Ever been asked to explain your work? Even with my handy-dandy elevator speech, I often wonder if I can do justice to the work Volunteer Maryland does as an AmeriCorps program, part of a State agency, and partner to nonprofits, government agencies and schools. My speech hits the main points, but if my audience is engaged, curious and generous, it leads to further questions.
If I were to create a Post-Elevator Speech FAQ, this might be at the top of the list: “Wow, serving as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator must be a great opportunity for young people who have just graduated from college, right?”
The short, incomplete answer is “Absolutely!” But that answer tells only part of the story. If you’ve followed this blog, or are otherwise familiar with Volunteer Maryland, you know that at the time of their service, our VMCs have ranged in age from teens to octogenarians. They have ranged in educational level from high school graduate to PhD, and each alum has his or her own unique story of what motivated them to serve.
At the moment, my work as Outreach Manager is all about recruiting a new cohort of fine folks to serve as Volunteer Maryland Coordinators for our 2015-2016 service year. And this year, like every year, over 100 extraordinary individuals have applied to serve with us (and it’s early days!). They do indeed include many recent college graduates whose talent and leadership amaze me. Highly accomplished mid-career professionals have also applied, boldly moving on to the next chapter of their lives. We also have applicants who are retirement age and looking for a way to deeply engage with their communities.
I am beckoned to work each day by many interesting, motivating challenges, not the least of which is recruiting a cohort of VMCs whose lives and experiences are representative of all Marylanders. We all hear and use the word “diversity” a lot — probably too much. It can begin to feel empty, or even cynical. But for Volunteer Maryland, diversity is much more than a concept or goal — it’s our identity and the fuel that keeps our work in motion.
Want to learn more? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at volunteer.maryland.gov.