This story was one involving growth of an AmeriCorps member, an illumination of service, and excitement for change. As I began I set out to broaden my horizons focusing on what I wanted to get out of a second year with Volunteer Maryland.
My expectations were to increase certain skills and grow professionally with regards to moving towards my goals in becoming a therapist. My experience as a Peer Leader has provided me the opportunity to develop a set of skills that has helped me to unlock my strength, and maximizing my potential. I have been amazed with the feedback I received from that of the Volunteer Maryland Staff and that of the VMCs. I will never forget one special note from Roslyn Lindner, “Thank you Elena for always being available to talk and listen to what I have to say, I really appreciate you.” This message really touched me and I was able to see that my work makes an impact. In June I was presented an opportunity to take the lead as a facilitator. This spoke to my professional growth and I felt proud of my accomplishments.
I also spoke to part of my story involving an illumination of service. Growing up, service was and still is an important aspect of life that my parents continue to teach. In a past blog I talked about a volunteer who helped me unlock myself worth, self esteem, and taught me to read. She continues to be my inspiration for why I serve. It is because of this very experience and that of my own volunteer opportunities this year that I understand why I serve. I serve to learn and to teach responsibility not only for myself but for others. By serving as a volunteer with organizations that aim to build stronger and healthier communities like; Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, Manna Food Center, and United Communities Against Poverty, I have added value and made significant changes in the lives of those I’ve served this year. Service is not a task but rather an opportunity and a privilege to impact the community and give others hope for a brighter, safer, and more efficient future. It is because of this that I continue to strive, putting forth all my efforts to maximize the growth of this nation, advocating for my fellow Americans, and empowering others to get involved in meaningful service.
As an AmeriCorps Alum I look to make a difference by actively involving myself in community needs I look to improve with my fellow AmeriCorps and VM Alum. I look forward to expanding my knowledge; infusing my experiences as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator of VM Class 24 and as this year’s Peer Leader, to gain my Masters in Social Work and impact families and children health centers, mental health facilities, schools, and community organizations that work to make an immediate impact in the community. Finally I must Serve this year and beyond, never to forget that in seeking change, I must be that change. This is my commitment. I will embrace a lifetime of service in all aspects of my life, leading each day with conviction as an example, changing the world.
Now my story has come to an end. I am not good with goodbyes; rather I’ll leave you with a simple common phrase, “all right then,” for I am off. Off to change the world, never to close this chapter but to reread it, enjoying and learning from my experiences again and again. . This is not a goodbye, for AmeriCorps is forever.