VOLUNTEER MARYLAND RESULTS
Mobilizing Citizens to Serve Across Maryland
Volunteer Maryland (VM) is a volunteer generator AmeriCorps program. Each Volunteer Maryland Coordinator is placed at a local nonprofit or government agency to mobilize the volunteers needed to serve critical human and environmental needs in those communities. Each agency partner, called a Service Site, identifies its own need for volunteers—number, types of volunteer service, location and frequency of service, etc. The VM Coordinator’s job is to help bring the site’s vision to fruition over the course of the partnership year.
To that end, VM Coordinators and local Service Sites mobilize approximately 5,000 community volunteers each year.
Building Nonprofit Capacity to Recruit and Manage Volunteers
Since 1992, Volunteer Maryland has worked with 612 AmeriCorps members to mobilize 101,898 volunteers, contributing more than 1.5 million hours of service to Maryland communities. On average 80 – 85 percent met their volunteer recruitment goals and 90 – 95 percent are better able to manage their volunteer programs. In our post surveys that we do three years after our partnership concludes, 90 percent are continuing to mange and expand the volunteer programs.
Meeting Critical Community Needs
In addition to volunteer management capacity building, each VM Service Site sets their own goals for serving their clients and communities. Volunteer Maryland Coordinators develop work plans to meet these goals and measure their progress throughout the 11-month partnership. Examples from four former sites follow.
Education: At Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore, 40 percent of third - sixth grade students tested below proficiency in reading and 20 percent were below grade level in math in 2007. Knowing that engaging families can be a key piece in student achievement, Patterson Park partnered with VM to engage parents as volunteers during academic and school support activities. The VM Coordinator developed a flexible program that enabled parents to volunteer around their existing schedules. As a result, 88 percent of families participated in the school community in the 2008-2009 school year and 95 percent of evaluated family members indicated increases in their students’ interest in academics, behaviors, attention, and social skills.
Environmental Stewardship: A report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation demonstrated that Wicomico County leads all other Maryland counties in the percentage of farmland lost to development between 1982 and 1997 and the Maryland Department of Planning reported that Dorchester and Caroline counties join Wicomico as threatened in land protection. The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance works to protect watershed in these three counties and Delaware. Nanticoke partnered with VM to build the Nanticoke Creekwatchers Water Monitoring Program. In just one year, the VM Coordinator coordinated 111 volunteers in monitoring water quality and cleaning up 725,000 watershed acres.
Healthy Futures: Maryland has the sixth highest breast cancer rate in the United States; in 12 Maryland counties, breast cancer mortality rates are above the national average. Though early detection is a key to survival, in 2006, 20 percent of women over 40 had not undergone a mammogram in the past two years. Susan G. Komen for the Cure partnered with VM to create a volunteer speakers’ bureau that would provide breast health education at businesses, schools, health fairs, and community events. The VM Coordinator developed a volunteer program and recruited 34 volunteers who educated 2,310 individuals in breast cancer prevention and health. Nearly 80 percent of event attendees reported an increase in breast health knowledge after the presentations.
Economic Opportunity: According to a report issued by the Working Poor Families Project in 2008 titled, “Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short16% of working families in Maryland are low-income. As a result, even in a wealthy state such as Maryland, there are over 100,000 families struggling to make ends meet. The Baltimore CASH Campaign mission is to increase financial security for low-income Baltimore families by promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit, providing free tax preparation services, and connecting individuals to year-round financial management services and programs. The VM Coordinator created a Volunteer Hub database to assist with scheduling and tracking volunteer hours for the organization’s 362 volunteers. They also recruited 247 new volunteers during her service year, over half of whom served during tax season to provide free tax preparation services to 8,511 clients