By now you know that tomorrow is the last day of our service year for VM23. It’s an exciting time; we’ve seen the results of their service and are ready to celebrate tomorrow with our Class Finale at Carroll Community College! On Wednesday, the office will be a quieter and the VM staff will be a bit tired as we close the door on the year and truly shift gears to the next class.
Every class is so different. This year’s class was somewhat younger than our average and a lot quieter. They are a highly educated group and several of them are going on to graduate school in just a few weeks. Several others have been hired at their Service Sites, while others are still looking for employment. We all know that this is an incredibly challenging time to be looking for work. I wish them all well – and I know they are significantly stronger candidates now than when they started our program in September.
One of the interesting things about our work is hearing from our alumni in the years after their service and I look forward to seeing how Class 23 gets on. We’ve just completed our annual alumni and site surveys; we follow up with both for three years after our partnership year. This year showed us that some alumni are looking for work (whether employed or not), many remain involved in service (88 percent), and quite a few (63 percent) are still involved with their VM Service Site in some capacity.
For those still involved in their Service Sites, they have the opportunity to see their work continued. For others, they should be pleased to know that 96 percent of responding sites reported that they have sustained or improved their ability to manage, recruit, and utilize volunteers effectively.
Being a Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps member is not easy. Making sustainable change is a huge challenge. We’re extremely proud of the 29 VM Coordinators and two Regional Coordinators that will soon be successful graduates of Class 23. I know all of us at VM look forward to following up with them, and their Service Sites, over the next three years. I look forward to hearing about their ongoing service activities and the work they accomplish in their careers and school. I also look forward to sharing the impact that this year of service will continue to have on their Service Sites and in communities throughout Maryland.
And so, by the end of the day tomorrow, I’ll have said my goodbyes to Class 23. I don’t know what the future holds for them or for our Class 24. I can say confidently that I’m looking forward to both.