Yesterday, February 14th, marked my first full month at Pass it Along…and what a month it has been!
My first week, I saw two huge events that were the result of a ton of effort and planning on the staff’s part long before I arrived: Dodgeball and the National Day of Service project for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While thinking back to those events, while I remember still a bit overwhelmed and adjusting to my role within the organization, I also remember being equally impressed with the dedication of the students and staff that make Pass it Along such a great team to be a part of, as well as the incredible impact and reach that these dedicated people make in their communities. The MLK Day project especially made me so excited to dive right in to whatever PIA would plan next.
Programmatically, Pass it Along has added quite a few new opportunities in the last four weeks: Extra senior citizen service days at Bristol Glen; mentoring opportunities at not one, not two, but THREE middle schools in the area, including Newark South 17th Street school; Girl Power, an effective and meaningful program where high school girls work with middle school girls on a variety of important “tween” topics; and three new hurricane relief projects, including a large-scale event in April that will be one of our Global Youth Service Day endeavors. Wow!
In the office, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the whole staff to increase operational effectiveness, and we’re getting a head start on our spring cleaning. As we take a fresh approach to the programs we build and the ways in which we serve, it became apparent that we could use some “purging” in and around our office. As we rearrange, repurpose and recycle, I am confident that the effect on operations at PIA will be noticeable.
Finally, just this week I had a chance to be introduced to the PIA board members at their monthly meeting this past Wednesday. While certainly a non-traditional setting (does any other board play “Name That Tune” to kick off the evening? Have members as young as 8 being honored for their service? Encourage playfulness and reflection in equal measure? I think not!), it actually seemed more productive than any of the other board meetings I have been in attendance for at other organizations. It was also great for me to be able to put faces to names we hear so often in the PIA office. I have a confession to make, too: originally, I was only planning to stay for my introduction… but I was having such a great time, and the meeting was so inspirational and informative, that I ended up staying for the entire thing. I can confidently say that our board is an amazingly dynamic group of people, and their dedication to PIA is palpable. Second confession: I’m actually looking forward to the next one!
It has been a momentous month. I can’t wait to see what the next four weeks bring.
-Written by Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate.