Throughout these past few months, all of us writing this blog have tried to give you a taste of what it’s like to be an AmeriCorps member with Volunteer Maryland. We’ve told you about our own perspectives, research, thoughts, and experiences with AmeriCorps members. But one voice from our team has been missing… that of our fourth regional coordinator, Lori Hall. She has been the RC for the “Superwomen,” a group of Volunteer Maryland Coordinators who work in nonprofits around Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Western Maryland. I sat down with her last week to learn more about this group of amazing women, and learn about some of Lori’s favorite parts of this service year.
They chose to name themselves the Superwomen at the beginning of the year because they all just happened to be women, but Lori soon found out that “all of them really are super in their own ways,” both with the work they’ve accomplished at their sites and their own personal achievements. They all came to Volunteer Maryland with a range of experiences, and count among their ranks a former Baltimore City firefighter, a physics major, and a certified yoga instructor. They each were able to bring these unique experiences to their service year and leverage their efforts to make real change at their organizations.
Lori was particularly impressed with Margaret’s dedication to the students at Barclay Elementary School, where she has worked to pilot a reading program called StoryPals, recruiting and managing volunteers to read stories to students during the school day.
Megan started off with a background in physics, a far cry from the work she was to do at Cylburn Arboretum. But as the year went on, Megan flourished, and Lori was particularly impressed with her ability to find and make the most of resources to get things done at her site.
Lori admired Carole’s ability to constantly find new things to learn and improve upon during her second year as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at her site, Eden Mill Nature Center. I was also blessed to be able to see the fruits of Carole’s labor when I attended the Regional Meeting that Lori held at Carole’s site.
Teara has been a leader both at Jewel House Inc., and in her community. A former Baltimore City firefighter, Teara has been able to connect her Volunteer Maryland service to many points in the community, bringing in guest speakers for the youth she works with and also serving as a resource to other organizations around the city.
Nicole’s enthusiasm and dedication to her work with Jones Falls Watershed Association is contagious. One cannot attend one of her tree plantings or trash cleanups without coming away with a fiery commitment to the preservation and restoration of urban environments. Lori was particularly impressed with how Nicole is always prepared… she even keeps a shovel in her car 🙂
Lori was very proud of the amount of work Tiferet has done at Kayam Farm, an educational Jewish organic farm at Pearlstone Retreat Center. Experienced in organic farming, but new to volunteer management, Tiferet was able to successfully manage some pretty huge groups of volunteers, and build up a dedicated corps of regular volunteers that have been a tremendous asset to Kayam.
Lori was most impressed with Nicky’s ability to smoothly coordinate and communicate with volunteers at four different locations with People’s Community Health Center. Nicky’s independence and commitment to public health really make her stand out as a superwoman!
Grace is the go-to-gal at her site, A Step Forward. Whenever Lori visits she is impressed with how well respected Grace is by volunteers, clients and coworkers, a respect she earns by being empathetic, caring, and unwilling to take any excuses. She’ll work with anyone to help them get the job done for themselves!
What struck Lori most about Breanne was her ability to get things done. Through her work at Volunteers for Medical Engineering (V-LINC), Breanne has used this extraordinary ability to complete a number of projects, including helping to coordinate volunteers for a video showcasing the impact that V-LINC projects have on people’s lives.
Lori doesn’t like to talk about herself a lot, and would much rather showcase the successes of those around her than discuss her own. She has been an essential component of our Volunteer Maryland team, providing a calming and motivating force that really brings the group together and helps us reach our goals. Seeing her interact with her region, you can tell that she genuinely respects and appreciates each and everyone, and the AmeriCorps members can feel that and give it right back to her.
Congratulations to all these Superwomen!