Back in December I wrote a post in which I mentioned Ok Go’s perpetual motion machine video that complements their song, “This Too Shall Pass.” As I reflect back on my service year, that video comes to mind (just ignore the lyrics) again. I felt like I was in constant motion, some times things got really messy, and I had a blast!
I was directly involved in more than 20 nonprofits serving citizens across the state of Maryland. Some organizations, like St. Francis Neighborhood Center, I had become familiar with last year as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. This year I developed a deeper understanding of SFNC’s mission and the amazing impact they have on the Reservoir Hill Community. I will never forget the delight on the children’s faces when they arrived on Read Across America Day. Others, like Baltimore SquashWise, I was introduced to for the first time. Words fail me in describing the warm welcome I received from the SquashWise volunteer family at the Meadow Mill Athletic Center squash rally this spring. I wish I lived close enough to be regularly involved in this wonderful organization.
I also had the opportunity to develop relationships with AmeriCorps members serving in programs other than Volunteer Maryland. I met Dara from Public Allies, Cory from PALS, Shane from Campus Compact, and Cora from Experience Corps, just to name a few. It made my day when I attended Maryland Association of Nonprofits Organization events and walked into a room full of friends!
Did I mention how much fun I have had? Just yesterday I looked like a Blue Man Group wannabe after putting grout on a mural with Project PLASE. It was an incredible cooperative effort that engaged clients, community members, staff, and volunteers. Last fall during a tree planting day at Anacostia Watershed Society I met an amazing group of corporate volunteers from a local engineering firm. They even offered to feed me!
Speaking of eating, food was a memorable part of my service year. Both exchanging recipes and discovering great places to eat. I made the Stinking Rose recipe Sumiko gave me for staff meeting this week. I’m still trying to get up enough nerve to attempt Liz’s chocolate cake. Joy introduced me to Lemongrass, a great place to warm up on a cold February day. And, thanks to Patrice, I discovered Nando’s Peri Peri. The Butternut Squash and Couscous salad is delish. If you are in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, be sure to stop in On The Hill. The sandwiches and salads are excellent. I am looking for an excuse to go back and get a burger. . .hope Laura can join me!
Last, but not least, Volunteer Maryland. I loved working with Maureen, Laura, Patrice, Kim, and Joy. If you are considering serving with AmeriCorps, become a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. It’s fun, you’ll learn a lot, and you might even get lunch!