From The Beacon: Library works to help make a difference to children

Book recommendations and more from the Beaufort County Public Library

July 17, 2011 

July is filled with a host of special designations. There's National Blueberries Month, National "Doghouse Repairs" Month and National Ice Cream Month, to name a few.

There is, however, one celebration that tugs at the heart of every reader and prompts inner reflection -- Make a Difference to Children Month. This celebration is to remind adults about the many ways they can positively make a difference in the lives of youth.

A few suggestions include committing to do one special thing with a child that will enrich his life, supporting an organization that focuses on children's needs or speaking with your elected leaders and asking them to make children a priority in policy and budget issues. There are many local organizations with volunteer opportunities geared toward making a difference in a child's life.

For the past 15 years the Beaufort County Library System has sponsored free Homework Help Centers after school in the public libraries. Patricia Porter is the Homework Center coordinator and founder of the program for Beaufort County. Beginning this fall, Homework Help will be offered for students in first through 12th grades at most of the public library branches.

In order to meet the demand for this new group of students, the library will need lots of volunteers. Everyone will be trained by a licensed education professional, and the participants will help provide outcome-based measurements to ensure quality education mentorship. The volunteer calendar for the Homework Help for the upcoming school year begins Sept. 12 and continues through May.

So while schools are getting ready for the fall, July is the perfect time for the rest of us to prepare ourselves to assist these young folks. Don't let the opportunity to help someone younger go as quickly as the fading sound of the ice cream truck as it trundles down the street.

For more information about how to volunteer with the Beaufort County Library System, visit the Reference Department at your local branch library or go to www.beaufort countylibrary.org. For more information about how you or your organization can promote National Make A Difference to Children Month, contact Kim Ratz at kimratz@aol.com.

Maria J. Benac is the branch manager of the St. Helena Branch of the Beaufort County Public Library, at 1025 Sea Island Parkway.

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