Mr. Samuel Martin and other

Mr. Samuel Martin and other (Photo submitted by Reginald Stewart)

Volunteering can be such a fulfilling activity. Every other month, we highlight a new organization or event for those who are looking to learn more about the services and resources available to them as well as for those who are looking to give back to the community.

This month we are featuring on-base libraries. I interviewed Samuel Martin from Wiesbaden Library, and he shared some insights into what it was like to volunteer.

Samuel found himself with a lot of time on his hands while taking some college classes and decided to go down to the library and volunteer there. Little did he know what an impact it would have on his life. Almost a year ago, he began his very first volunteer experience with shelving books in the library but soon grew to do more.

At the library’s Literacy Fair, he stepped in for an M.I.A. Cat in the Hat reader and read to a group of eager children. Since then, he has taken over the weekly reading to the preschoolers and proudly announced to his mother that he is changing his college major from Business to Education. He is beginning his first education internship soon and his first thought was, “I hope they don’t pick Thursdays,” as one of his required days to attend because he didn’t want to give up his day reading to the children.

 “Anything to do with helping the children’s programs, I enjoy doing the most,” Samuel claimed.

He elaborated more by talking about the Christmas program where he did an interactive puppet show and re-telling of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” donned completely in a Grinch costume.

When asked what it was like dealing with a constantly PCS’ing volunteer group, Samuel reflected upon his eventual PCS: “We’re going to be leaving in 17 months; I am going to be really sad when I have to say, ‘hey I’m done…’ I want to volunteer at the library as often as I can for as long as I can.”

Samuel, who noted that he is physically disabled, stated how people in the past have denied him other volunteer opportunities because they did not believe he could help because of his wheelchair. When he first went to the library to volunteer, he initially expected to hear the same rejection but was happy when they brought him into the fold. He said, “the staff is very open and friendly. It’s a good experience… Here at the library, you can talk about any topic.”

Volunteering with the library can have a positive impact on volunteers and the local community. Samuel said, “It’s a joy knowing that you are providing a service for service men and women and their families and just to get the community together.” When asked about what volunteers can take away from the experience he simply claimed that “you are going to be happy.” He elaborated, “It’s very fulfilling.”

Whether you go to check out a book or DVD, play with LEGO ® sets, take your preschoolers to the Thursday reading time at 10 a.m. to listen to Samuel, take part in their music program or volunteer, there is something for everyone at the library. Those interested in volunteering can go on VMIS, the Volunteer Management Information System. Samuel also noted that the library “really enjoys it if you just show up to the library and ask, ‘Hey, can I volunteer please?’”

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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