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http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
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Contents
	Volunteer Program........ 3	 Sarah’s House..............
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! 
Special Section
By Lisa R. Rhodes
Staff Writer
Five years ago, Fort M...
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
Special Section
By Alan H. Feiler
Staff Writer
The USO. These days it’...
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! 
Special Section
By Alan H. Feiler
Staff Writer
Among Cpl. Vicky Johns...
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
Special Section
He said volunteers come from a gamut
of organizations ...
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! 
Special Section
By Veronica Castro
Public Affairs Office
Volunteering...
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
Special Section
By Dijon Rolle
Editor
Whether they’re on the sidelines...
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  1. 1. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015 Column Contents Volunteer Program........ 3 Sarah’s House........................6 USO Volunteers............. 4 Partners in Education............7 BOSS Volunteers........... 5 Youth Sports Volunteers........8 Editorial Staff Garrison Commander Col. Brian P. Foley Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodwell L. Forbes Public Affairs Officer Chad T. Jones Chad.T.Jones.civ@mail.mil Chief, Command Information Philip H. Jones Philip.H.Jones.civ@mail.mil Editor Dijon Rolle Dijon.N.Rolle.civ@mail.mil Assistant Editor Senior Writer Rona S. Hirsch Staff Writer Lisa R. Rhodes Staff Writer Alan H. Feiler Design Coordinator Timothy Davis Supple­mental photography provided by The Baltimore Sun Media Group Advertising General Inquiries 410-332-6300 or email advertise@baltsun.com If you would like information about receiving Soundoff! on Fort Meade or are experiencing distribution issues, call 877-886-1206 or e-mail TP@baltsun.com. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Printed by offset method of reproduction as a civilian enterprise in the interest of the personnel at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, by The Baltimore Sun Media Group, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, every Thursday except the last Thursday of the year in conjunction with the Fort Meade Public Affairs Office. Requests for publication must reach the Public Affairs Office no later than Friday before the desired publication date. Mailing address: Post Public Affairs Office, Soundoff! IMME-MEA-PA, Bldg. 4409, Fort Meade, MD 20755-5025. Telephone: 301-677-5602; DSN: 622-5602. Printed by The Baltimore Sun Co., LLC, a private firm, in no way connected with the Department of the Army. Opinions expressed by the publisher and writers herein are their own and are not to be considered an official expression by the Department of the Army. The appearance of advertisers in the publication does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of the Army of the products or services advertised. www.ftmeade.army.mil You can also keep track of Fort Meade on Twitter at twitter.com/ftmeademd and view the Fort Meade Live Blog at ftmeade.armylive.dodlive.mil. Soundoff!´ Guaranteed circulation: 11,285 The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, which is celebrated worldwide during the third week of April, was: “Volunteers: Hands That Serve, Hearts That Care.” The Fort Meade Volunteer Corps is more than 2,200 members strong and donates approximately $5 million in volunteer service each year. Anyone can become a Fort Meade volunteer - service members, DoD civilians, spouses, retirees, contractors and youths. Our volunteers provide assistance to programs such as Child, Youth and School Services’ sports programs, Army Community Service, Family Readiness support groups, spouses’ clubs, the two garrison chapels, Scout troops, the Fort Meade Pet Care Center and much more. Volunteers also serve in organizations from the surrounding communities such as Sarah’s House, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport’s Honor Flights program, Mary- land Therapeutic Riding, American Red Cross, Armed Forces Retirement Homes and Arlington National Cemetery. Without the assistance of volunteers, many programs such as the Youth Sports programs and family readiness groups would not be possible. There are also virtual volunteers. Virtual volun- teering is a good way to enlist the skills of people who may be too busy to come into an office setting, or who may have a physical disability that prevents them from routine volunteering. It is also a way for high school students to earn volunteer hours for graduation. Virtual volunteers assist agencies and organiza- tions with duties such as editing brochures, typing newsletters and proofreading. Virtual volunteers are able to work from home and establish their own hours, while balancing family needs with the desire to contribute to their community and still get the job done. The benefits of volunteering are numerous. Vol- unteering affords opportunities to keep work skills sharp, gain job experience, test out a new career field, and earn promotion points or service learning hours toward high school graduation. Regardless of the reasons for volunteering, reg- istering to become a Fort Meade volunteer is easy. Log into www.myarmyonesource.com and follow the directions. Prospective volunteers also can select where they would like to work and what duties they would like to perform. Whatever the task, small or great, volunteers work together with paid staffers to create experi- ences that are unique and inspiring. I look forward to certifying you as the next Fort Meade volunteer! Editor’s note: For more information on volunteer- ing in the Fort Meade community, call Marie Miles at 301-677-5590. ‘Hands that serve, hearts that care’ Marie Miles, Army Volunteer Corps Program Manager Background checks required to work with kids A background check is only required for registered volunteers who want to work with children. • Prospective volunteers must first register with Marie Miles, the Army Volunteer Corps Program manager, who will provide the paperwork for several local background checks conducted by military police at the Directorate of Emergency Services, Fort Meade’s Army Substance Abuse Program and Social Work Services at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. • When the local background checks are completed, paperwork is submitted for the Child and Youth National Agency Check and Inquiries fingerprinting process. • The entire process can take up to six weeks. Army Community Service pays for all fees incurred for approved background-check recipients.
  2. 2. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! Special Section By Lisa R. Rhodes Staff Writer Five years ago, Fort Meade’s Army Volunteer Corps Program had about 840 registered volunteers. Today, 2,368 registered volunteers serve at more than 120 Fort Meade agencies and organizations. “Fort Meade has one of the largest active-duty volunteer corps I’ve ever seen,” said Marie Miles, Fort Meade’s Army Volunteer Corps manager. The installation’s volunteers, who range in age from 12 to 100, donated 230,000 hours last year. Their ser- vice saved Fort Meade an estimated $5,233,000 in operating costs in 2014. Theresa Rodriguez, the Family Read- iness support assistant at the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, has been a sponsor in Fort Meade’s Army Vol- unteer Corps Program for seven years. Currently, 98 volunteers donate their time to the military unit. “Without our volunteers, we would not be able to support our Soldiers, civilians and their families to provide services that otherwise would not be offered due to lack of funds,” Rodri- guez said. “Our volunteers provide a service that is truly priceless.” The volunteer corps program is open to all active-duty service members, fam- ily members, DoD civilian employees, contractors, retirees and youths age 12 and older. There are a total of 2,368 registered volunteers on post: 885 family mem- bers, 668 service members, 452 DoD civilians and 296 private organization and community-based volunteers. The Department of the Army has mandated the Army Volunteer Corps at all Army installations worldwide to give volunteers an official way to document their service and receive credit. Volunteers are registered through the Volunteer Management Information System, which documents where volun- teers serve, their duties and the number of hours they accrue. Prospective volunteers can apply for as many positions as they like. Garrison agencies and organizations and private and community-based orga- nizations also are included in the sys- tem. Volunteers are matched according to their interests, skills and the needs of the sponsor. Volunteers are currently serving at the Civil Air Patrol, the Fort Meade Volunteers make a difference through their service Pet Care Center, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of the Chesapeake, and local hospitals and senior citizen homes, as well as Fort Meade’s Youth Sports programs, post chapels, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the Fort Meade Joint Installation Tax Center. Every sponsor organization should have a point-of-contact for its volun- teers. The point-of-contact certifies the number of hours that a volunteer works in the Volunteer Management System. Miles said the credit that volunteers receive for their service goes with them when they PCS to a new installation. Service members can receive promo- tion points for volunteer service. Miles often provides input for service member evaluations. “Volunteering is also good for family members,” she said. “It’s an opportu- nity to increase their skills and can lead to possible job opportunities.” Miles said stay-at-home mothers and people with disabilities can try vir- tual volunteering and perform duties at home. “It’s a great way to keep their skills up to speed and still be able to give back,” she said. Some volunteer positions, particu- larly those that involve working with children, require background checks. “There are opportunities for all dif- ferent kinds of skill sets,” Miles said. “It also helps people to test other career fields.” Miles said volunteers can try to sharpen their skills or learn new ones in a “safe to fail” environment. “It’s different from when you are paid to produce,” Miles said of volunteering. “You don’t have the same pressures to perform [when you volunteer].” Volunteers are invaluable to the gar- rison, Miles said. “Most of us would not be able to do our jobs to the level that we do them if it were not for our volunteers,” she said. “Many of us are dual- or triple-hatted. Volunteers do a lot of duties that we don’t have the time or resources to do the job as it should be done.” For more than five years, Fort Meade has hosted the Volunteer Awards Ban- quet in April, which is Volunteer Appre- ciation Month. The banquet recognizes the garrison’s volunteers and pays trib- ute to the people who have made signifi- cant contributions to their sponsors. This year’s banquet was held April 16 at Club Meade. The “Volunteer of the Year” awards were presented by Garrison Commander Col. Brian P. Foley and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodwell L. Forbes in the following categories: Spc. Ryan Kanatbekoff for “Active- Duty of the Year”; Virginia Brown for “Civilian of the Year”; Jasmine Johnson for “Youth of the Year”: Staff Sgt. Armando and Elizabeth Batista for “Family of the Year”: the 310th Mili- tary Intelligence Battalion for “Unit of the Year”: Enlisted Spouses’ Club for “Organization of the Year”: and Roger and Katherine Crawford for “Lifetime Volunteers of the Year.” Accepting posthumous Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for their loved ones were family members of retired Sgt. 1st Class Carlo Deporto; RC Johnson, a retired Airman who volunteered at the Argonne Hills Gos- pel Service; and Navy veteran Norman Myers. “The annual volunteer banquet gives organizations, units and individuals the opportunity to let our senior leaders know some of the phenomenal contri- butions our volunteers make to enhance the programs and services in our com- munity,” Miles said. “Nothing captures the essence or significance of recognition more suc- cinctly than saying ‘thank you.’ ” Editor’s note: For more information on volunteer opportunities, call 301-677- 5590. file photo Volunteer Willmary Anderson carefully retrieves plastic and other trash from Burba Lake during “Clean Up Fort Meade!” sponsored in May 2011 by the Enlisted Spouses’ Club. Groups of volunteers spread out across Burba Lake, Heritage Park, Potomac Place and other locations throughout the post.
  3. 3. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015 Special Section By Alan H. Feiler Staff Writer The USO. These days it’s about more than just Bob Hope’s Christmas tours, dance cards, donuts and assorted entertainers. Just check out the cozy and relaxed atmo- sphere at the USO Metro-Fort Meade Center on any typical day and you’ll see today’s United Service Organizations Inc. in action. And volunteers make that happen. “Our facility is a home away from home, a place where active-duty service members and their dependent families can come and chill out and relax and be comfortable,” said Laura Dexter-Mooty, manager of the center. “We want to embrace their lives.” The USO Metro-Fort Meade Center, which opened in a townhouse in 2007, served 38,300 service members and their families last year. The current USO center facility opened in November 2012 at 8612 6th Armored Cavalry Road. “We’ve evolved from entertainment to another entity, recognizing that our active- duty service members need all the support we can provide,” Dexter-Mooty said. Volunteer Donna L. Stephenson agreed. “The USO really does a lot nowadays,” she said. “It’s amazing how many services there are. The USO means a lot to a lot of people.” Every month, Dexter-Mooty said an aver- age 4,200 to 4,300 visitors drop by the Fort Meade USO, which is mostly staffed by the center’s approximately 140 volunteers. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the year. Volunteers are required to work four-hour shifts twice a month. At any given time, there are usually two volun- teers working at the center. “Some do that and some do more,” Dex- ter-Mooty said. “It all depends on their schedules.” Among the volunteers’responsibilities and chores are stocking shelves and refrigera- tors with snacks and beverages, light house- keeping, working on equipment, overseeing programming, and meeting and greeting visitors. “We couldn’t do what we do without our faithful volunteers,” Dexter-Mooty said. Some volunteers are retirees and military spouses or dependents of active-duty service members and retirees, while others are civil- ians with no military background or affilia- tion. They come from all over Maryland. “Everybody brings something to the table, and I can give them all a job to do,” Dexter- Mooty said with a laugh. “We have 21-year- olds who volunteer. They may not be able to do the day shift, but we have a good mix. And we have 70-year-olds. It really runs the ‘Home away from home’ Fort Meade USO relies heavily on its corps of volunteers file photos Laura Dexter-Mooty, manager of the USO Metro-Fort Meade Center located at 8612 6th Armored Cavalry Road, is served chili at a Chili Cookoff sponsored by Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. gamut.” Volunteers are required to be 18 years of age and undergo two hours of training, with an overview of the USO’s mission and the Fort Meade facility itself. Among the services offered to Fort Meade USO visitors are comfortable lounging and eating areas, free snacks and beverages, board games, computer stations, reading materials, a guitar, a counter/kitchen area, large-screen TV viewing, a family room, gaming stations, a patio with a grill and an adjacent playing field, and free Wi-Fi. All donations to the center come from individuals, companies and organizations. “This is like your living room, just config- ured a little differently,” Dexter-Mooty said. The Fort Meade USO has two full-time employees: Dexter-Mooty, who came to the center in August 2013, and program coordi- nator Shawn Sabia. Among the programs at the Fort Meade USO Center are the YUM (Your USO Meal) Lunch held the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month and sponsored by the Ernst Young business consulting firm; Supermarket Sweeps, a Maryland Food Bank-partnered giveaway happening held each month that brings in fresh produce and nonperishable items; and Bakery Bonanza, which is held every Thursday from 1-5 p.m. that brings sell-by bakery items from the local Weis Supermarket. The center also offers family nights, ladies nights, couples events, spouses breakfasts, “Couponing 101” classes and movie-viewing gatherings. In addition, the USO sponsors a monthly emergency food pantry with dona- tions from companies and groups. “We just have a lot of people who are thinking about our service members,”Dexter- Mooty said. Often during lunchtime, the USO Center gets quite crowded, particularly with students from the Defense Information School. “Our volunteers get to know the students pretty well, and even sometimes mentor them,” said Dexter-Mooty. She said volunteers are usually recruited by word-of-mouth, and they can apply in person or on the website at usometro.org. “It’s really a family of volunteers,” Dexter- Mooty said. “Our volunteers are amazing. They’re wonderful people just to have a cup of coffee with and hear their stories. And we love them.” Natalie McKiernan, a USO-Metro intern, distributes backpacks filled with school supplies to Nathan and Tuesday Arthur at the USO-Metro Fort Meade Center on Aug. 21, 2013. The organization handed out 3,000 backpacks to military children in the Baltimore-Washington area.
  4. 4. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! Special Section By Alan H. Feiler Staff Writer Among Cpl. Vicky Johnson’s favorite activities that she participates in through Bet- ter Opportunities for Single Service Members is Honor Flight, a program in which military personnel and others greet senior veterans at airports and transport them to memorials around Washington, D.C. The Fort Meade group usually meets up and surprises the veterans at Baltimore- Washington International Thurgood Mar- shall Airport. “It’s incredibly humbling because they thank us for our service. It’s amazing,” said Johnson, the Fort Meade garrison BOSS representative. “I can’t think of a better way to spend three hours on a Saturday morning. The least we can do is welcome them, espe- cially the Vietnam veterans.” BOSS is a Department of the Army pro- gram open only to single enlisted, warrant and commissioned officers in any branch of the service assigned to Fort Meade. “We are the voice of the single service members,”said Johnson, a Miami native who was raised in Atlanta and has been at Fort Meade for two years. “A lot of these [young service members] are here and they’re away from home for the first time. So we want to be their support system.” Also eligible to participate in BOSS are married service personnel who are geographi- cally separated from their spouses or family members. BOSS focuses on three areas of concentra- tion for its members: recreation and leisure, such as socialization programming; com- munity service; and quality of life. Examples of the latter are cleaning and repairing area gazebos, or beautifying an area. Community service opportunities are held every week, while recreation and leisure events are once a month. Quality-of-life efforts by BOSS, however, are conducted on an as-needed basis. In addition to Johnson, who is the sole full- time staff member of Fort Meade’s BOSS, the group is led by its executive council of active-duty service members. Currently serv- ing are: Sgt. Alex McKenzie, president; Spc. Nastassia J. Markin, vice president; Cpl. Kelly Knox, secretary; and Spc. Ian Gregg, treasurer. Johnson said between 300 and 400 people participate in BOSS activities annually at Fort Meade, and the group’s community service efforts usually attract 10 to 15 volunteers. Most BOSS events, said Johnson, attract service members between the ages of 18 and 24, although some gatherings draw people in their 40s and older. To attract volunteers and participants, BOSS sends out emails regularly to Fort Meade’s 117 tenant organizations. BOSS also posts events on its Facebook page at www. facebook.com/FtMeadeBOSS. “They’reverygivingof theirtime,”Johnson said of BOSS volunteers. “The same group of people tend to volunteer over and over. It’s a very close-knit group of people who feel pas- sionately about something. They find their niche. It all depends on your interests.” One new BOSS community service pro- gram is starting this month. Volunteers will visit and offer a “final salute” to veterans in local hospice programs. The volunteers bring blankets made for the veterans, as well as a pin and certificate. “We go in dress uniform and literally salute them,” Johnson said. “It’s very important. A lot of people in hospice don’t have family here, and the military was the only family they knew. We get a lot of people signing up for this.” The community service component of BOSS’mission is crucial to the group’s overall objective and its members’ well-being, she said. “We’ve found that people who volunteer frequently, their quality of life increases. You feel good about helping people,” Johnson said. “Getting out in the community and being with like-minded people and helping other people, it adds to your quality of life.” Markin, a member of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade who coordinates BOSS’ volunteer activities, agrees. Her favorite com- munity service activities for BOSS are social- izing with animals at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Anne Arundel County and helping out at the post Children’s Library. “People are always contacting us about volunteering if they have something coming up,”said Markin, a Vancouver, Wash., native who lives on post. “That’s usually how we find out about events and organizations.” Johnson said serving as the installation’s BOSS representative has been an incredibly rewarding experience. “This is my dream job,”said Johnson, who is single. “It’s not like going to work. I’m an Army party planner who affects change at a low level. I love it.” For more information about Fort Meade’s BOSS program, call 301-677-6868 or 301-677- 7785; visit www.ftmeademwr.com/boss.php; or email bossfortmeade@gmail.com. BOSS connects volunteers to community service Events sponsored by Better Opportunities for Single Service Members attract service members between the ages of 18 and 24, although some gatherings draw participants in their 40s and older. Community service is an area of concentration for BOSS. File Photos Better Opportunities for Single Service Members is the voice for the single Soldier, Marine, Seaman and Airman. For more information, contact the Fort Meade Garrison BOSS Representative Cpl. Vicky M. Johnson at 301-677-6868.
  5. 5. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015 Special Section He said volunteers come from a gamut of organizations and resources, such as religious congregations, public and pri- vate schools, local colleges and court- ordered programs. Clopein usually suggests that groups send no more than 20 volunteers at any given time. “We just want to keep people busy, and we want it to be meaningful,” he said. Volunteers are required to undergo a one-hour orientation given by Clopein, who presents an overview of the facility’s history and mission, while discussing the population served by the program. One emphasized facet of the program is that volunteers are urged to maintain the confidentiality of guests, since some of the younger ones might attend local schools. Also, volunteers are encouraged to keep conversations with guests to a mini- mum, unless working closely with them on particular matters vital to their per- sonal growth and development. Since it’s a 24/7 program that maintains a staff of 30, Sarah’s House depends heavily on the hard work and benevolence of volunteers, Clopein said. “There’s just no way we could fully realize our mission without the support of our community through volunteer outreach,” he said. “That partnership is very, very important. We couldn’t exist without volunteers.” A good percentage of the volunteers are repeat visitors, Clopein noted. They often come with a group for an initial encounter and get hooked on volunteer- ing at Sarah’s House. That particularly comes in handy since the program’s 40 to 50 meal dates per week are largely handled by volunteers. “I think for the volunteer, the experi- ence can be very enriching, especially for younger people,” Clopein said. “We all take our blessings for granted, so when you see people struggling, it makes you feel grateful for what you have. Outreach is a great way to count your blessings. “One man worked for a paint company and volunteered here, as part of a court- ordered program,” Clopein recalled. “He came back and got his company to donate $4,000 worth of paint. Things like that happen.” By Alan H. Feiler Staff Writer As the volunteer resource manager for Sarah’s House, Bruce K. Clopein is constantly inspired by the individuals and groups who donate their time and energy to the supportive housing program for the homeless located at Fort Meade. “The best part of my job is dealing with the best part of people,” he said. “That’s a perk of the job and makes it very rewarding.” Every year, Clopein said, more than 1,000 community members volunteer at Sarah’s House, which offers emergency and transitional housing and services to homeless families in Anne Arundel County. That translates into more than 20,000 hours of volunteerism annually, he said. On any given day, between 15 and 20 people contribute their time to Sarah’s House. Clopein’s job is to coordinate the recruitment, management and scheduling of volunteers. In addition, he helps with raising funds for Sarah’s House. Volunteer tasks range from serving meals and providing child care to tutoring youngsters and performing administra- tive tasks. Volunteers also might facilitate workshops on such subjects as parenting, finding employment or anger manage- ment, or they may provide landscaping services and answer phones. “Sometimes we try to be creative, like having kids make decorations or cook- ies at home,” said Clopein, who came to Sarah’s House in June 2000. “We want to engage people in any way possible.” Sarah’s House is a partnership of the U.S. Army at Fort Meade, Catholic Charities and the Anne Arundel County government. Fort Meade began its partnership with Anne Arundel County in 1985 to provide space, making unused World War II-era barracks available for use. The county then partnered with Catholic Charities to operate transitional housing that is now known as Sarah’s House. Spread out over eight buildings, the program serves a capacity of 125 guests, most of whom are single parents and their children. Last year, 57 percent of Sarah’s House’s guests were children, according to Clo- pein. Touching lives Sarah’s House attracts a wide array of community volunteers Clopein said Sarah’s House usually recruits volunteers through email referrals from the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center or the website VolunteerMatch. org, as well as through the website oper- ated by Catholic Charities. Around the Thanksgiving and Christ- mas seasons, volunteers and donations tend to skyrocket, while other times of the year are markedly slower. Those are times when Clopein and his staff scramble to either find alternative ways to attract volunteers or simply roll up their shirt- sleeves. “I used to have brown hair when I came here,” he said with a laugh when asked about the stress of finding volunteers dur- ing slow periods. “But we’re very blessed. Usually, that’s not really a problem.” Among the Fort Meade groups that regularly volunteer at Sarah’s House are BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Service Members), the Environmental Protection Agency and Our Lady of Peace Catholic congregation. “I like to think their experiences are rewarding ones and that’s why they come back,” Clopein said. “They want to give back and they believe in the program.” Their service does not go unappreciat- ed. Clopein alluded to a recent volunteer appreciation dinner when a former guest spoke emotionally about what volunteers did for her family. “I think it improves the life of the volunteer,” Clopein said. “It creates a more empathetic person. And they touch the lives of our guests.” Editor’s note: To volunteer for Sarah’s House, contact Bruce Clopein at 410- 519-5085 or bclopein@cc-md.org. ‘I think it improves the life of the volunteer. It creates a more empathetic person. And they touch the lives of our guests.’ Bruce K. Clopein Volunteer Resource Manager Sarah’s House file photo
  6. 6. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF! Special Section By Veronica Castro Public Affairs Office Volunteering at two local elementary schools is a win-win for both students and the service members who devote their time to helping children with their studies and in assisting with school activities. The students love having a military pres- ence at their school, and the volunteers enjoy knowing the children like having them there. “It’s really cool to see how the kids get really excited to see someone in uniform,” said Cpl. Vicky Johnson, the garrison BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Service Members) representative for Fort Meade. Both Johnson and Tech Sgt. Larisa Har- rington are the Fort Meade representatives for the Partners in Education programs at Pershing Hill Elementary School on post and the Monarch Academy Glen Burnie Public Charter School. Partners in Education is a volunteer pro- gram between schools and businesses, com- munity groups and other organizations to increase students’ academic success. The program is open to all schools including those off the installation. Eleven military units from the installation currently participate in Partners in Educa- tion. “Every school here is attached to or assigned a unit,” said Antoinette Parker, school liaison officer at Child, Youth and School Services. Harrington, the Airman and Family Readiness noncommissioned officer, is the Partners in Education volunteer coordinator for Pershing Hill. She has participated in a number of activities at the school. “As a volunteer, I’ve been a mentor, tutor, guest reader, helped with field day and vari- ous other events over the years,” Harrington said. Kimberly Terry, the principal of Pershing Hill, said that having the volunteers at her school has been beneficial to students and teachers alike. “The Partners in Education immensely benefits the Pershing Hill community,” she said. “The ability to have volunteers who are willing to step up and work with and for our students and teachers allows the staff to cre- atively plan to bring the fun back to educa- tion, while making meaningful connections for the students and the volunteers.” The program benefits parents as well, said Terry. “When we are able to call on an outside organization to come in and volunteer, we are able to free up some of our parents to enjoy the school atmosphere more,”she said. “Parents are able to participate in events like the carnival, field day and STEM family nights rather than being the actual volunteers making the events happen.” Both the teachers and BOSS service mem- bers agreed they should volunteer in uni- form. “We like to go in uniform,” Johnson said. “That is something that we discussed in the beginning, whether or not we would go in uniform or civilian clothes. The teachers requested uniforms. It’s sort of an authority figure, but also something to look up to. “I like making a positive impression on the children and having a positive way for the military to appear.” The interaction between service members and students is a key component to the program’s success. “The students absolutely love having ser- vice members in the school to read with, talk to and play with,” Terry said. “The volunteers come to the school with a genuine love of children and volunteering, and the children feel the excitement. And it is always nice to have a new face in school.” The Monarch Academy also has a mili- tary presence during the school day. Service members from BOSS volunteer in the “Odys- sey of the Mind” and “Reading Buddies” programs. “We help provide some adult supervision and some leadership,” Johnson said. “And with the Reading Buddies, it is first, third, fourth and fifth grades. We just go in for 45 minutes and read with the kids so the kids have someone to listen while they are reading out loud.” Having someone there for the students is especially helpful when they may not have someone at home to help them with their lessons. “A lot of kids in Anne Arundel County Public Schools are missing a parent at home, so it’s another adult that says, ‘Hey, I’m going to meet you at this time’ and then show up,” Partners in Education links service members with local schools Johnson said. It’s not just the younger children who benefit from Partners In Education. The military presence may inspire older students to join the military. “We had a senior come in here who was just inspired by the military, just by what he’s seen — that he himself wanted to go into the military,” Parker said. “A lot of them get mentorship out of it. They may meet the one military service mem- ber that makes a difference to them, that they show their grades to or they want to make proud or just might remind them of a parent that they may have lost, or anything. “It means a lot to them,” Parker said. Editor’s note: For more information on the Partners in Education program, call the Fort Meade School Liaison Office at 301-677-1227 or 301-677-1749. Speed meet matches volunteers to programs By Lisa R. Rhodes Staff Writer Speed dating has become so popular that Marie Miles, Fort Meade’s Army Volun- teer Corps program manager, thought she would use the concept to match prospective volunteers with community organizations. “It was awesome,”Miles said of Fort Meade’s first volunteer speed meet. “We were able to offer family members and service members opportunities that were outside of the box.” The speed meet was held in September at the Potomac Place Neighborhood Center, co-sponsored by the Howard County Volunteer Center and Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center. The goal of the speed meet was to provide participants with the chance to link with community organizations that offer evening and weekend volunteer opportunities. About 150 service members and family members participated in the four-hour event, along with about 20 teens. “We weren’t expecting as great a turnout,” Miles said. A total of 25 matches were made between prospective volunteers and community organizations. Miles said she came up with the idea for a speed meet because many service mem- bers and their dependents want to volunteer, but cannot do so during work hours. Participants visited different tables to meet with representatives from various organizations to discuss their volunteer needs and to pick up brochures and other literature. The Howard County Volunteer Center provided a catered lunch. A second volunteer speed meet is planned for October. FILE PHOTO Fort Meade service members have a long history of supporting Partners in Education activities. The program is designed to increase students’ academic success.
  7. 7. http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015 Special Section By Dijon Rolle Editor Whether they’re on the sidelines calling plays, rallying a squad of young play- ers or passing out uniforms, volunteers are a vital part of Fort Meade’s Child, Youth and School Services’ Youth Sports programs. “Our program essentially runs off of volunteers,” said Hunter Davis, direc- tor of Youth Sports and Fitness. “If we don’t have volunteer coaches, then we don’t have teams. We don’t have teams, we don’t have a league. “So the volunteer coaches are extreme- ly important. They are the lifeblood of our program.” The program generally draws 125 to 150 volunteers throughout the year, said Davis. One of those volunteers is Branden Alexander, who first began volunteering because of his son Brailan. “My son is a huge sports fan and [that] initially brought the coach out of me,” Alexander said. “It began with playing catch or going to the basketball court to shoot around. I found myself spending large amounts of time explaining the games to him. “I enjoyed watching him progress and decided to take on the challenge of using my techniques with other children his age.” Alexander has been a volunteer coach for about two years and said the rewards of serving have been numerous. “I feel the sports programs here on Fort Meade provide many benefits to the children as well as the parents [who] take part,” he said. “The volunteers ensure the programs continue and eliminate the need to remove activities from the schedules. “Volunteering also allows the commu- nity to come together to reach a common goal of teaching the children, interacting with different families, and ultimately getting the children out of the house and staying active. The best thing about serv- ing my community is being able to see how I am making a difference, as well as the fun and rewards that come with coaching.” Youth Sports offers a variety of activi- ties during the spring, fall and winter seasons including baseball, softball, foot- ball, basketball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, volleyball, track, futsal, cheerleading and wrestling. The program is still actively seek- ing volunteer coaches. To participate, volunteers are required to complete a background check and attend a coach’s certification training. They are not, however, required to have previous playing or coaching experience. “Anyone who has experience is great, but, honestly, we’re looking for someone who is enthusiastic and wants to be out there,” Davis said. “Even if this is their first time, we have coaching resources to help them become more comfortable when they get out there.” Alexander encourages community members, who may be considering lend- ing their talents and time to the Youth Sports program, to sign on. “Come out and join the family of vol- unteer coaches,” he said. “You will meet wonderful families and help to make a difference in the lives of our children. The Fort Meade sports programs are in need of volunteers to make them successful. “Being on a military installation, we know that many of our volunteers will eventually leave. [But] with your help, we can ensure our programs continue with- out any interruptions. I can guarantee the children will help to make this a fun and rewarding experience.” Editor’s note: For more information on volunteering for Youth Sports programs, call the CYSS Sports and Fitness Office at 301-677-1179 or visit www.ftmeademwr. com/cyss/cyss_sports.php. Volunteers are vital to Youth Sports’ success file photos Community members from across the installation share their time and talents with children participating in the Child, Youth and School Services Youth Sports program. Volunteer coaches are active in more than a dozen different sports throughout the year. CYSS leaders are seeking more volunteer coaches to ensure the program continues without interruption.

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