Back in grade 3, Matthew Tse signed up for the Computer Buddies program through Calgary Public Library and the experience altered the course of his young life.
“I remember when I was one of those small buddies, not knowing anything about computers,” says Matthew. “My big buddy taught me everything I wanted to know and more. It was probably one of the best things that had happened in those dreary elementary school days. And so, I like to share with all my ‘little buddies’ this awesome feeling that I had felt when I was their age.”
Soon to start Grade 10 at Western Canada High School, Matthew has been volunteering with the library for three years in the Computer Buddies program.
Along with his early positive foray into volunteer supported programs at the Library, his two older siblings spoke highly of their own experience as Library Volunteers. With his mom’s encouragement, Matthew filled out the Volunteer Application.
“It’s fun. I meet new people, and I learn new things through coaching,” shares Matthew. “Kids are used to using iPhones, not computers, so it’s great to see their typing improve and to see them having fun learning.”
With a love of math and science, Matthew feels that being able to volunteer in a program that matches his interests is more like an extension of his hobbies. While it can be a balancing act to make his schedule work, he believes that it’s not about finding time; it’s about planning ahead and enjoying what he does with every moment of his time.
Matthew is not alone. Forty-five per cent of Library Volunteers are between the ages of 12-17. Together with their adult counterparts, they contribute 53,000+ volunteer hours annually and so much more. “I want to demonstrate values like love, patience, commitment, and determination. I show these by patiently coaching my little buddies, and helping them with any challenges they face."