Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{December 7, 2010}   Gone Too Soon

A few months ago, I had returned from a very relaxing vacation at the shore to find out that one of my young teen volunteers had taken his life. To say the least, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe or understand what had happened. Then the news picked up on the story and it became a huge media frenzy. He had allegedly been bullied over a course of time and felt overwhelmed.

Then came the news calls. He was a good kid and volunteered at the library. They wanted to find out more about the personal side of this young man. When the reporter came in to my office to talk with me, I told her that he was a normal kid, and was willing to share more, but she then asked if I would be willing to go on camera for the evening news about what he was like. No. No Way. I politely declined and ended our conversation. That’s not my thing, to have tragedy happen and then go publicly talk about it does not sit well with me.

After a few months, what I can do now though is let you know that he was a good young man. That he had the same teen angst that all teens do. Wanting a girlfriend, the latest pair of fashion sneakers, going out with friends, clubs at school, liking sports and other activities. He also liked to eat. My office mate noticed that he was ALWAYS hungry. He’d come in to my office, plop down in the chair, scoot it over to my fridge and grab whatever was in there, diet pepsi, pudding, string cheese and even a V-8.  He’d devour a bag of snack lays chips in seconds.

He liked it when I noticed he got a hair cut, and he even liked it when I brought him in to my office to reprimand him on getting off task or disrupting staff with his antics. When the news reporter left my office, I closed the door behind her and sat at my desk and burst out into tears. My Assistant Director called because I had left a message regarding PR procedures, but I decided on my own that I didn’t feel right about talking about it. She asked if I was ok. I said I wasn’t ok. It was sad. I was sad.

Losing volunteers to me is like losing a staff member. I care about them, they are my friends and the relationship is very different from a manager/staff member. It’s personal. It’s intimate. My office mate helped me through it all by saying, “while he was with us, we were good to him”. And, I agree~we were good to him and he was happy here…

She did add…”boy, he sure liked to eat…!”. That made me smile. He did like to eat… 🙂



Sonya says:

May his memory be eternal.

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