V’mpressions: MLK Day of Service

It’s hard to believe that we are already in March of 2020! What can we say? Time flies when you’re having fun volunteering! V’m has indeed been having lots of fun volunteering around Maryland and they’d* like to let everyone know about all the awesome and V’mpressive sites, events and service projects that they has engaged with!

January is a busy time for a lot of people with resolutions: making them, breaking them, modifying them, maintaining them. It’s exhausting! Not to mention getting back to work after the Holiday season. Just when we make our way back to routine is when Martin Luther King Jr. Day occurs on January 20th. What some may not know is that this is a perfect time to start the year off right by committing a day to service, which is why the day is also called MLK Day of Service.

For MLK Day of Service, V’m was invited to Montgomery County Community Action Agency TESS Center to help spruce up the place and get it ready for a new year and a new season of service! When V’m got to the TESS Center they were greeted by Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps member, Frank Sainfort, who is also the Volunteer Coordinator! Frank led them downstairs to meet the other volunteers, take part in some breakfast items and get ready for the day. V’m enjoyed chatting with the Director Maureen Larenas-Rivas, fellow AmeriCorps Member Marieme Ndiaye and so many wonderful people from the community. V’m’s favorite part was the breakfast bagels and yummy lunch. Nothing makes V’m happier to volunteer than food, yum yum!

The volunteers for the day were split into two groups, sprucing up the welcome area and cleaning the kids playroom. V’m had a vision for painting the “Welcome” sign so they sat on Regional Coordinator Cierra David’s shoulder telling her exactly what to paint (pictured above, sleeping on the job, basically letting V’m do all the work). After painting the lettering and letting them dry, they moved downstairs to the kids playroom to help out.

V’m was so inspired by the vision the TESS Center had for the room! A frosted window pane, with peep holes for the children to look through. Mickey Mouse and friends decals on the wall. Toys sorted, cleaned and put back! V’m was excited to think about all the little kids who would enjoy the playroom while taking advantage of the TESS center’s 2-gen program system!

V’m was the happiest to see the Welcome/Bienvenidos sign go up, brightening the entrance to the center. They imagined all the people warmed by the beautiful sentiment and space. They enjoyed splish-splashing all the toys in water to wash them and imagined the children happily playing with nice, clean toys. The pièce de résistance was the ocean themed frosted pane which made V’m feel right at home, and gives children comfort because they can peep through the windows to keep an eye on Mom or Dad to make sure they are being good!

It was a lot of work, painting, reorganizing, washing and the like, especially for a little crab with two tiny claws but in the words of a fellow volunteer, “I ended up staying for the whole day because even though we did a lot of work, it didn’t feel like work. I had a lot of fun doing this and enjoyed working with everyone,”.

It was a fun volunteering experience and satisfying to imagine all the children and families that will feel happy and comfortable due to the efforts of one day of volunteering. If that’s what one day of service can do–what impact can a person make as a regular volunteer?

*V’m’s pronoun’s are They, them, their.

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