As Promised, I’ve Gone Flat. . .

for #AmeriCorps  Week                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Here is a photo documentary of one day. 

Before I went flat this morning, I drew the stars Joy and I will assemble tomorrow.   Shhhh. ..It’s a surprise!  

  On my way to the office I stopped by the Partners in Care boutique to drop off donations my father-in-law gave me last weekend.  The manager wasn’t there yet so I had to take my own flat picture at the door.                                     


I read my email and then it was time to head toward Charm City.  I had a regional meeting scheduled with the Baltimore Barbarians.  On the way I stopped at Michaels to pick up another roll of gold paper.   Isn’t it sparkly?    Wait until you see the final product!  Before I went in to get the paper, I stayed in the car to listen to one of my favorite new songs Alex @WRNR was playing, Little Talks, by Of Monsters and Men.

I picked Ayana up at Baltimore SquashWise and we met the rest of our gang at our usual meeting place, Charmingtons.      She was recently accepted into the Masters of Social Work program at Howard University.  And, she’s invited a friend to apply to next year’s Volunteer Maryland Coordinator class.  We are a dynamic group and our conversations are exhilarating.  Marie arrived with colorful postcard announcements she made for the upcoming Destination AmeriCorps event.  Michelle has just secured a partnership with Johns Hopkins University to ensure the sustainability of the Story Pals program at the Barclay School.   Abby reported The Read Across America event at St. Francis Neighborhood Center was great fun.  I know the “Book Nook” fort sure looked awesome!  Each of us was busily scribbling notes about resources we weren’t aware of and promising to email information i.e. neighborhood engagement, paired reading strategies, volunteer appreciation, and Boot Up Baltimore, just to name a few.  We also talked about the documentation for the mid year report that is due at the end of the month.  All of us are looking forward to the mid year retreat next week. We bid one another good bye and set off into the beautiful sunshine.  After I dropped Ayana off, I headed back to Pasadena, resisting the urge to take a picture of Flat Barb on the back of the motorcycle riding city police officer next to me on Presidents Street. 

           Remember, when you see me out and about this week, take our picture and post it on the Volunteer Maryland Facebook page.


Going Flat for #AmeriCorps Week

Do you know about the upcoming TOMS One Day Without Shoes campaign? Blake Mycoskie and company invite supporters to go one day without shoes, April 10, 2012. It is “the day we spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life by taking off our own. . . Millions of children live without proper footwear, exposing them to injury and disease every day.” I love this engaging call to action and segue into telling a story! I am already crafting the one I’ll tell. 
Volunteer Maryland is crusading too. As an AmeriCorps program we are celebrating AmeriCorps Week. This year’s theme is “AmeriCorps Works.” I know “AmeriCorps Works.” Last year Volunteer Maryland Coordinators recruited 8,800 volunteers who served 65,000 community members. Those volunteers provided approximately 90,000 hours of service valued at $1.9 million. In honor of AmeriCorps Week, March 10 through March 18, I will be putting my shirt on, my AmeriCorps shirt that is! If you see me in my “AmeriGear” in the grocery store, at my local community center, driving a Partners in Care senior to a medical appointment, or meeting with my Volunteer Maryland peeps at Charmington’s in Charles Village , ask me how AmeriCorps Works.
Maybe you know Flat Stanley? Stanley’s dad gave him a big bulletin board which he hung on the wall over Stanley’s bed. During the night, the board fell off the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survived and Flat Stanleys have been visiting the friends and family all over the world, mailed in envelopes, for almost 50 years. He even has an iTunes app; we are in the digital age! Keep your eyes open.  Not only am I putting on my AmeriGear to celebrate AmeriCorps week, I am going flat!  When you see me, take a picture of us and post it on the Volunteer Maryland Facebook page.  Let’s see how far I can go. . .and remember to Read with the Trees on Friday, March 2.  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better.  It’s not.”

Volunteer Howard wrote a fun and provocative post recently: In the Super Bowl of Volunteer Efforts, Giants and Patriots Both NFL Champions. The writer highlights programs the Giants team is involved in that strengthen their communities. One of the programs the Giants team participates in is Read Across America, coming up in March. This year’s campaign will showcase Dr. Suess’ book and the upcoming movie, The Lorax (featuring the voices of Taylor Swift, Zach Effron, Danny Devito and Betty White).
Like the teachers and volunteers who participate in Reading Across America, we have a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator in VM24 who is also deeply committed to reading. Michelle Barrow, the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at the Barclay School, facilitates the Story Pals reading program. Michelle works diligently to recruit volunteers to do supplemental reading with students during the school day. In addition to the day-to-day work of coordinating volunteers, Michelle is focused on an equally important element of any Volunteer Maryland partnership – volunteer program sustainability. She is tirelessly pursuing means to ensure the program stays in place after her year of service ends in July. One possibility being considered is the Reading Partners program, new to the Baltimore area. Michelle has also developed partnerships with professors and service organizations at nearby Johns Hopkins University. The Barclay School received a generous donation from one of the campus service groups last fall. Another possibility for the continuation of the Story Pals program is to have students coordinate it as part of an internship. On March 2, the middle school students at the Barclay School will celebrate Read Across America Day by reading to the elementary students. Join them and read with a young person in your neighborhood!
The Giants and Patriots have prepared for this weekend’s game with a vision for long-term success. That is what Michelle is doing and a vision and plan for the future are important components of Volunteer Maryland. Establishing partnerships, like those Michelle has developed for the Barclay School, lead toward sustainable volunteer programs. In best practices of volunteer management, that’s making it to the Super Bowl!