What I Tell AmeriCorps

Day’s Verse:
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 4:4-5

To facilitate happy feelings and empower me, AmeriCorps requires that I periodically get to write reports documenting my activities. These reports may also have something to do with their need to show their grant-suppliers that the money is going towards good things. These reports have handy-dandy little pre-set sections to help categorize members’ work. The categories are:

  • Restoring Watersheds,
  • Land Management,
  • Educating Students,
    and

  • Increasing Volunteerism

The sad part about this form is that my project doesn’t fit into any of those categories. You might think “Increasing Volunteerism” could cover my work, but creating a volunteer program, while ultimately intending to increase volunteerism, is too far upstream to fit into their paradigm.

So I get to write a little short essay — “short” being the operative word — to show I’ve been using my time wisely, and not blogging and looking at potential homes on work time. Here, for the sake of posterity and spreading the suffering around, is the entirety of my Site Report essay.

My goal since January has been to learn everything I could about volunteer programs. When I started, I had no real idea of where to go with the project. Now, after interviewing a senior HR manager and 8 volunteer coordinators from all around the country, conducting extensive research, listening to input from the staff and volunteers, and absorbing the Bicycle Alliance culture, I’m starting to envision the skeleton of a volunteer program for the Bicycle Alliance.

The skeleton includes working with staff to create and document policies, procedures, a volunteer handbook, volunteer job descriptions, and to create an outline of the overall volunteer program (which is continually under revision; the latest version is attached). The digital component, comprising the website and database, is another key component, and I’ve been working with the appropriate people for each of those to ensure that whose digital pieces will come online before the end of my term.

At the same time, I’ve created drafts of a training module, including a handbook, lesson plan, and other helpful checklists, for how to represent the Bicycle Alliance at tabling events. To learn about tabling, I tabled for the Bicycle Alliance at 9 events, including Bike Expo, and talking to about 2,300 people. I’ve also created two other training handbooks, one on how to do financial batching and the other on how to do map mailings. To improve my teaching ability, I’ve co-taught four bicycle related classes and completed my League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification.

Additionally, I organized the attendance of 50 Bicycle Alliance volunteers and staff members at the Mariners Salute to Volunteers game (one of the few games the Mariners have won this year) on April 20th, 2010.

Finally, to help facilitate using bikes as transportation, I worked closely with a volunteer graphic designer to create a brochure titled “Go by Bike!” (attached). We received 2,500 of the brochures at the end of March and have distributed 1,300 of them to date.

There. Does that sound like an achievement, or what? I sure hope so, ’cause I’ve theoretically spent 548 hours on my internship (not to mention the 116 hours of AmeriCorps training or 68 hours for KDOG), and I’d hate to think those were wasted. Really, it’d break my heart.

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