Friday, October 23, 2009

My First Day of Service: Daniel L.

My first full day of physical service with the Civic Engagement team was spent at the Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Southwest Washington, D.C. Our team had the unique opportunity to spend our first project of the year working alongside Care Force, a special division of City Year which has the amazing job of executing physically transformative projects across the nation.

Led by Ted Marquis, the Care Force team taught my group and I valuable lessons that will come in handy throughout the year. The project involved leading CEOs from various Fortune 500 companies in a day of painting walls and murals, designing and refurnishing a study room, and transforming a trophy room to display the pride of the center and surrounding community. This was our first chance to see how a project can be successfully completed. We were shown how to prep interior spaces for painting while making sure we had the right tools for the job ahead of time. We were also taught how to communicate better with groups of volunteers, and how to ensure that they do the most efficient work possible while still having an enjoyable experience.

One of the most important lessons our team picked up is how to operate in a challenging situation. Due to factors outside of our control, the project had been allotted a shorter time for preparation and planning than usual. The Care Force team had barely two weeks to plan out which projects would be priorities and which would be backups. In two weeks they decided how many volunteers they would ideally need and how much materials would accommodate them. They showed us how to buckle down in moments of pressure and simply find out what needs to get done, how to achieve this, and then follow through. It was a great way to set the tone of our powerful year of physical service.

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