August 6, 2001 was the first day of training for me as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. I really don’t remember much from this day, as the first day of my training, and the 11 other first days of training I have been a part of have run together. I do remember coming home that night and wondering if I was going to go back. The reason? Everyone was just a bit too happy. So odd for me to think of that now as a reason not to stay as it is the very reason I have stayed. Volunteer Maryland is a happy place. Not Disneyland Land, It’s a Small World kind of happy, but the kind of happy that seems to fill your being a little each day. Maybe it is because every year this happiness is renewed with a new group of Volunteer Maryland Coordinators who pledge to make our communities stronger, safer and healthier. Maybe it is the creative staff that fills the halls of Volunteer Maryland with ideas, passion and laughter. Mostly I think it is the opportunity to do a little good each day in the hope that this good will spread into the forgotten corners of Maryland and beyond.
The fuzzy picture is one of me and my fellow classmates from Volunteer Maryland Class 14. They are really great people. I do not see them much now, but I carry them with me, and the experiences we shared during our term of service. I see this connection every time a new class begins, and I witness tremendous growth in the people who enter through the door on that first day. I also see the tremendous work that Volunteer Maryland Coordinators provide communities through engaging volunteers in the simple yet so important act of service. That is pretty happy.
I remember. I remember that AmeriCorps is hard but so completely worth it. I remember that the partnerships that Volunteer Maryland creates work, and provide a fantastic platform for continued volunteer program potential. I remember that service is why Volunteer Maryland exists, and it should be the banner that we work under. I remember that tad younger self, in the cream sweatshirt who wanted to make a difference. The picture and the memory may be a bit fuzzy, but the commitment to service remains sharp, and in focus.
As I step into the role of Director with Volunteer Maryland, I am excited for what will come, and proud to continue what has been established. I look forward to talking about what we are up to here, and introduce you to the next class of Volunteer Maryland Coordinators. Thank you for your support to Volunteer Maryland, and talk to you soon.