Teens’ ice cream social brings ‘a ray of sunshine’

Our first Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board Ice Cream Social event in June was a huge success!

Community members young and old came to meet the board members, get ice cream treats, take pictures, and play chess with our Teen Services Librarian, Alex Gutierrez.

“This event truly brought a ray of sunshine to the Oak Park Public Library, especially since all programs have been virtual for the past year and a half due to the pandemic,” says Teen Services Specialist Darcel Washington. “It was so great to see the teens in person versus on the Zoom screen for our monthly meetings.”

A growing group that started on Zoom

A volunteer group for students ages 13-17, the library’s Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board (LETAB) is an opportunity to give back, share ideas about teen services, do service projects, and earn service hours.

The LETAB group started via Zoom last year during the pandemic with only two members, Washington says, and has since grown to 15 members—including five teens who signed up on the spot during the ice cream social!

The “group of amazing teens from Oak Park and its surrounding neighborhoods” includes two graduates of Oak Park and River Forest High School who are headed off to college next month, Washington says. “Shoutout to Kaleigh Clarke and Lily Genovese!”

‘I am so proud of each and every one of them’

Washington says that the LETAB teens took full ownership of the ice cream social—from planning and setting up to crafting delicious ice cream treats and interacting with the community.

“They worked so well together serving the community and truly demonstrated their leadership skills,” she says. “I am so proud of each and every one of them.”

Special thanks to our sponsor, Andy’s Custard in Countryside, IL, for donating 125 delicious ice cream cups.