2024 Volunteers of the Year – Branches E-H

East San José Carnegie Branch Library – Rathin Kacham

In September 2022, Rathin Kacham contacted Carnegie Branch saying he wanted to work with young people in expanding their math skills. The staff brainstormed several ways he can do that and ultimately came to tutoring young people in math and calling the program "Mathin' with Rathin." In just a little over a year, Rathin has helped many young people with the subject of math. Some come for help once or twice, but there is a family he has developed a great relationship with and is consistently helping improve their math skills. Rathin has been a tremendous help with the community members and a delight with Carnegie staff.

Get to know a little about Rathin:

  • As a child... I really loved math. Part of that was probably because of my mom. She was very stern and my sister and I learned math beyond what we were learning in school. She instilled a love of learning math in me that still exists today. I read a lot of math books and was into computers and nerdy things. I was very intellectually curious. I hope to show some of the kids that come here that learning isn’t just about getting your homework done but something to carry on for the rest of your life.
  • I am most proud of... One of the kids I tutor here got into a private Catholic school that his parents really wanted to him to get into. The parents really wanted him to be prepared for the standardized test. He got in and I’m really proud of him. His parents said they couldn’t have done it without me.
  • My community... has always been very supportive. I believe in the idea that it takes a village. I am grateful to my family, friends, and partner who always have supported me. They are the reason I am where I am and who I am. I’m proud of who I am. I’m a product of the efforts they put in. I hope to be part of a community of encouragement for young people as well, especially kids that come to the library for help.

Edenvale Branch Library – Corina Gaska

Corina has been a volunteer at Edenvale Branch since 2023 and has quickly become one of their most valued volunteers not just by staff, but by the community. With her help, Edenvale Branch was able to re-introduce Tech Mentoring. Corina is a very dedicated community leader not only as a Tech Mentor but as a Robotics team lead for her school. Corina is eager and determined with a calm and professional demeanor. Her impact on this community is nothing short of extraordinary and it shows how much she cares about the community with her continued commitment to support them with their tech needs.

Get to know a little about Corina:

  • My fondest memory... Is being in the car with my grandparents. I used to have speech troubles and my grandparents would have me read to them. Through this they were also able to learn to speak English.
  • I am most proud of... sticking with robotics and my interest in STEM. I feel like I don’t fit the mold for who should be in STEM and I am proud of my commitment and continued interest in this despite what others may think.
  • If I had a superpower, it would be... the ability to speak any language and communicate with others.

Educational Park Branch Library – Rachel Dao

Rachel helps out Educational Park branch library through various tasks including shelving, cleaning shelves, and maintaining correct order of the items. Rachel’s work is efficient and accurate. She is quick to comprehend and complete tasks. In addition, she is always cheerful and upbeat, bringing smiles wherever she goes. Thanks to Rachel’s hard work and love for books, Educational Park is a happier place for everyone!

Get to know a little about Rachel:

  • My first volunteering experience... was at a childcare center where I enjoyed being around the kids and teaching them origami.
  • My role model... are my parents because I enjoy hanging out with them, hearing their stories, and learning from them.
  • I volunteer... to get myself out of the house and have another activity in my life.

Evergreen Branch Library – Mrudula Talari

Evergreen library is fortunate to have a generous volunteer like Mrudula. Starting in Summer 2023, she has already made a big impact with her efforts. As the Homework Club Scholastic Supervisor, she has been super reliable, using her experience as a special education paraprofessional at Matsumoto Elementary to keep everything running smoothly. Mrudula has also taken on the role of Reader to Children to aid eager young readers who need the attuned attention she can give. In order to learn more about how the library functions, she also is a Library Services Volunteer, performing tasks like shelving, cleaning, and assisting during story times and big events like the Back to School celebration. She saves staff time and resources and exudes positive energy to everyone around her.

Get to know a little about Mrudula:

  • My first job/responsibility... was as a music teacher in Bangalore for 1st – 10th grade. My responsibilities were to maintain the music standards for the students, keep them on task and prepare them for concerts.
  • My biggest challenge... is to be able to make everyone happy, bring them joy and take them to their limits.
  • Libraries are... the best source of knowledge and wisdom. They are the heart of the community where you can learn anything.

Hillview Branch Library – Viet Huynh Diep

Huynh helps at the weekly Saturday Fun Craft program, setting it up, prepping, assisting the children, and cleaning up. He has been helping for more than a year. He is very dependable, consistent, and easy going. He gets along well with staff and does a good job in his assignments. Because we know Huynh is always here to help with the craft, it allows the programming staff to have more time to work on other projects.

Get to know a little about Viet:

  • My first job... is working in public service at Santa Clara County.
  • My fondest memory... was when I moved to America when I was 8 years old.
  • I volunteer... because I want to help my community.