Logan Heights teen named volunteer of the year
October 28, 2011
By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
Armando Herrera likes helping others. The 15 year-old is so committed to community service, that he has contributed more than 500 hours of volunteer service at the Logan Heights Branch of the San Diego Public Library assisting in various projects from shelving books to recruiting youth to participate in programs.
Armando was one of the first youth members of the library’s teen council and teen music group. Both groups have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to give back to the community. Armando has also participated in several fundraising efforts such as book and bake sales, rummage sales and a letter writing campaign to raise funds for library teen programs.
For these and other contributions to his community, Armando has been named the San Diego Association of Fundraising Professional’s 2011 Outstanding Youth Volunteer. He will be honored for his broad community impact at a November 1 awards ceremony, on National Philanthropy Day.
“Armando is dedicated responsible, giving, honest and a self starter,” said Ady Huertas, youth services librarian at the Logan Heights branch. “He gives 100 percent to everything that he does and is proud of his work. His enthusiasm for helping out is contagious and he inspires other youth including his younger siblings to give back to the community.”
Huertas added that Armando is a role model for many youth that visit the library. Although he is always helping others, he still is able to maintain a 4.0 GPA at Mission Bay High School, where he is sophomore. He’s also involved in various sports activities after school, yet always finds time to volunteer and give back.
“Armando has become a part of our library family where I’ve had the opportunity to watch him grow and we are all extremely proud of him,” Huertas said.
Armando focuses on community outreach by encouraging friends, classmates and family members to use Library services and launching new activities to bring students into the Library. He created the Library’s popular weekly Video Game and Family Movie programs, and, always thinking ahead, included a fund-raising concessions stand. In addition, Armando is an active community advocate for Library funding and spoke before the San Diego City Council in May to oppose proposed cuts.
“I’ve always liked helping others and the library has so much to offer,” Armando said. “The Library has become a safe place to get my friends off the street and I encourage them all to volunteer with me. My mother has even begun taking English classes at the Library and my brother receives free homework help.”
Armando began shelving books and helping patrons at the new Logan Heights Branch Library following its opening in December, 2009, and quickly discovered a passion for helping others. Within several months he was heavily involved as a youth leader and regularly gave back to his community and the new library which had become a second home for the neighborhood’s youth.
For Armando, being a volunteer at the library is a win-win situation: He said he gets great work experience for the future, and librarians also help him with his school work.
His mother, Rosa Farias, said she’s extremely proud that his son is receiving the recognition.
“He’s a great boy, always helping me with his siblings, here at home, very respectful,” she said. “I’m so blessed to have him as a son.”
Although his family is going through difficult economic times, Armando said that won’t stop him from volunteering and from excelling at school. He said his goal is to become an FBI agent.
His impact in the Logan Heights community is very important.
“Armando has strong leadership skills and is always willing to lend a helping hand,” Huertas said. “His dedication to his work and the community help him excel in every project he takes on. We are so grateful to have him as a role model and volunteer at the Library.”