My journey with Jersey Cares began in September 2010 as an intern. When I first came in the office, I was inspired by the work that was being done, but also a little out of my element. Every day was new challenge and experience; a new part of New Jersey to discover, a new agency to meet, a new volunteer group to inspire.
While I was enjoying being an intern, an AmeriCorps position came up with Jersey Cares, and I jumped at the offer. Starting in November 2010, I was a part of five person Jersey Cares AmeriCorps cohort whose achievements included collecting 35,000 coats in 2010, contributed over 8,700 hours of service through our Monthly Volunteer Programs, doubling the size of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in 2011, and engaging 2,500 volunteers for Jersey Cares Day 2011.
My term of service with Jersey Cares was nearing the end, and the idea of leaving Jersey Cares was a thought that did not sit well with me. I felt that there was so much room for professional growth and knowledge; I knew it was not my time to leave. Around the same time, an opportunity to become a fulltime staff member presented itself and in October 2011, I became the Corporate Service Manager. My role transitioned from planning Annual Events to managing Corporate Service events, and I welcomed the change.
The Corporate Service team at Jersey Cares is goal oriented and produces tremendous results. In 2011, we created 135 unique volunteer projects for over 3,000 corporate volunteers that resulted in nearly 13,000 hours of service. At present, the entire Corporate Service team at Jersey Cares are AmeriCorps alumni.
In September 2011, Maggie Bernhard joined the Jersey Cares team as the AmeriCorps serving as our Corporate Service Coordinator. Although was new to our team, she was no stranger to the AmeriCorps program. While Maggie was an undergrad, she served as an AmeriCorps with Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania in August 2009 to August 2010. Maggie has brought her strengths and talents to Jersey Cares, and is an asset to our team.
In January 2012, Heather O’Loughlin returned to Jersey Cares as the Director of Corporate Service after a hiatus. Heather’s career at Jersey Cares started much like mine. Heather was the first AmeriCorps member to serve at Jersey Cares in October 2007. As a direct result of her commitment to our organization’s mission and service, she was hired at the Corporate Service Manager in August 2008 and continued to increase the capacity of our organization through May 2009.
Heather, Maggie, and I are a great team, but we are also kindred spirits because of our service in AmeriCorps. Through our tenure as AmeriCorps members, we learned invaluable skills and will be able to draw upon experiences learned.
Corporate Service Manager