Citizens share talents in new program

Published 10:23 pm Friday, June 16, 2017

Suffolk community members will have the opportunity this summer to display their talents, teach their skills to other residents and learn something new themselves.

Suffolk Public Library is introducing a “Free Skool” program this summer at its branches and summer fairs. The idea has gained popularity in cities throughout the country over the years, and that community-inspired learning will come to Suffolk through free classes, projects and events.

“We have a lot of talented people here in Suffolk, and a lot of people with skills that they don’t think of as skills,” said Ashley Reed, Suffolk library adult program services coordinator. “We’re hoping to make use of them.”

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“Free Skool” classes are proposed and designed by community members, with instructors of all ages and backgrounds teaching an incredible range of topics.

Free Skool instructor Aaron Vick, 13, shows off some of his yo-yo skills at Lake Meade Park on Thursday.

A sneak peek of the program will be held at the Circ Du Library Summer Kickoff at Lake Meade Park this Saturday, June 16. One community instructor will give skateboarding lessons, while another will give lessons on how to draw Mr. Peanut.

“When it’s open to the community, you get a wide representation of interests and hobbies,” Reed said.

Future classes will have community members teach about mortgages and lending. Someone else will show how to draw anime-style characters. Another citizen will be prepared with supplies from the library to show other residents how to paint rocks for the Suffolk Rocks phenomenon.

“Not only can they tell you how it works, but you can make it and take something home,” Reed said.

Aaron Vick, son of Ivor residents Andrew and Catherine Vick, is just 13 years old, but is ready to show people how to do crazy yo-yo tricks as one of the upcoming instructors this summer.

“I’m just excited for him to share something he enjoys so much with others,” Catherine Vick said.

Aaron has been practicing with a yo-yo since last Christmas, learning more and more tricks every week.

“I like to have a challenge,” Aaron said. “You can never really know everything about them. “There’s always going to be new kinds of tricks, and that’s cool.”

He will start by showing attendees the basics of yo-yoing, and then teach beginner tricks if they get the hang of those moves.

“I’m hoping to maybe meet some interesting people,” Aaron said. “Maybe someone will pick up a yo-yo and enjoy it as much as I did. That’d be awesome.”

One of the benefits is that instructors like Aaron will have the chance to learn from other classes at these sessions while he’s teaching.

“One week you might be learning one skill or another, and the next week you might be sharing one,” Reed said. “It operates under the idea that everyone has something of value to share.”

Suffolk libraries are extending the invitation for all residents to share their talents, and some are already anxious to get started.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Aaron said. “I’m really happy they’re doing it. It’s just an amazing program.”

The first “Free Skool” night will be held at North Suffolk Library on June 22 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visit for more information.