http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
Volunteer Program........ 3 Sarah’s House........................6
USO Volunteers............. 4 Partners in Education............7
BOSS Volunteers........... 5 Youth Sports Volunteers........8
Col. Brian P. Foley
Sgt. Maj. Rodwell L. Forbes
Public Affairs Officer
Chad T. Jones
Chief, Command Information
Philip H. Jones
Editor Dijon Rolle
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
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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
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
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
Prospective volunteers also can select where they
would like to work and what duties they would like
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
Editor’s note: For more information on volunteer-
ing in the Fort Meade community, call Marie Miles
‘Hands that serve,
hearts that care’
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.
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF!
By Lisa R. Rhodes
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
“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-
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.
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
By Alan H. Feiler
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
“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
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
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
“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
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.
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
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-
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
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
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF!
By Alan H. Feiler
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-
“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
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,
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.
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
The community service component of
BOSS’mission is crucial to the group’s overall
objective and its members’ well-being, she
“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
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
“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
“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
BOSS connects volunteers to community service
ages of 18 and
in their 40s and
service is an area
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.
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
He said volunteers come from a gamut
of organizations and resources, such as
religious congregations, public and pri-
vate schools, local colleges and court-
Clopein usually suggests that groups
send no more than 20 volunteers at any
“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
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
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
By Alan H. Feiler
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
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
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
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
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
Last year, 57 percent of Sarah’s House’s
guests were children, according to Clo-
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-
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘I think it improves the life
of the volunteer. It creates
a more empathetic person.
And they touch the lives of
Bruce K. Clopein
Volunteer Resource Manager
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil June 18, 2015 SOUNDOFF!
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
“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
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-
“Every school here is attached to or
assigned a unit,” said Antoinette Parker,
school liaison officer at Child, Youth and
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
Kimberly Terry, the principal of Pershing
Hill, said that having the volunteers at her
school has been beneficial to students and
“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,
“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-
“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
“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”
“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
Having someone there for the students is
especially helpful when they may not have
someone at home to help them with their
“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
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
Speed meet matches volunteers to programs
By Lisa R. Rhodes
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
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
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
The Howard County Volunteer Center provided a catered lunch. A second
volunteer speed meet is planned for October.
Fort Meade service members have a long history of supporting Partners in Education
activities. The program is designed to increase students’ academic success.
http://www.ftmeade.army.mil SOUNDOFF! June 18, 2015
By Dijon Rolle
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
“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
The program generally draws 125 to
150 volunteers throughout the year, said
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
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
“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
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
The program is still actively seek-
ing volunteer coaches. To participate,
volunteers are required to complete a
background check and attend a coach’s
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
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.
Volunteers are vital to Youth Sports’ success
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