Sept. Oct. 2010
Volunteer in Maryland Schools
How to: Create a Welcome Environment for New AmeriCorps Members
AmeriCorps Site Spotlight: House of Ruth Maryland
Commission Corner


dedicated citizens volunteered their time and expertise as peer reviewers for 2009-2010 GOSV AmeriCorps grant applications.
Visit our website to find out how you can become a peer reviewer.
Out of the Ordinary Volunteer Opportunities
Help animals find a new home
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc.
Pet escorts assist potential pet owners with the adoption process. The escort will assist potential adopters in selecting and meeting the right animal for them.
Get festive
Charles County: October 1-3
Oktoberfest benefitting the Society for the Friends of Hospice, Inc.
Volunteers are needed for set-up, admissions, kids area, concessions, and more. For more info, contact Colleen Wilson at 301-934-1268.
Make a call to show you care
Kent County: flexible
Telephone Reassurance Program
Volunteers make daily calls to Kent County senior citizens who have registered with the program to make sure they are well. If you would like to volunteer, call 410-778-3240. 
Protect the Appalachian Trail
Western Maryland: 3 work days this fall
The Mountain Club of Maryland is a Baltimore-based volunteer organization that is centered on
hiking and supports Leave No Trace principles. The group works on local trails and the Appalachian Trail. All levels of ability are needed.
For more information, contact Paul Ives II at
 Still photo from Megan's interview.

Welcome to the inaugural electronic newsletter from the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism (GOSV). In this and future issues, we look forward to promoting the strong AmeriCorps programs in Maryland, drawing attention to Maryland's volunteer center network, and making GOSV events and opportunities known and available to more Marylanders than ever.
If you haven't visited our website at since the early summer, you are encouraged to become acquainted with the new organizational structure. We've kept many of the original functions, and expanded a few areas, like volunteer recognition.  

Thank you for your service to Maryland; and if you enjoy this issue, please share it with colleagues and friends.
Best wishes for a happy autumn!
The Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism
Continue to Make Maryland's Schools
the Best in the Nation: Volunteer!
School children standing outside
The return of autumn in Maryland signals the beauty of fall foliage, crisp days, and for our State's young people, a return to school. By now, students and teachers have organized their classrooms and are diving into new subjects. For two years in a row, Education Week has named Maryland's public schools the best in the nation and educators are poised for continued success.
Across the state, there are countless opportunities for volunteers to contribute their time and enthusiasm to classrooms, after-school programs, and other educational activities. Many of Maryland's AmeriCorps*State programs include an education or tutoring component. At Experience Corps, older adults serve in schools as hall monitors and additional support in the classroom.
To volunteer within a specific school district, contact your local school board or desired school to learn about needs and opportunities. A complete listing of Maryland's school boards by county is available here
Volunteer Centers are literally connectors for people who want to volunteer and volunteer opportunities. Some volunteer center websites feature search tools for immediate opportunities, while others have dedicated staff to assist potential volunteers on an individual basis. For a complete listing of volunteer centers in Maryland, click here. 
No matter how much time or what type of service you would like to contribute, there is likely an opportunity for you to help Maryland's children this school year.

How to: Create a Welcome Enviroment for New AmeriCorps Members

Volunteer organizations may also consider these points when fostering new relationships with volunteers. 
It's September and in the AmeriCorps world, that means a new class of AmeriCorps*State members recently arrived at their service sites and are settling into their new positions. Members are adjusting to a new schedule and expectations, while an organization may be looking for ways to involve the new member in daily activities.
Project CHANGE, which is hosting 33 AmeriCorps members this year, is a strong example of a program that makes great efforts to create a warm and welcoming environment for all. New AmeriCorps members attend intake meetings where the stage is set for the entire year; expectations and responsibilities are discussed, as well as personal objectives. They participate in teambuilding exercises to get acquainted with their fellow members at a fun location, such as an outdoor activity course.
As the year begins, Project CHANGE's program director makes informal site visits to show her support, and allow members one-on-one time for questions. Members like to be informed, and regular communication via email and their new website keeps them up to date. Creating a positive environment is a process that occurs throughout the year and it is a responsibility that is shared by all stakeholders.
Striking the right balance of comfort and care with professionalism is different for every organization, but by thinking about the following points, you and your AmeriCorps member can create a strong working relationship that will foster productivity, positivity, and a healthy environment for months to come.
1) Tell other employees about the new member. As a site supervisor, make it a priority to inform non-AmeriCorps staff about your new member's role at your organization. 
2) Give the AmeriCorps member time before thrusting him/her into the spotlight at your organization. Include the member in activities, but wait for the member to understand your organization's culture before placing him/her in front of your Board of Directors for open questions.
3) Make sure that you have diverse activities for your AmeriCorps members to complete each day. Variety will push them to continuously be engaged in your service and discourage boredom and burnout. Experience has shown that lack of planning is a morale killer for AmeriCorps members (remember, the AmeriCorps motto is getting things done!).
AmeriCorps Site Spotlight: House of Ruth Maryland
Mother and child.Across the nation, each October, Americans observe Domestic Violence Awareness month and support communities' efforts to assist victims in finding the help and healing they need. At House of Ruth Maryland, a second year AmeriCorps*State program, this is the driving mission for staff and volunteers every month of the year.

What began in 1977 as an informal coalition of women's organizations, religious groups, service providers, and elected officials dedicated to providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and their children, has over the past few decades transformed into one of the most comprehensive domestic violence centers in the nation. The current facility consists of an 84 bed shelter, 6 transitional housing apartments, and offers a holistic health and wellness program, with an on-site health clinic staffed by the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. While time has brought great growth to the center, the spirit and importance of service and volunteerism remains strong.

During the 2009-2010 AmeriCorps year, House of Ruth Maryland hosted 6 full-time members. The AmeriCorps members recruited volunteers to expand activities for shelter residents through mediation workshops and the creation of a new game room for young people. They worked in a legal capacity, recruiting and training pro bono lawyers to help victims of domestic violence secure orders of protection and increasing the capabilities of the Legal Clinic. Members also participated in community awareness events, like Take Back the Night at Morgan State University, and helped expand the Domestically Violent Women's Program. Over their 11 months of service, the AmeriCorps members grew as individuals and helped meet the needs of hundreds of victims seeking services each month. 

For more information about House of Ruth Maryland, visit
Commission Corner
How well do you know the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism?
You may be well aware that the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 mandated that Governor-appointed service commissions inform each state's AmeriCorps grant-making and service promotion. The bi-partisan body works with the GOSV staff to review Maryland's AmeriCorps*State grant applications and evaluate which programs should be supported each year. You may have even read the highlights of their three-year strategic plan for service in Maryland.
"Volunteering is all about people helping people, and the Commission on Service and Volunteerism is proud to help Governor O'Malley shine a light of thanks on deserving citizens for their volunteer efforts," said Mac Nachlas, Chair of the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism.
In the coming issues, you'll be introduced to the people behind the Commission and read about the volunteer opportunities they personally support. In the mean time, click here to learn more.