Ryan Homan and Arabella Goodrich, both 2014 graduates of Big Walnut High School, were recently named recipients of the Community Library Foundation’s Junior Friends Community Service Award.
The $500 scholarship recognizes a graduating senior who has donated time to Community Library’s teen volunteer program and is pursuing a vocational, two-year, or four-year degree.
Homan has volunteered as a Junior Friend since 2008. Giving over 100 hours of his time to the library, Ryan has helped through the years with the Summer Reading Club desk and as a part of the Dewey Doctor, Haunted Library, and Viral Video teams.
To Ryan, the importance of community service is giving back. “I was able to help children get excited about reading in the very same way that one of my teachers did for me,” Homan explains, recalling his time at the Summer Reading Club desk. “Seeing a child’s eye light up from a book and them get excited is the best thing, in my opinion, I could have ever done. I truly hope that I’ve impacted the lives of these children.”
Homan is currently attending the University of Toledo. His major is pre-pharmacy with a medicinal and biological chemistry focus.
Arabella Goodrich has volunteered at Community Library since 2010, contributing over 50 total hours to its Summer Reading Club desk and the Haunted Library and Independence Day float teams. “Since all of the technological advances I had thought that kids would stop coming to the library, but in fact the opposite happened,” Goodrich explains. As a Summer Reading Club desk volunteer, Arabella noted seeing “more and more kids coming to check out books. This community service has [shown me] that there are still kids out there that love to read,” she comments. “The adults who supervise the volunteers also get something out of this. They get to see teenagers motivate little kids to read. They get to see the cycle of encouragement from the older ones to the younger ones, over and over as they grow up.”
Goodrich is a student at the College of Wooster and is interested in pursuing a degree in archeology.
“When I saw that Ryan and Arabella had applied for the scholarship, I knew it would be a tough decision if I personally had to choose between the two. They are both outstanding individuals who have invested a lot of time in volunteerism,” says Fonda Kendrick, Community Library’s Head of Youth Services. “I was very happy when I found out the Community Library Foundation scholarship committee decided to grant both of these deserving young adults the award this year. The library was fortunate to have them as volunteers, and I am pleased that we can be a part of helping them achieve their goals.”