First Year of Governor's Commonwealth Corps

Uploaded by MassGovernor on 10.06.2009

“Commonwealth Corps is the Commonwealth's version of AmeriCrops. It's a way of creating
service opportunities for people to help out in all kinds of settings and they're people
who are young, middle-aged, mid-career, seniors who have volunteered from every part of the
Commonwealth to help out in senior centers and schools and in all kinds of not for profit
settings. And it's really about lifting up this idea that in a community all of us have
a stake, not just in our own dreams and in our own struggles but in our neighbors' as
well." “The thing that keeps me up at night is
feeling like people don’t care about other people. “
“And she was all alone; she didn’t know that these services were available and it
would have been a gift because it was extremely hard but she now knows that all she has to
do is pick up the phone.” “Really fun loving, very outgoing and then
when it’s time for her to do her homework, it would totally collapse.”
“An incredible story just the other day about a veteran who was living on the streets
on and off for 10 years and as part of the experience of being in street life, he ended
up with a lengthy criminal record and was in jail for 16 years. As a result of that
criminal background, this man was unable to secure housing. And this is one of the problems
that happen with the chronically homeless population.”
“I myself didn’t really grasp the fact that so many agencies needed volunteers. I
always saw billboards for volunteers and figured somebody else got that.”
“I think after spending some time working overseas I think I sort of forget that there
are a lot of problems rights here on our own communities that you sometimes don’t see.
So it reminded me that there’s a lot of work to be done here in the United States.”
“I worked several holidays, Christmases and Thanksgivings, and it’s sad when someone
tells you that will you stay on the phone with me for five or ten minutes, I’m not
going to talk to anybody else during the course of the day, I’m not going to have the traditional
Thanksgiving dinner, I’m going to have bread and peanut butter and a cup of coffee.”
“I don’t believe our generation, my generation, is doing what we should or doing what we can
to help out the kids in our community. So I felt that I needed to step up and volunteer
my time and give that to the kids. Talk to the young ladies and young men to make sure
they grow up to be the best that they can be.”
“So we offer hope to people who need hope the most; those people who are suffering in
our communities, especially during these difficult times.”
“My assignment with Commonwealth Corps is with the volunteer services and the first
thing we worked on was the holiday gift project. And when I learned that some people in our
16-town area are really down and out when this was only the Christmas gift they received.
Made you feel really warm that you were doing the right thing.”
“When I went to the Commonwealth Corps, that training where we were all there together
I realized that everyone in that room is doing what they’re best at. I don’t have to
solve global warming but I can talk to people who are in desperate circumstances. This is
so much bigger and it’s actually possible that change is actually possible, I’m alive,
and I’m here and I’m going to do the little bit that I’m good at. And that’s enough.”
“I think for me, it’s just seeing the variety of needs that are out there. And for
me it was an eye-opening experience to really realize that you need a lot of people really
to help.” “His name is Kevin and he’s actually just
like my little brother you know? They dress the same, we always goof around here and there,
so when he told me, well, I want to be just like you I was like well I’m not nobody,
I’m not a celebrity he said it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to be a celebrity
so it felt great. It made me feel real great, you know, hearing that from Kevin and hopefully
I can hear that from my daughter.” “Basically I was kind of at the end of my
rope in terms of I couldn’t understand why I was having problems with jobs and interpersonal
relationships and things like that. Sort of ensconced myself into my room and not be as
connected to other people as I should be. Liz, who is with Commonwealth Corps, I noticed
over the past few months that there’s really been an effort to draw people together more
in a sense of community. For example they have a social hours and social nights, bingo
nights, movie nights. The fact that they do have this kind of program in place, it just
makes a big difference.” “I decided to volunteer with the New Bedford
Youth Corps, which is an alternative to the traditional juvenile corps, digging deep into
the roots of problems that we have in New Bedford. Sort of kids a second chance to restart
their lives, talk about substance abuse, how to maintain positive relationships, everything,
just to make them step outside the box a little bit.”
“And that extra supportive adult that sometimes these kids just don’t have many supportive
people. I had one kid the other day tell me that he didn’t feel like any of his teachers
liked him, didn’t feel like any of the kids in school like him, so even just meeting with
for that brief period every week, that extra encouragement and that extra push makes a
big difference. “ “When my parents were aging I didn’t really
spend much time with them, working and taking care of them, so I felt that I needed to make
up for that so when I saw an advertisement in the paper for the Commonwealth Corps, with
Governor Deval Patrick, that’s when I put in my application.”
“They’re part of a bigger plan and I think that it’s helpful for the long run as well
because when we recruit for next year, we have positive members that have a positive
experience. Not everything is great, but by the same token, the good outweighs the bad.”
"I think at a time like this, at any time really, but particularly at time where we
are, all of us, under so much stress and strain because of the down-turn in the economy and
general anxiety in our society, nothing helps more, and nothing means more, than a willingness
to serve, and so I call on all my fellow citizens and fellow residents here in the Commonwealth
to show what it means to be a member of a strong community and go out and help somebody
in the ways that you can." “We said this is our community. There’s
a need, send us. Send us. It says it all.”