Volunteer Howard wrote a fun and provocative post recently: In the Super Bowl of Volunteer Efforts, Giants and Patriots Both NFL Champions. The writer highlights programs the Giants team is involved in that strengthen their communities. One of the programs the Giants team participates in is Read Across America, coming up in March. This year’s campaign will showcase Dr. Suess’ book and the upcoming movie, The Lorax (featuring the voices of Taylor Swift, Zach Effron, Danny Devito and Betty White).
Like the teachers and volunteers who participate in Reading Across America, we have a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator in VM24 who is also deeply committed to reading. Michelle Barrow, the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at the Barclay School, facilitates the Story Pals reading program. Michelle works diligently to recruit volunteers to do supplemental reading with students during the school day. In addition to the day-to-day work of coordinating volunteers, Michelle is focused on an equally important element of any Volunteer Maryland partnership – volunteer program sustainability. She is tirelessly pursuing means to ensure the program stays in place after her year of service ends in July. One possibility being considered is the Reading Partners program, new to the Baltimore area. Michelle has also developed partnerships with professors and service organizations at nearby Johns Hopkins University. The Barclay School received a generous donation from one of the campus service groups last fall. Another possibility for the continuation of the Story Pals program is to have students coordinate it as part of an internship. On March 2, the middle school students at the Barclay School will celebrate Read Across America Day by reading to the elementary students. Join them and read with a young person in your neighborhood!
The Giants and Patriots have prepared for this weekend’s game with a vision for long-term success. That is what Michelle is doing and a vision and plan for the future are important components of Volunteer Maryland. Establishing partnerships, like those Michelle has developed for the Barclay School, lead toward sustainable volunteer programs. In best practices of volunteer management, that’s making it to the Super Bowl!

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