Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello everyone, my name is Cheryl and I am the new social media intern who’ll be captain of this blog for the upcoming months. If you've been following our Twitter and Facebook accounts you’ve probably seen some of my handy work. I look forward to continuing in the awesome steps of my predecessor Anne Marie with her Coffee and Community sessions. Also, I want to take you along with me on our journey of volunteering and social service within the Athens area community. Hopefully, you'll even join me in a couple of them! I look forward to our talks and service together.

Here’s a little background on myself and how I got into volunteering. I was born in Greensboro, Ga (yes, that Greensboro where Carrie Underwood had her wedding this past July. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail :)). I attended Georgia Southern University where I earned an undergraduate degree in Information Technology. I am currently working for the University of Georgia in their IT department. Honestly, I got started with volunteering by just doing it. One day during lunch I searched for opportunities to volunteer that sounded interesting and here I am working with HandsOn Northeast Georgia!

I was more than a little nervous, considering my social media experience was from a Facebook account that I had neglected upon graduating from college. However, the excitement of being a part of something new and so positive gave me the courage to plunge right in. Now that I am getting into, learning more and more each day, I remember why I was in love with it to begin with. It's a way of connecting and a way of expressing ourselves. What better thing to express than a love and respect of community.

I do hope that you'll follow me on this journey. Bringing comments, advice, and just plain goofiness is welcomed (even encouraged). Stay posted for my next entry and I look forward to our journey together.

"In the desert of life the wise person travels by caravan, while the fool prefers to travel alone." (taken from )

Friday, August 6, 2010

AmeriCorps VISTA!

I hope you all enjoyed hearing from Anne Marie this summer! I think she did a great job of highlighting some of our partner agencies. As she mentioned, Cheryl, our social media intern, will be trying her hand at blogging very soon.

I wanted to share a little bit with all of you before she started. I spent the majority of this week with the HandsOn Network participating in the AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor training. That's right - it's time for our AmeriCorps VISTA member, Caitlin, to start with us! She'll be here on Monday, so I'm spending the day preparing for her arrival.

While at training, I got to meet representatives from other HandsOn affiliates and partners around the country. It was excellent for networking and gaining a better understanding of how other affiliats do great work in their own communities! We even got to create a few posters. This one shows what my table thought were good qualities for a volunteer leader: a clear idea/interest/passion, ready to take "own"ership of projects (hence the key!), willing to work (with tools like hammers) alongside other volunteers, and understanding when to lead and when to step back and follow.

The best part of training was knowing that the great work Caitlin is about to embark on is starting on Monday! (The picture on the right is of all the HandsOn Network and Habitat for Humanity VISTAs for 2010-2011 being sworn in.)For those of you that don't know, Caitlin will be working in the four middle schools and two high schools in the Clarke County School District developing a structure and system for students to participate in service-learning. Service-learning has been shown to enhance engagement with and commitment to school, which we hope will contribute to greater graduation rates and the pursuit of higher education. Of course, even as amazing as we know Caitlin will be, this cannot happen without your help! So if you know of interested and motivated middle and high school students in any of the Clarke County School District middle and high schools, send them our way! And if you are one of those interested middle or high school students, then email me right away: Also, high schoolers, be on the lookout for the application for the Athens Volunteer Fair, which will be on the UGA campus in September.

As always, don't forget to keep an eye on our facebook and twitter accounts for all news HandsOn!

In service,