Linh: Adventures in Service

Linh is serving as Volunteer Coordinator at The Franciscan Center, which provides numerous services to those in need living in Baltimore City, including providing lunch and dinner to hundreds every week.

After relaxing, hiking, and sunbathing on the New Zealand coast for two years, I was ready to get back to public service. After a lengthy hiatus, entering the professional world again can be daunting but I was assured by Volunteer Maryland that I would fit right in. They were right.

Volunteer Maryland has helped me rekindle my professional career in public service. Everyone has been welcoming and my experience with the Franciscan Center’s volunteer program, primarily their meal service program, has been very positive. Although my main focus is on volunteer coordination, I’ve been able to bring my experience as a trained clinician to provide perspective to the Franciscan Center’s volunteer program.

During my time at the Franciscan Center, I’ve witnessed relief from people who didn’t have to make a choice between paying for groceries or other basic necessities. An essential part of serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator at the Franciscan Center is making sure every volunteer comes out with an understanding of food insecurity and other social and community determinants that interferes with building a healthy life. For many Franciscan Center’s guests, building a healthy life is a personal struggle, but I am happy to serve at a non-profit that alleviate barriers and promote self-efficacy.

My long-term goal is getting into research on how volunteering is a pathway to civic participation. I previously taught workshops on civic engagement to help college students cultivate their civic identity. I loved my job because I (hopefully) educated and empowered young minds to engage in their communities and solve problems uniquely in their own ways. Serving at the Franciscan Center has been a wonderful experience engaging with volunteers who want to contribute to a common good.

I’m glad to call Baltimore home for 11 months, thanks to Volunteer Maryland.

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