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Meet our Volunteers: Iris Ngo

Volunteering has impacted Iris' life in ways she didn't expect

Meet our Volunteers: Iris Ngo

Every Saturday afternoon, Iris Ngo can be found at Judith Umbach Library, volunteering for Math Quest. The Library buzzes as kids complete numeracy challenges throughout the building, with assistance from family members, youth volunteers, and Team Leads like Iris.

“I really like working with the younger children, and also getting to know young people in the community who volunteer,” says Iris, a University of Calgary student earning a master’s degree in biochemistry. “I meet new people every week through this program.”

Iris started volunteering for Calgary Public Library eight years ago, when she was 15. “I was really shy, so it was difficult for me to converse with people, and I thought volunteering would be a good way for me to get to know other people,” Iris says.

For three years, Iris volunteered with the Reading Buddies program, sharing books and literacy games with young students. Initially, she was a nervous new volunteer, but says she quickly felt comfortable and loved witnessing how much her “little buddies” learned over the program.

When Iris was 18, she moved into an adult volunteer role. With Math Quest, she acts as Team Lead for the drop-in program’s youth volunteers and participants, a role she greatly enjoys.

“Math was the first subject that got me really interested in a science and technology-based career. I like that Math Quest is trying to break down that stereotype that math is hard,” she says.

Iris is known as a friendly and fantastic volunteer, always smiling and willing to help. She is skilled at finding ways to keep both students and other volunteers engaged.

Iris credits volunteering with helping shape her into who she is today. The formerly shy teenager is hard to recognize now; she excitedly approaches kids and asks if they want to play a math game. “That would never have happened without volunteering,” she says.

“You never know how big of an impact volunteering can have on your life, as well as the people around you.”

If you’d like to join the Library’s team of youth or adult volunteers, please visit the Volunteers page.

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