Teen's work at Millvale library has been good as Gould

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

When faced with the prospect of entering his freshman year of college, Bennett Gould made the decision few high school seniors make — to defer for one year to focus on serving a neighboring community.

Gould, a 2012 Fox Chapel High School graduate, spent the past year volunteering in the Borough of Millvale and concentrating his efforts on helping to establish the new Millvale Community Library, which will celebrate its grand opening on Aug. 18.

Gould learned of the library project his junior year of high school when he was looking for volunteer opportunities to fulfill a service requirement for graduation.

Gould said he caught on to the vision of the community to establish a library, so when he decided to defer his acceptance to Allegheny College in Meadville for one year, he approached Brian Wolovich, Millvale Community Library board president, about becoming more involved in the library project.

“He turned it into something a bit more formalized, from on-and-off volunteering into an internship,” Wolovich said. “He had done so much. Bennett is really great at using his mind and his hands at helping with whatever is necessary.”

Bennett could be found in the community volunteering in tree-planting initiatives as well as at the library most Saturdays and many evenings doing construction work, organizing programs or helping Wolovich write grants to further the project or other borough programs.

“He's definitely embraced Millvale at large,” Wolovich said. “He's embraced the community in whatever is happening. It's awesomely unique, and it's entirely appreciated.”

Gould also worked with the Shaler Area School District to introduce the students at the Shaler Area Elementary School to the library and provide programs for the school's Titan Trail: A Reading Adventure, reading incentive program.

Gould also introded other area youth to the library through the Heinz Endowments' Summer Youth Philanthropy Internship Program. As a senior intern with the program, Gould brought a group of fellow interns to the library last week for a day of volunteer service in anticipation of the library's opening celebration.

“I've only contributed, by comparison, to a small part of the library, but I'm still able to step back and say I did that and that gives me a lot of joy,” Gould said.

Gould said that his year of service has better prepared him for the fall when he will enter Allegheny College to study environmental science and leadership studies through a self-designed minor. He hopes to bring his education back to Millvale as he continues to pursue other initiatives to improve the community.

“The more I volunteer, the more I've come to realize what a great community it is,” Gould said of Millvale. “There is a lot going on in Millvale. It's really a happening place.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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