For the Auburn Reporter
Librarians offer more than just books at the Auburn Library as teens make plans to congregate and play board games as a way to meet other teens – and build bonds – outside their circle of friends.
The Teen Game Night on Thursday, June 6 at the Auburn Library was the brainchild of students who believe that coming together in a safe environment to play board games can break barriers between teens and foster bonds inside the welcoming environment of their community library.
“Teen Voices led me to meet other teens that live in the same community, that I would have probably never engaged with otherwise,” said one student, who participates in the Teen Voices program. “Whether this is because we went to different schools, had different hobbies, etc., it gave me a place to meet and share conversations with these people that make me more well-rounded and give me perspective.”
Anther Teen Voices participant added, “Without Teen Voices I wouldn’t have been able to come out of my shell. It is one of the only places where my opinions are taken to heart and valued. We are shown that in this group, no matter what the idea, it matters. That we are important.”
The students who organized the free community-wide event, participate in the King County Library System (KCLS) Teen Voices program, which is part of Dream Big: Anything is Possible – a youth empowerment campaign launched earlier this year by the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara’s Why Not You Foundation, the KCLS, the KCLS Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The multi-week spring program is offered to teens in Auburn, Kent, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Renton and Tukwila to motivate, empower and prepare them to be tomorrow’s leaders with skills, tools, confidence and mentors for future success.
KCLS and the Teen Voices students are also hoping to draw attention to the library’s centrality in the community, its utility as a social spot and gathering place for students who may be unaware of libraries’ existence or the opportunities they can provide for their communities. By providing a library program that is created for teens, students hope to provide a recreational space that creates youth relationships with each other and with the library while highlighting the positive contributions youth can make in their communities.
“I’m excited to be working with these teens because it gives them a voice about what they’d like to see in their library, while simultaneously building new skills,“ said KCLS Teen Librarian Amy Tooley. “I’ve watched these teens come together to form a cohesive team and really embrace the strengths they see in each other.”