For Innisfail Junior Senior High School graduate Taelynn Graham, the challenge isn’t finding a volunteer opportunity she’s involved in, it’s trying to find one she isn’t.
From sports to music and volunteering as a student tutor, the 17-year-old part-time Innisfail Public Library employee has been giving back to her community for years.
That giving nature did not go unnoticed by Graham’s co-workers, who recently nominated her for the 2011 Great Kids Awards. The awards, which are given out annually by the Government of Alberta, recognize youth between the ages of five and 18 who do great things in their community every day for themselves and others.
Library manager Laurie Hodges Humble said Graham’s nomination comes with a sense of pride and loss – she’s off to university in Lethbridge in the fall. Hodges Humble nominated Graham for the award on behalf of the library board and staff members.
“The staff love her,” Hodges Humble said. “She’s going to be hard to replace.”
Graham was caught off guard when Hodges Humble presented her with her nomination certificate on the afternoon of June 9 in front of co-workers and library customers.
“It’s really cool to know that doing what I do is appreciated, and what I do makes a difference,” said Graham, who has worked part-time at the library on evenings and weekends since November 2008.
The library’s student library clerk and resident technology expert, Graham helps answer library patrons’ questions about e-books and audio books, helps with displays and the regular circulation shelving, and assists patrons in person and on the phone.
To complete the nomination, Hodges Humble needed two letters of support. Given Graham’s involvement in the Rangeland 4-H Beef Club as club president, the IHS band, the Red Deer College Big Band, the IHS yearbook and grad committees, and as a student tutor, athlete and coach, Hodges Humble said it was easy.
“We had them lining up for this,” she said.
Graham admitted she would miss the library and its staff when she heads off to the University of Lethbridge in the fall to study new media. She has already applied for a job in Lethbridge’s library system.
“It’s my first job. I couldn’t think of a better place to work,” she said.
“I love doing everything that I do.”
Hodges Humble said Graham’s determination and professionalism make her a role model for other Innisfail youth as well as the community.
“If Tae is any example, our future is very good.”