Eagle Scout Rishit Roy, a high school junior from Hillsborough, fondly recalls spending much of his childhood at the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s (SCLSNJ) Hillsborough branch.
When Roy was working on attaining his Eagle Scout rank as part of Troop 489 in Hillsborough, he knew exactly who he wanted to benefit from his required community service project: The library.
This fall, Roy, a Scout since third grade, gifted SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough branch with a puppet theater that he built as an addition to the branch’s youth services department.
“I want the puppet theater to be a provider of memories for many years to come,” Roy said. “I love the decision to place it front and center in the children’s area as it allows me to see it in the same spot where I’ve spent so much time in the past.
“I decided on the library [as the beneficiary] as my mom has been taking me there ever since my family moved to Hillsborough in 2008. Their programs and endless collection of books really facilitated my love for reading,” he said.
The puppet theater provides children with the opportunity to explore creative play and connect with their community by performing for each other and their caregivers during their visits to the library. The theater will also be incorporated into future storytimes and youth-based programs.
“Rishit Roy’s generous gift will support our customers’ ability to participate in shared play in the library,” said Jessica Bauer, youth services supervisor. “Children can either be a member of the audience, or play the character of one of our many puppets, as they interact with their peers and caregivers while telling a story. In my experience, I have learned that puppet play can help build self-confidence, emotional development, imagination, hand-eye coordination, and social skills.”
“The puppet theater supports SCLSNJ’s SOARING (Supportive Opportunities for Achieving Reading in the Next Generation) initiative, which was designed to help caregivers navigate early childhood programming and resources, learn the different strategies used to support early literacy through each developmental stage, and replicate those strategies at home,” said Karen Pifher, manager of branch services, special projects, public services. “The theater encourages play, which is one of the five practices that help to develop early literacy skills in addition to talking, singing, reading and writing.”
Through dedication and hard work Roy was able to complete the project and his journey to Eagle Scout rank.
“The best part of working on the theater was the fact that I could personalize it in any way I wanted,” Roy said. “It allowed me to express myself creatively and was an enjoyable experience. If the theater can provide even a single kid with some of the memories I’ve accumulated through [the library], I consider the hours of hard work worth it. I hope kids will enjoy it for years to come.”
For more information about the project, contact Bauer at email@example.com or 908-458-8420, ext. 1241.
- This information was provided by the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.