Living in an AmeriWorld

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:

Business Volunteers Unlimited

Montgomery County Volunteer Center

Howard County Volunteer Center

Idealist

Volunteer Match

Greater DC Cares

Volunteer Services, Worcester County Government

Volunteer Southern Maryland

Office of Community Service-Learning at the University of Maryland

ShoreCAN Volunteer Center Serving Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester Counties

Volunteer Harford

Volunteer Frederick

United Way of Calvert County

Baltimore County Volunteers

Volunteer Center of Allegany County

Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County

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One thought on “Living in an AmeriWorld

  1. I remember when I first had that realization, too, and was shocked. How could people NOT want to volunteer?!

    I’ve learned over time that it’s all a spectrum. There are times in people’s lives when service is more important, times when it is less important (put another way, there are times in people’s lives when other things take precedence). There are social issues and projects that appeal to certain people and not to others.

    We need to be ready to meet people wherever they are, do our best to make the service experience a positive one and hope that it inspires them to continue. And sometimes we have to do it over and over again. And isn’t it all worth it when you see someone’s eyes light up in the middle of a project, or when they come back and volunteer again and over time become a volunteer leader?

    Thanks for a great post, and thanks for the shout out!

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