Photo credit: Menlo Park Library
The Menlo Park Teen Advisory Group (TAG) is a volunteer organization which strives to bring the community together through free programs and services. Many Menlo-Atherton students volunteer for this group, meeting a few times each month to plan events and brainstorm ways to improve the Menlo Park library. Lara Smarandoiu, an M-A student who has been a part of TAG for 5 years, said, “One amazing part about it is that the TAG coordinator, Gina Feil, lets us teens run each meeting and determine what monthly events TAG should run. Also, it is a great way to give back to the community and help the Menlo Park Library have fun events!”
Some of the advisory group’s past events include an escape room at ComicCon, Teen Henna art, Blind Date With a Book, and a many murder mystery parties which involve different themes and dressing in costume. Evan Wong, a sophomore at M-A explains, “We typically discuss different library events and how to make them better as well as how to generally make the library more appealing to teens.” He describes the Teen Zone, a new space the group helped create in the library dedicated for teens to relax and have fun. The area is a perfect hangout spot, with a TV for movies and Nintendo gaming, and a plethora of young-adult books and graphic novels.
Due to the pandemic, the Teen Advisory Group meets through Zoom and is hosting all activities virtually. Junior Claire Ausaldaner said, “We typically have more in-person events but had to adapt quickly when Covid-19 came.” The TAG is currently hosting a weekly Creative Writing Club, and monthly arts & crafts programs.
Henry Donald, a junior at M-A, describes the Teen Video Contest the group held over the summer. “The teen video contest was a unique opportunity for teens to explore filmmaking by making a short video focusing on student’s experiences throughout quarantine. It was exciting because it gave students the opportunity and incentive to try something new in documenting how their lives had changed due to the circumstances.” He said it was fun to see the creative talent students displayed in their submissions.
Auslander describes, “my favorite thing about the program is the sense of community it’s given me. I’ve gotten to know other TAG members well and love being involved in my community.” People interested in joining the Teen Advisory Group can email Ms. Feil at [email protected]