Meet Montana’s ServeNext Organizer
Why did you want to become a ServeNext Organizer?
Having worked at City Year on the Voices Campaign in 2003 and then later for the National Service-Learning Partnership at AED, I understood the importance of helping others recognize the value of service. ServeNext Organizers provide on-the-ground technical support and community convening which are essential for local service communities to collaborate and educate citizens as well as elected officials about the importance of national service as a strategy to solving local challenges.
What 1-2 major things do you hope to accomplish as an Organizer?
- Strengthen the service partnerships among non-profits, foundations and state agencies.
- Provide organizations and friends of service tools and pathways to promote their impacts.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to your work as a ServeNext Organizer?
Silos and the lack of time needed for networking among various national service programs on a local level. Everyone is busy, everyone has a monumental workload. Finding time for convening and collaborating for goals outside reportable measures is a challenge. The barriers on non-profits and the perception real or not about advocacy.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the national service movement today?
Two things: the misperception that national service is somehow a partisan issue and the disconnect between reporting and promoting service impact.
Why do you think it is important not only do direct service, but also take the next step and be a voice for AmeriCorps and all national service in America?
“Everyone can be great because anyone can serve” -MLK Jr. Not everyone has to be a service member, they can be the volunteer recruited by the member or the citizen who stands up at a town hall meeting and talks about the importance of service and the impact of a corps member, encouraging others to get on board and get involved in whatever way works for them. We all contribute in different ways. The board member helps with fundraising, but can also make a few calls on behalf of a program to an elected official or to friends inviting them to sign a letter in support of service. Alumni can reach out to their service partners and ask them to speak up for service to ensure boots are filled for next year.