I’ve always been very much into the idea of service. I’m pretty much addicted to the idea of missions that address a community need. Last year, I served as an AmeriCorps member with the St. Francis Neighborhood Center in Reservoir Hill, Baltimore City. I am now in my second year as an AmeriCorps member with Volunteer Maryland. I walk around surrounded by people dedicated to serving communities in need, around people who are dedicated to cleaning and preserving our green spaces, and around people who see the benefit of the role of service in all sectors of our global community.
Are you starting to see how working where I do is a very good thing? Let me break it down for you. I get to plan and facilitate regional meetings where I actively engage like-minded individuals in the act of finding solutions and advocating for themselves. I also get to attend In-Service Trainings where AmeriCorps members from our current class come together to socialize, acquire resources, and receive training on a variety of relevant topics. I get to see what programs people are starting from the time they are conceived to the time they come to fruition. This experience for me is like sitting a 6 year old inside the Lego Store and letting them run wild. Needless to say, I get super excited about service.
It wasn’t until this past fall that it dawned on me that not everyone is gaga over service. In fact, it doesn’t even cross most people’s minds accept during the holiday season. I recently Googled top ten New Year’s Resolutions and service and volunteering consistently came out last or second to last.
I actually remember the day that my bubble burst and I found out that service isn’t a big deal for most people. I was visiting my parents and my sister was commenting on how she wanted to start a business. Of course I spoke up in my matter-of-fact way and said “and remember you want to include some sort of service-based component to the business or meet some sort of community need.” I just knew that my sister who had the same blood as me running through her veins would agree.
Much to my dismay she responded with “um, no. Why would I want to do that?” What did she mean why? Did I hear her correctly? She continued: “Corrine, you’re one of those people who care about everything. Everyone else just…..doesn’t. Just because it’s your thing doesn’t mean I have to do it too.” I was shocked. I thought everyone cared about service and meeting needs. I then realized that I have been living in an AmeriWorld for nearly two years. I’ve been spoiled into thinking that everyone gets pumped about the prospect of direct service working with at-risk youth or planting bulbs in container gardens.
I have now come to terms with my realization. This year, however, I’m making a resolution to get more people into the idea of service. Whether it be getting a group of friends together or dragging my sister with me by the hair, it is my goal this year to introduce at least five people to the concept of service.
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions? Where do you currently volunteer? Where do you hope to start serving? Looking for opportunities to serve in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland? Check out the following links: