Saturday, July 19, 2008

Something Old, Something New

Well, today is my last day as an AmeriCorps member working for Habitat for Humanity Kansas City. Next week I'll begin my new job as "Special Projects Coordinator" (or something like that - the details are still being worked out). In trying to process how I feel, it's a mixed bag. I'm excited that I'm staying with Habitat - it's a great organization and we're on the brink of big things around here. Next year is our 30th Anniversary and plans are swirling all around. We're in talks with new sponsors (thank you 105.1 JACK FM!), possible partner organizations and even with the city of Kansas City to try to get things going on a bigger level. It could be huge and I feel blessed to be here now, while all of these things are getting ready to happen. At the same time though, it's not really a new job since I've been here the last 10 months, and I wonder if I could have grown more somewhere else. I only applied for one other job (since this one was pretty much in the bag) and wonder if maybe I didn't sell myself short.

I'm looking at the positives: I know the people here and already have an idea of how I fit into the organization. I know the volunteers and Board members (except the new ones), and have a general idea of what I'll be doing and the direction we're looking for things to go. I'll still be working with the volunteers, but I'll also be focusing on a few special programs - the Speaker's Bureau, Cans for Habitat (our recycling program that raises money) and Youth United (our youth program which is definitely my weakest area - I'm not entirely sure I have a good concept of what we want this to be). I'm sure there will be more, but like I said the details are still getting worked out. It's enough familiar that I'm not worried but enough new that I'm going to be challenged. I think it could be really great. Now we just have to sort things out and let everyone else in the office know what's going on. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

AmeriCorps wind down

Well, next week is my last week of AmeriCorps service. As of July 22nd I'm officially done with 1700 hours of service to my country that didn't involve getting shot at or going to a hot, sandy foreign (although I have plenty of respect for people who take that route too). I've been working at Habitat for Humanity Kansas City since the end of August and now I have to figure out what comes next. Habitat KC may want to hire me but there are details that need to be worked out and I know that there are other options out there. We'll have to see what happens; the resume is polished and in writing my first cover letter since this term, I've been reflecting on all the things that I've learned and done this last 10 1/2 months.

Pointers to working with volunteers:
- They're busy, like we all are, so don't put too many expectations on them.
- They're wonderful people who want to make a difference in the world.
- They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, abilities so you should be prepared to have something for anyone who walks thru the door.
- Communication is key! A volunteer can't know something unless you've told them clearly (and probably more than once since very few of us remember anything after hearing it only once).
- Put as much into writing as possible (i.e. position descriptions, meeting minutes, email conversations). It means things are available as a reference for later and it helps cover yourself if something comes up later.
- Say thank you. This can be done in a variety of ways (many free) but does a lot to let people know that you notice what they do and appreciate them.
- Keep people in the loop. Even people who can't come around as often as they'd like want to feel connected to what goes on and something like a newsletter keeps them involved.
- Potential new volunteers are everywhere and all around.
- If you are passionate about what you do, it will show and people will ask you about it and want to get involved as well.
- If there's something that you need/want, don't be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is that they say no, but you never know who will say yes or give you information for someone else they know would like to do it.

Oh man! Looking over the list above, I sound like a BIG cliche. None of this is really anything we haven't heard before or even that I didn't know before I worked here, and yet none of it has felt so TRUE before. I really love what I do and hope I get to continue doing something like this for a long time.