Five weeks from today, the Volunteer Maryland service year will have ended, and the members of VM25 will move on to the next stage of our lives. That means we still have work to do and are not quite ready to tearfully say goodbye, but that many of us are reflecting on what this year has meant, as well as what comes next.
For me, this has been a year of personal and professional growth. Serving as part of the Volunteer Maryland Support Team has given me the opportunity to learn more than words can express from our Director, Maureen Eccleston, our Outreach Manager, Patrice Beverly, our Program Manager, Laura Aceituno, and my fellow Peer Leader, Kelly MacBride-Gill. And at my host site, the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, I have had the added pleasure of developing some exciting events with Mickey Gomez, Pam Simonson, Patti Henkel and Dale Wasmus.
And as for the amazing Volunteer Maryland Coordinators with whom I have worked. I have watched with amazement as Connie Pulliam, Kaitlyn Fernald and Kendra Tappin have balanced service and education. I’ve cheered on Allyson Bloom, Kat Patterson, Kristen Wharton and Krisia Jones as they have been admitted to law school and graduate school. I celebrated with Casey Lowe when she accepted a permanent position at her service site, and marveled as Rhonda Nelson received special recognition for her achievements at her service site. I have watched with respect and admiration as Damian Bascom has passionately served his community, had a blast with Rebecca Larew at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, laughed and laughed and laughed with Nina Lewis.
AmeriCorps and Volunteer Maryland aim to give members a transformative experience. Thanks in no small part to the extraordinary people I have met this year, it has been exactly that for me.