As I have mentioned many times on this blog, I love visiting our members. I eagerly anticipate the chance to get my butt out of my office chair and for a few hours take a peek at the daily challenges and rewards that create an AmeriCorps member’s experience. Back in May I got the chance to visit Elizabeth Huber, Volunteer Maryland Coordinator with Community Preservation and Development Corporation. CPDC is a nonprofit that owns and operates affordable housing communities in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. Her task for the year was to pilot a youth mentoring program at one of CPDC’s communities in Silver Spring, MD, called Park Montgomery. At first, this involved a lot of indirect service–creating policies and procedures, researching mentoring models, and getting approval from lawyers to make sure every “i” was dotted and “t” was crossed. But all that hard work and patience paid off, when Elizabeth was able to match her first mentor and mentee in April.
“My proudest moment was the night that my first mentor and mentee met. The mentor works for NASA, and the mentee loves science, and they sat and they discussed orbital navigation of satellites. It was all way over my head, but it was awesome to watch this child and this adult just bond over such scientific things, to get to spend time together, and to finally see all of this paperwork I’ve been doing and the legwork to recruit… to finally see the actual fruits was unbelievably awesome.”
She now has 5 mentor-mentee matches, and is getting ready to start organizing mentoring programs at five of CPDC’s other communities next year.
Having the chance to interview Elizabeth about her year was really gratifying for many reasons. First was because it conjured up memories of my own Volunteer Maryland Coordinator experience, the challenges I faced, and the moments I felt like I had really accomplished something. And second, because her passion and enthusiasm for the mentoring program and for the community it serves was contagious. By the time I left I was wishing I lived closer to Silver Spring so I could sign up to be a mentor.
But, as Levar Burton would say in Reading Rainbow, “you don’t have to take my word for it!” I’ll let Elizabeth, Director of Volunteer Membership Marcia Rose Fuoss, and the mentors and mentees tell you themselves 🙂
The CPDC Youth Mentoring Program is currently looking for caring adults interested in becoming mentors. If you are interested, you can contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org , or check out their website at www.cpdcmentor.wordpress.com.