Teens discuss holiday plans at local library

By Sean Barron



Patrick Phillips, Nate Crawford and James Gilmer have diverse hopes and aspirations for celebrating the holiday, but travel is one theme binding their Christmas plans.

“I’m going to have fun,” said Nate, a Mahoning County High School ninth-grader, referring to a 10-day trip to San Diego he intends to take beginning today to see family.

Afterward, a stop in Atlanta to visit his grandmother is in the pipeline, then returning home to give his mother various Christmas gifts, he added.

Nate, 16, was among several youngsters who discussed holiday plans during a recent Month-Long Holiday Celebration gathering at the Newport branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, 3730 Market St. on the South Side.

The series of library-sponsored programs also celebrated Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration of black American and African cultural festivals that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, noted Vanda Knickerbocker, a teen librarian.

During the recent event, Knickerbocker and the participants discussed the significance of Christmas and Kwanzaa.

A trip to Columbus likely is in the offing for James, an East High School seventh-grader.

“I play drums in the band and for Harambee,” a local youth-oriented cultural program that teaches life skills and promotes community unity largely through dance. “I began playing drums when I was about age 4.”

James, who also is a quarterback and running back for his school’s football team, said he hopes to see the Ohio State University Buckeyes play the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl in Miami, set for 8:30 p.m. Jan. 3.

Patrick’s travel plans also will take him South. He hopes to spend part of the holiday visiting family members in Charleston, S.C.

The Mahoning County High School 10th-grader moved to the Mahoning Valley last February from his native Columbia, S.C., he said, adding that he also intends to spend some of the time with local family members.

Knickerbocker noted that the library’s after-school programs also provide a safe place for many young people who live in the surrounding areas.

“It’s really a significant situation,” she said, adding that some neighborhood youngsters take advantage daily of the library branch’s events and other offerings.

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