. One coffee date later and that was it; I had to get involved!
What are you most excited about in your volunteer role with New Chapters?
Sharing the love of reading is an experience like no other. Kids who say “I hate to read” really need the one-on-one guidance we can give. It is so important that someone is there to give them this gift. Hearing them admit that “I never liked to read till I read that book you gave me,” is the ultimate reward for all of us.
How has volunteering had an impact on you?
I feel I have come full circle. Being able to combine my love of reading with talking, laughing, and questioning kids is all I have always wanted to do. Many thanks to the women in our small, dedicated group for making this possible.
What is your favorite book?
So many! At the moment, I would say Scythe. Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite young adult authors; his new Arc of a Scythe series is so thought-provoking (check out the book trailer for Scythe on YouTube).
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I try my best to enjoy each day…and read whenever I can!
What do you wish other people knew about New Chapters?
I hope that many people will help spread the word about our efforts for kids, books, and reading in central Iowa. Many supporters donate bookstore or Amazon gift cards; those gifts are SO appreciated—and tax deductible!
About New Chapters Libraries
At New Chapters, our collective passion is to inspire a love of books among at-risk youth. We believe that strong reading skills are essential for every child and that a good book can be very therapeutic and offer a ‘vacation’ from the hardships of everyday life.
New Chapters is committed to making a wide variety of current and high-interest books readily available by creating and refurbishing libraries in residential facilities catering to at-risk children. We also conduct programs aimed at fostering a love of books and increasing reading skills.