My name is Taeketra Haynes and this is my first blog post a a Volunteer Maryland Peer Leader. Now, you’re probably expecting me to introduce myself, give some background about my life and experiences, explain why I joined AmeriCorps, etc, etc, etc. Well surprise, I’m not going to do that. Nope, over the next few months you’ll get to know me in person or through this blog. So instead, I am going to chat about eleven months. Eleven months, twenty-six Volunteer Coordinator’s, three staff members, and two Peer leaders. Over the next 11 months each of us will encounter good times and rough times. We will learn valuable lessons and gain life experience. In the next 11 months we as a group will consume countless cups of coffee, work with hundreds of volunteers and put in countless hours of service to our communities (or at least 1700). Peer Leaders and Volunteer Maryland Coordinators each have 11 months as AmeriCorps members with Volunteer Maryland, and I for one am looking forward to all of the opportunities that will be available. After being an AmeriCorps Member for the past year the best advice I can give any member of any program is to seize the moment. Over the next 11 months each of us will be bombarded with opportunities outside of our regular 9-5 days. We will have the chance to attend events, hear speakers, take risks, learn from others, share skills and try new things. In my first few days as a Peer Leader I have tried to live by the idea of seizing the moment. I have learned many things from my fellow Volunteer Maryland Support Team members thus far and have attempted to take advantage of opportunities to ask questions, learn new things, and step-up to volunteer assistance. In the next few weeks as Volunteer Maryland prepares for pre-service training and the start of the Service Year I find myself wondering what these next 11 months will bring and what type of experiences I will have. Now, I don’t know what those 11 months will look like or what they will have in store for me, but I do know that I will do my best to seize the moment. I will do my best to help empower other to do the same, and I will get things done for America.
-Cheers to the next 11 months with all of you