Learning Through My Travels

Through all of the site visits that Volunteer Maryland makes around the state, we get to see a lot of great ideas in practice, like Mosaic Community Center featuring the artwork of their clients throughout the office, or the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation’s multi-pronged approach to engaging their community.  On a recent visit to Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore, I was able to see a medical center that provides its care using almost exclusively volunteers.  With so many volunteers playing a role in Shepherd Clinic’s work, I wondered how they make sure everyone felt recognized and appreciated.

Shepherd mosaic

As I soon learned, some of the methods they use were quite eye-catching.  As we toured the clinic, we walked by a beautiful mosaic that combined a timeline of Shepherd Clinic’s history and testament to the many volunteers that have given their time over the years.  I could imagine as a volunteer walking through the hall, this would give me a sense of history and belonging.

We also saw an interesting way of combining name tag storage with learning each others name.  Each volunteer had a picture of themselves on a board next to the check-in station where their name tag would be clipped whenever it wasn’t being used.  Not only does each volunteer get to feel like a star with their picture on display, but it can be helpful for learning names and faces in such a busy place. Building camaraderie in a big volunteer base can be a challenge, and this is a fun way to help address it.

Shepherd board2I loved seeing how Shepherd’s Clinic creatively integrated volunteer appreciation and a sense of unity into the everyday structure of their work.  One of my favorite parts of the site visits is seeing the different approached that each nonprofit takes to serve their volunteers and community.  Each site has something that we can learn from, and I know I will continue to be impressed as we travel!and this is a fun way to help address it.

Photos courtesy of Shepherd’s Clinic

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