July/ August 2011     

2011-2012 MD AmeriCorps Portfolio
Commissioner Corner: Betsy Lafferty
Spotlight On: BVU


Maryland's land and water is packed into 10,460 square miles of diverse environments. You can find a volunteer opportunity in almost every one of them by contacting your local

volunteer center.

Out of the Ordinary Volunteer Opportunities 

Volunteer at Caroline Summerfest!

Get a free t-shirt.

August 19-20 in Denton, two hour commitment

Teen and adult volunteers can choose from stations like Box Town USA, Kidzart, and the Graffiti Wall or help out post event with clean-up..Click here for more info.

Help with Cat Adoptions

Saturdays and Sundays in Waldorf, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. two hour commitment

Volunteers show cats to potential adopters and take applications. No heavy lifting required and hours are flexible.Learn more about the opportunity.

Sing Out Loud

The Annapolis Opera is looking for volunteers 16 and over to help with publicity, school outreach, performance support, bookkeeping, support for the vocal competition and auditions.

For more information, call 410-267-8135 or email admin@annapolisopera.org.

Serve at the State Fair

August 28 in Timonium, various shifts available

The GOSV is recruiting volunteers for our family-friendly activity tent at the Maryland State Fair. If you are 16 or over, and interested in serving, please email Kara Turner, GOSV Outreach Coordinator, at
kturner@gosv.state.md.us for more details.

How to: Become an AmeriCorps member in Maryland

Are you considering a career change, or perhaps want to gain professional experience while giving back to your community?


Webinar still

AmeriCorps might be a good fit for you.
Check out our 20 minute webinar to learn about the financial benefits, the types of positions available, and how to apply for a position.

We hope you've had the opportunity to balance work, service, and relaxation over the past month. Here in the GOSV, we're wrapping up the current AmeriCorps year and helping the 2011-2012 grantees prepare for their new members.


We've recorded a webinar that explains how to become an AmeriCorps member in Maryland and placed it on our

youtube playlist. Additionally, our monthly AmeriCorps funding overview webinars have returned. The next one will be on August 10. You can register for it here  to find out if this is a good resource for your nonprofit or government agency.


We're also very excited for Governor's Volunteer Appreciation Day at the Maryland State Fair on August 28. As in previous years, we take this day to thank all of Maryland's volunteers for their service. As a token of our appreciation, we are offering discount passes. You can request passes here.


Enjoy the rest of the summer and don't forget to wear sunscreen.


Happy Summer!  

 -The Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Maryland AmeriCorps Programs

Earlier this month, the GOSV announced the entire portfolio for AmeriCorps*State programs to operate in Maryland from September 2011 through August 2012. In total, Maryland received $4.8 million in AmeriCorps grants to increase the impact of 15 organizations addressing critical community needs.

"Over the past year, Maryland's AmeriCorps programs have accomplished great things and I am pleased that with this funding, a new class of AmeriCorps members will continue to improve our communities and grow as individuals," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "I thank the Corporation for National and Community Service for their continued support of programs that serve our state's most critical needs."


The 2011-2012 Maryland AmeriCorps*State portfolio consists of programs funded through a national grant competition and those funded through a formula allotment from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Six programs were successful in the national competition, bringing in over $2.5 million, and nine additional programs will be funded with the $2.3 million that Maryland receives based on its population. In addition, one agency will receive a $25,000 planning grant to explore the feasibility of launching an AmeriCorps program in the future.


View the 2011-2012 Maryland AmeriCorps*State portfolio.

Commissioner Corner: Betsy LaffertyBetsy Lafferty


Betsy Lafferty is the vice chair of the Governor's Commission on  Service and Volunteerism and the Pastoral Associate for Faith and Justice Ministries at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Baltimore. She has served through a variety of human resource outlets, and she's constantly using her strong networking abilities to connect people to organizations that need volunteers. Currently, she supports the Franciscan Center, which provides emergency assistance and support to economically distressed populations, and the Maryland Horse Council, which protects and promotes the equine industry.


Betsy sees the power of volunteerism and makes two things clear: Everyone should have the opportunity to volunteer and there is no such thing as "just a volunteer." Volunteering is not just for people that are living comfortably or for students who are meeting a school requirement for service. Betsy explains that at the soup kitchen where she serves, people who receive lunches engage in service by helping keep the facility neat and acting as greeters to others.


Betsy believes that volunteerism is not a hierarchy with many resources at the top that trickle from asset-rich areas to those with less, but instead it is an experience that can be extremely powerful and transformational when approached from all sides. Service and skills can be given and received on many levels, as long as everyone is treated with dignity.


Before becoming a Pastoral Associate, Betsy would often hear people say "you can't expect much, because they are just volunteers" or "I'm just a volunteer." She rails against these perceptions and believes that volunteers should be held to the same expectations as paid employees, since their service is equally if not more important. She has witnessed professionals, without any experience working with children, become trained as mentors to youth. Both the mentors and the children had rewarding results. She emphasizes that dignity and respect for the volunteers are critical, for both the organization and for the volunteer to have a positive experience.


With such insight, it seems that Betsy has volunteering all figured out, but in reality, she talks about the evolving nature of meaningful service. While serving with Catholic Charities, she had to balance what she perceived to be community problems with ways that she could positively serve people in need. She tackled what it means to have limited resources and how a person can find him/herself needing outside help. She had a "eureka!" moment when she reassessed the services being provided and asked, "Am I performing this service because I think it will help others and is this really what others need?" Since then, she says that she continues to evaluate the giving of time and resources. In the soup kitchen, she weighs the consequences of removing an extra table, which would reduce the amount of people receiving meals at one time, but may make the dining experience more comfortable and welcoming to volunteers and guests.


This combination of excitement for service and the ability to look critically at the results of service make Betsy an asset to the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism. Her favorite thing about being on the commission is the exchange of knowledge from programs across the state and from her fellow commissioners.

Free Ravens Tickets!

Nominate an organization for Honor Rows


Honor Rows salutes youth who provide outstanding service to local communities.

Honorees will receive:

  • Up to 100 tickets per group to attend a Baltimore Ravens home game 
  • "Honor Rows" t-shirts 
  • Official recognition of honorees on RavensVision

Send in your nomination today!  All entries must be received by August 19, 2011.

Spotlight On: Business Volunteers UnlimitedBack River Cleanup  

Baltimore City residents and employers who are seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities need not look further than Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) - the local volunteer center, and HandsOn Network affiliate. This spring, the center celebrated its 100,000th volunteer match since being established in 2003, and offers an array of opportunities for individuals and groups.


In addition, BVU received a Volunteer Generation Fund grant in 2010 and has launched Service Ambassadors, a program to train volunteers to plan, manage a volunteer project, and recruit 10 participants in a day of service.


Jim Dickinson, BVU's Director of Programs and Leadership Development, says that the center provides services specifically designed to engage business community members through service.

"We have trained and matched over 460 executives to nonprofit boards through our Board Leadership Program, helped hundreds of corporate teams engage in meaningful days of service, developed 20 partnerships between area businesses and Baltimore City Public Schools, and have also connected many local professionals to nonprofits on a project basis through our skills-based volunteering programs." 

In addition, BVU provides training and consulting services to nonprofit staff on volunteer recruitment, engagement, and management.

Other Programs of Note


Getting Involved in Volunteer Experience (GIVE): This exclusive program raises awareness in the next generation of civic leaders about the need for volunteerism. GIVE offers volunteer projects, educational workshops, and networking events.


PENCIL Partnership program: This initiative matches business leaders with Baltimore City schools to develop projects that have a measurable impact in developing strong leaders, building school capacity, or enhancing students' learning experiences.


Upcoming Events at BVU


August 24, 2011: Do Something! For Children's Wellness

September 13, 2011: Volunteer Café

September 21, 2011: Role of the Board Essentials training


Learn more at www.volunteercentral.net or www.bvumaryland.org.