It’s the People

The following is a guest post from VM’s Outreach Manager, Patrice Beverly.

Patrice (in the middle) surrounded by people - AmeriCorps members and staff of Volunteer Maryland
Patrice (in the middle) surrounded by people – AmeriCorps members and staff of Volunteer Maryland

Ever think about why you do what you do?  If you are like me, this thought wanders into my mind as I am stuck in traffic on my commute into Baltimore, or during long meetings, or when the gate to my parking lot will not go up after multiple swipes of my card.  I know, not really deep problems, but these are just the things that can derail your passion for what you do.

As a culture, we are a tad obsessed with what we are doing, and why we are doing it.  Hello Facebook.  We search for books, blogs, and websites that will help us validate our choices or help us to be bold and strike out on new adventures.  Each day we are faced with more information about how what we are doing is either helping us live longer or ruining our health.  But in all of this, it never gets at the heart of why I do what I do; and then it came to me.

I am a self disclosed affiliator.  An affiliator, according to Dr. David McClelland’s theory on motivations, focuses on relationship with others, and enjoys team work and collaboration.  We also enjoy Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain, but that is for another post.  What this means to me is people motivate me in my life, and therefore in my work.  Volunteer Maryland talks a good bit about motivation.  So much so it is a part of training for the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators.  So this got me thinking about the next group of Volunteer Maryland Coordinators.

Currently, we are interviewing for this next group of AmeriCorps members, and as you can imagine, that motivation questions does pop up.  This is a tough question as it gets to the heart of why you want to do this.  I have heard many different responses to this question, but at the heart is always the need to make a difference.  To help.  To push the needle just a bit forward and to feel satisfied in doing so.  Not an easy task.  But here is the thing, this is a pretty broad motivation that will be narrowed and defined during the course of an AmeriCorps service term.  Maybe even more than once.  It really is amazing that each year Volunteer Maryland is flooded with applications from people who are motivated by a simple yet so complex desire: to see change.  Changes in communities, and people, and volunteer programs, and that is pretty cool stuff.  This blog is full of stories about just regular people who get up each morning motivated by making a difference.  Maybe you would like to add your story to this difference making effort.  There really is no time like right now to check in with your own motivation, and see if it is that you want to make things a little better.  If it is, I would love to hear from you.  Remember, I am motivated by people, and you are just the kind of person I am looking for.

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