Welcome to Class 24!

Today’s the day!  Today we start our twenty-fourth class; it’s the first day for our new Peer Leaders, Barb Cooke and Joyell Johnson.

What’s a Peer Leader?  That’s the new title for Regional Coordinator.  Peer Leaders are second year AmeriCorps members who provide frontline support to the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators at their Service Sites as well as work with VM staff to meet program objectives.

Barb and Joyell both served with VM last year as VM Coordinators; they even each submitted a guest blog post during the service year.  I’m really glad to have them back as Peer Leaders for this class.  You’ll get to know them as they blog over the next 11 months.  For now, here’s a sneak preview.

Barb served as a VMC with Partners In Care (PIC), where she worked with the Wisdom Works Team—a group of 21 Partners In Care volunteers—to survey the frailer members of the PIC community and to re-educate inactive members about the services PIC offers.  In addition, Barb increased the social media presence of Partners In Care by creating Facebook and Twitter accounts that help spread the word about PIC services and volunteer efforts that serve close to 2,400 individuals.

Barb began preparing for service and leadership early in life, leading a campaign to modify the school dress code to permit girls to wear pants to her grade school.  She has a Master of Arts degree in Human Development and has worked as a Unit Coordinator in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents and as a Community Liaison and Family Counselor in other community-based programs.

To read Barb’s guest post with some reflections on her VMC year, click here.

Joyell served as a VMC with the Banneker-Douglass Museum, where she recruited 40 volunteers to serve as program assistants, docents, and library assistants at the Museum.  In addition, Joyell created and ran a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event which brought in 33 new volunteers and 125 clients.  Joyell also created and revised numerous documents for the Museum, including a volunteer handbook and a folder containing all documents needed to incorporate new volunteers.

Joyell received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from Washington College, where she also minored in Black Studies and was active in the Student Government Association and Residential Life.  Joyell has mentored young girls in Kent County, been a camp counselor, and participated in domestic violence awareness events such as “The Vagina Monologues” and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

To read Joyell’s guest post about her MLK Day event click here.

Two weeks from today, we’ll start our Pre-Service Training for all of Class 24, so stay tuned!  There’s plenty more to come this year!

From left to right: Joyell, Barb, and VM23 classmates Dorsey, Krista, Kathy, Natalie, and Amanda
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