“Volunteering gave me something to do as a young person, it gave me a purpose and taught me about life.” These are the words of college student, Tyler Black, a volunteer who was nominated by The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. We are thrilled to honor Tyler as our February Volunteer of the Month and to celebrate everything he has done to give back to his community.
When Lisa Slinsky, Assistant Director of Volunteer and Community Service at The Maritime Aquarium, first spoke to me about Tyler, she could not stop raving about him. She said he was a very special young person and we had to honor him. Tyler came to The Maritime Aquarium through a program called Youth Works, that helps low income families find internships for their children. This was Tyler’s second internship; his first was at the Doubletree Hilton during his sophomore and junior years of high school. Encouraged by his family and social worker, he started at The Maritime Aquarium in August 2017 and completed over 400 hours by December. He was required to do 20 hours a week, but he loved what he was doing so much, he often did many more.
When I asked Tyler what he loved most about volunteering at the aquarium, he said working with the animals and teaching people to care about them. His work as a gallery ambassador gave him the opportunities to teach others about these animals and he said people are always surprised about how important they are to the environment. He became an expert on the touch tanks where visitors can touch turtle shells, horseshoe crabs, fighter crabs, jellies, stingrays. He said it was very important to relay information to the guests so he can help protect the animals.