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2015 Service Learners of the Year

San Diego County Library's Service Learning program gives local teens volunteer work experience for school credit and personal enrichment. The following teens have been selected as Service Learners of the Year in recognition of their outstanding contributions and commitment to the library.


Sofia Avalos

Lakeside Branch

Sofia is 15 years old and a sophomore at the Altus Charter School of San Diego. She started being a Service Learner at the Lakeside library in June 2014, and will stay with us until she graduates. She is great at shelving (especially non-fiction). What she likes most about working at the library is helping people. Her favorite read was the Twilight saga. Next to school, she helps her mom with the family's nursery and the animals (goats, dogs, and cats).


Clara Brandt

El Cajon Branch

Clara has been volunteering at the El Cajon Library since July of 2012 and has amassed over 270 service hours. She is, as we call her, a super-shelver! Clara is dependable, diligent, and efficient. She arrives, sometimes unnoticed, on Saturday mornings to a library work room full of overflowing carts and gets right to work. When she leaves, order has been restored. Although shelving is her favorite task, Clara is always willing to help out at library programs. She has done everything from serving food at larger events to assisting with craft and exercise programs for children, and she does it all with smile. With her pleasant demeanor and can-do attitude, Clara blends seamlessly with library staff and we are so grateful to have her.


Annette Burns

Ramona Branch

Annette Burns has served the Ramona Branch since 2012 with a total of 248 hours. Annette has been committed to her hours of service, serving all ages. Her weekly engagement with the Ramona branch consists of providing Homework Help in math and grammar, and children's craft. In addition, she has assisted with the following yearly programs: Christmas celebration, Author's Day, Día de los Niños, Summer Reading Program, and more. Annette demonstrates leadership strengths and continues to set an example for younger children at the library. Annette maintains a high standard of excellence and will pursue her compassionate vision to enter the field of medicine as a pediatrician.


Ulises Casas

Lemon Grove Branch

Ulises is a great asset to the Lemon Grove library and community at large. He has volunteered to help during our after-school programs, has gone through all the Nintendo DS games and devices to make them user ready for the next branch, has helped during the Library Teen Lock-Ins, and volunteers when possible on Saturdays. If the library ever needs an extra pair of hands with an event, program, or simply to catch up, he is always willing to lend a hand. Ulises' friendly demeanor and charismatic personality allows for him to be a positive role model to his peers and fellow Service Learner volunteers. Ulises always greets you with a smile, which encourages all those around him to be as cheerful.


Zain Hana

Rancho San Diego Branch

Zain has been volunteering at the Rancho San Diego branch since July 2013. He has accumulated 88 hours and is still going strong. Zain comes in every Friday and can be counted on to shelve the books and straighten any area in which he works. He is very friendly and will gladly guide a customer to the area of the library they need to find the books they are searching for. Zain is dependable and we hope he continues to volunteer here in the future.


Minkook Kim

4S Ranch Branch

Minkook helps us with the paging list, shelving of library materials, shelf reads to make sure materials are in alphabetical order, and retrieves materials from the inside and outside bookdrops. He always takes the initiative to empty the bookdrops or look for a new task and he also helps staff train new volunteers. One activity that Minkook helped library staff with was to locate music CDs that had not circulated in about six months and thoroughly made sure the materials were still in good condition. He also helped with organizing our Christmas tree to make sure that is was presentable for our signature Christmas event.


Vanessa Lira

Solana Beach Branch

Vanessa has been a diligent, hardworking, and concientious Service Learner with us for almost one year now. She has put in 64 hours of varied service. From shelf reading to assisting with events to preparing crafts to helping with our Middle School Reading Challenge preparations, Vanessa is our go-to volunteer when we have something different and challenging that we need help with. Thank you Vanessa, you are the best!


Itzaí Mejía

Fallbrook Branch

Itzaí is willing to work any day he is available including every weekend! He is on task, self-motivated and ready to help any way he can. He is extremely respectful and courteous to staff and customers.


Avrey Melin

Valley Center Branch

Avrey is a natural leader who has gone above and beyond in her volunteer efforts at the Valley Center Branch Library. She is currently the President of the Teen Advisory Group and has taken her leadership role seriously. Avrey has helped organize, set up, and host several large programs for teens, children, and families. She trains new student volunteers and conducts outreach at her high school to promote and strengthen the Service Learner program at the library. Avrey's enthusiasm is contagious and she has made incredible contributions to the Valley Center community!


Michael Miller

San Marcos Branch

Michael has been a Service Learner at the San Marcos Library since February 2012, and has donated a total of 338 hours during his time here. Michael is one of the most courteous, positive, and self-driven teens to volunteer at the branch. He walks in every Saturday with a smile, greets each staff member, and asks how each and every one of us are doing. Michael completes many tasks in the branch, including emptying book drops and assisting with the paging list and clear holds list, but his primary duty is shelving. His scheduled day is Saturday, our busiest day for returns, and without his help shelving, we would have a tough time. It has been a pleasure working with Michael the last three years and we will truly miss him when he graduates this year and moves on to West Point in the fall.


Erin Mulligan

La Mesa Branch

Erin displays the qualities of a Service Learner that we value so much here at the La Mesa Branch: dependability, versatility, and being detail oriented. If we assign Erin a task, staff can always be assured that it will be done correctly and efficiently with a smile. Erin has been with us since January 2013 and last year donated a total 88 hours of her time.


Cindy Ocampo

Spring Valley Branch

Cindy has been a great asset to the Spring Valley Library as a Service Learner. She is always ready to work when she comes in to volunteer. Always willing to help both customer and staff, she is very polite and has a great attitude when coming to volunteer. She helped prepare decorations for the Spring Valley Fiesta in 2014 and helped during the event as well. This year she also helped get the branch ready for Karamu and helped participants set up their booths and load their materials back into their cars.


Jake Peterson

Alpine Branch

Jake is Alpine's Service Learner of the Year because he is reliable and consistent. He brings good energy to the library, always smiling and happy to help library staff.


Brittney Phu

San Marcos Branch

Brittney began volunteering on September 18, 2011. She has donated 291 valuable hours to the library during her time here. Brittney is one of our most competent and reliable teens, with such job responsibilities as retrieving book drops, processing the clear holds list, assisting our teen librarian with program prep, emptying the bins of the AMH, paging list, and shelving library materials. Brittney is a very self-motivated teen who never hesitates to jump in and help out wherever needed and she always does it with a smile on her face.


Matthew Pineda

Santee Branch

Matthew has been volunteering at the Santee branch since March 2014 and has worked for 155 hours so far. He shelves materials, empties the book drop, pulls items to weed or send to other branches, and assists with programs, as well as other tasks as needed. We can always count on Matthew to work hard and take on new jobs with interest and enthusiasm. Matthew is a self-starter who works quickly and with great accuracy. We are always pleased to see Matthew and know he will help lift some of our burden each day.


Luis and Samantha Romero

Encinitas Branch

Luis and Samantha Romero are a brother and sister Service Learner duo. They consistently come in to volunteer every Wednesday. Their main duty is to organize and shelve our checked-in items. Luis and Samantha have proven to be a quick and accurate team, and are a delight to be around. They are terrific at adapting to changes in procedures and comfortable with asking questions when they are unsure. We can rely on Luis and Samantha to work hard without supervision and are thankful that they volunteer with the Encinitas Library.


Xavier Sanchez

Bonita Branch

Xavier has been a consistent and dependable volunteer at Bonita for almost a year and a half, and started when he was only 13 years old. He comes in with a smile on his face, ready for whatever task we may have for him. He has assisted with shelving, prepping crafts, and even helping as a translator when a Spanish speaking staff member is not available. When he isn't at the branch or school, he is volunteering his time at a number of other places. He has a strong interest in DJing and producing music, and has performed for schools and at charity functions, already making a name for himself in the community at the young age of 15. Xavier is an asset to our service learning program, and to the community as a whole!


Annam Tran

Del Mar Branch

Annam is the Del Mar Service Learner of the Year due to his dependibility. He's able to empty the drop boxes, shelve, pull paging lists, and straighten up. Annam usually changes the outside marquee for staff, which is changed every week to highlight events at the branch. Annam needs little supervision and is a pleasure to work with.


Karina Valdespino

Vista Branch

Karina has volunteered for numerours library programs ranging from Día de los Niños and Celebration of the Arts to Live it Up! and Feed America's summer lunch program. In 2014, Karina has shelved, crafted, shifted, repaired, served food, and set up (for programs) her way to 264 volunteering service learner hours.


Kylie Villadolid

Ramona Branch

Kylie is a highly mature and self-directed student whose work ethic is appreciated by all those around her. She has gone above and beyond other volunteers and taken on responsibilities similar to those of library staff. In a year of library service, Kylie has played a significant role in the successful execution of many of our weekly core programs such as our weekly family craft, preschool craft, and many special projects. Her passion for public service is easily recognized and natural leadership skills have provided an excellent model for the rest of our teen Service Learners. We appreciate all the contributions she has made in service of the Ramona community; they have made a difference.


Yoon Yupar

Poway Branch

Yoon has been working as a Service Learner at the Poway Library for 2-1/2 years. She has accumulated 182 hours thus far. She is extremely punctual, dependable, and versatile. During her time here, she has volunteered willingly for additional duties and tasks. She marched in the Poway Days Parade with the library group in September 2012. She also volunteered extra hours at our Signature Event, Diwali, last year. Additionally, she came in extra hours during the summer last year to help us shift books and move shelving in preparation for Poway Library's remodel. Finally, she volunteered for the Summer Reading desk last summer, in addition to her Service Learner commitment. She is a straight "A" 8th grader at Meadowbrook Middle School in Poway and is a very motivated person who has already selected a career goal, which is to become a lawyer!