As anyone can guess, being an AmeriCorps and Volunteer Maryland Support Team member requires me to juggle many tasks. I have a firmer grasp of my role as a Peer Leader because my responsibilities were different each day of this week. Mondays are standard and encompass me traveling to the VM headquarters in Baltimore to connect with the Support Team, give updates about my region, Hakuna Matata, and prepare for the upcoming week. Part of that preparation was preparing myself (and my car) for the amount of traveling I would have to do between Monday and Friday.
On Tuesday, I was at my host site, the Chesapeake Volunteer Center, located in Wye Mills on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. You may be asking, why does a Peer Leader have a host site? Well, when it is convenient, Volunteer Maryland will partner with organizations across the state to provide an office space for a Peer Leader. In return, the Peer Leader provides the organization with his/her services. Such is the case with me at the Chesapeake Volunteer Center. In exchange for them providing me an office space, I spend part of my time revamping their database and website. Essentially I have two offices, which is awesome!
This Wednesday was our first In-Service Training for VM24. As a Peer Leader, I assist with trainings by answering any questions the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators (VMC) may have and for this particular training, I facilitated our second Regional Roundtable. During this Roundtable, we discussed their VM 1-minute spots, upcoming service projects, and progress at each of their service sites. VM 1-minute spots summarize the mission of Volunteer Maryland and how being a VMC fits into that mission. Next, we brainstormed ideas for volunteering as a region. As AmeriCorps members, we (Peer Leaders and VMCs) are responsible for dedicating part of our hours to direct service. Hakuna Matata is planning to serve together on several service projects this year. The last portion of our Roundatable was focused on making progress and the importance of progress for the service site and the VMC. This service year is intended to be a win-win-win situation for Volunteer Maryland, each service site and VMC, which is why we stay in constant communication with all parties and offer resources when it is helpful. Needless to say, the Roundtable was productive, but the fun did not stop there. Thursday was right around the corner with my first site visit at Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.
Kerry Ose is the VMC at Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. and has been doing a fantastic job. The purpose of site visits is to have a general check-in with the VMC and Site Supervisor in their work environment, discuss accomplishments and challenges, and review the work plan. The Program Manager facilitates these site visits and I attend as support and share accomplishments of the VMC. I was excited to attend my first site visit. It was very successful and I can already see how I will further develop as a professional this service year.
My last stop for the week was in Annapolis for a one-on-one check-in today. I support the VMCs collectively (i.e. Regional Roundtables) as well as individually. Each week I check-in with all fifteen Hakuna Matata VMCs to know what projects they are currently working on, if they are in need of any resources, have stories to share, and/or want my perspective or assistance with assignments. These check-ins are usually done via telephone, but I will visit a VMC at his or her site if that is more beneficial. After my check-in in Annapolis I was on the road again to my office at the Chesapeake Volunteer Center.
Phew! Lots to do in a week’s time. My car and I bonded this week with the constant driving of the Bay Bridge and I enjoyed it because I was doing exactly what I signed up to do as a Peer Leader. Every day was different from the one before and I had to keep it moving. Keep checking back to read about my other cross-state adventures!