Yesterday was a truly inspiring day for me. I started off the day helping out at the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism’s annual conference, Service Shines Through. The conference was a huge success, but the best part, in my opinion, was the lunch. No, not just because it was a free meal (something every AmeriCorps member dreams of), but because it was also the venue for the Governor’s Service Awards, which honored Marylanders across the state who went above and beyond in 2010 to serve their communities through volunteerism.
Later in the day was the event that I have been anticipating (and working on), for months now, Destination AmeriCorps. The event included a panel of AmeriCorps alumni who shared their stories of service, talked about the challenges they faced as AmeriCorps members, and about how their involvement in service shaped their career paths today. As a current AmeriCorps member, it was great to hear from alums who stood in my shoes and faced the challenges I and my fellow AmeriCorps members still face today. I’d like to thank Andraéa LaVant (VISTA at Volunteer Tennessee! and current Youth Development Specialist, Institute for Educational Leadership), Brandi Roberts (VISTA at Greater Homewood Community Corporation and current Director of Field Services for Experience Corps, Baltimore) and Earl Millett (VMC at Garden Harvest, Volunteer Maryland Regional Coordinator, and current Volunteer Coordinator at Civic Works) for sharing their experiences with us yesterday evening.
Following our alumni panel, we had several networking activities that allowed the attendees to share their stories of service and get to know each other. We ended the day with a rousing game of AmeriJeopardy, prizes, prizes, and more prizes. Speaking of prizes, we couldn’t have given away so much free stuff without the help of our generous donors: Sonic Drive-In, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Chick-fil-A, the Spy Museum, Planet Fitness, T.G.I. Friday’s, Starbucks Coffee, the Bowie Baysox, Kiehl’s, Old Pro Golf, Papa John’s Pizza, Target, J.H. Gift Baskets, and AMF Bowling. Thank you for contributing to our event. Their support of our event and of service in the state of Maryland was amazing.
The event was great kick-off to AmeriCorps week, which starts on Saturday. This celebration of service gives AmeriCorps members across the country the chance to share their stories of service and let everyone know just how important (and great) AmeriCorps is. So thank you to all of our attendees for making our event a success. I hope you go out and share the stories you heard yesterday and inspire others to make a commitment to service. And of course, thank you to our committee members who helped us to put this event together, we couldn’t have done it without you!
So, do you have any plans for AmeriCorps week? How will you celebrate service?