Staff Spotlight: Meg Campbell
There are people that join AmeriCorps for one year of service and then there’s our very own Meg Campbell, who signs on for a second year of service to leave an even bigger impact on the world around her. From a volunteer opportunity in a small town in South Africa to a second year of AmeriCorps service just down the road in Hyannis at our Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands offices, serving as a Community Engagement Ambassador. Enjoy!
Why did you decide to join AmeriCorps? What motivated you to sign on for another Year of Service with BBBSCCI?
When I was a junior in college my spring semester, I lived and studied Sustainable Community Engagement in a small town in South Africa. For six months, I worked in a third grade classroom with under-resourced children who lived in a farming village outside of my town. When I returned to the US to complete my bachelor’s, I made the decision that I was going to join the Peace Corps when I graduated college. Through my research of the Peace Corps I was introduced to AmeriCorps NCCC National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). My thoughts shifted towards the idea of doing service in my home country before going abroad, so I applied to be a Corps member and was accepted.
I was a Corps member with NCCC for two weeks during training and was then asked to step up and become a “Team Leader” for an NCCC Team. I became responsible for the safety and well-being of nine 18-24 year olds. My team and I worked on three different service projects throughout the year; one in Colorado, the other in Kansas City, and—lastly—Oklahoma. My job for NCCC was focused more on the logistics of the project itself, including: making work plans, delegating tasks to Corps Members, tracking finances and hours worked and being the liaison for project sponsors, Corps members and the NCCC offices.
When my year with NCCC was nearing its end, I reflected on the service that I had completed. While I was proud of what I had accomplished, I wished that I had been more focused on the service itself rather than the management, so I began looking for opportunities in the non-profit sector in my home state of Massachusetts. While I was researching, I found that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands was looking for someone to be their Community Engagement Ambassador. I applied the day I read the job description. I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with children who have been brought up in very difficult situations and I have seen the change and effect that a caring, consistent adult can have on a child. The idea of going out into the community and motivating people to become involved in something that could potentially change a child’s life was my true motivation for applying for a second year of service.
What’s one of your favorite memories as an AmeriCorps member?
My favorite memory in AmeriCorps was while I was living in Oklahoma. My team and I were assigned to a two-day project at a local animal shelter, laying down grass so the animals had somewhere to play. That same day animal control brought back an adorable, brindle puppy. I crouched down and offered my hand out for the dog to sniff and he confidently walked right past my hand and laid down on me knocking me into the dirt. He still does that to me every day I come home…I ended up adopting him, naming him Takoda, and taking him on a journey from Oklahoma to Cape Cod, where he now lives with me.
Describe your current role as a Community Engagement Ambassador. What does a typical day look like?
It feels as if a Community Engagement Ambassador rarely has a “typical day”. Throughout the past four months every week has been a little different. When I am working in the office, I spend most of my time researching possible recruitment events on Cape Cod and reaching out to those in the community who may be interested in having BBBSCCI present at their event. I also reach out to our current partners and volunteers in order to strengthen their relationships with BBBSCCI and to see if our connections could help us expand further into other networks that we have not connected with yet. When I am not in the office, I am either behind a BBBSCCI recruitment and information table in an area with a large group of people, or I am presenting our volunteer opportunities to corporate partners, inviting their employees to become Bigs with us, or at business afterhours events on Cape Cod.
What initiatives are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the planning of our Celebration of Mentoring Night alongside our Bigs Council. I am hoping to double the amount of inquiries we received last year during this event and increase the overall attendance. In addition to working on this recruitment event, I have also been reaching out to Fire Departments on the Cape in order to start a “Bigs in Red” initiative by the end of my service year. I am also working on building two other local partnerships that I believe will be able to generate excellent volunteers. Lastly, I have also had the opportunity to work directly on our “Waiting Little of the Month” campaign and I am looking forward to implementing more campaign strategies later this year!
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a Big?
If I were to give one piece of advice to an interested potential Big, my advice would be to think about your own childhood best friend and what that person meant to you while you were growing up. Now think about being that person for a child who needs a friend. A Big means being consistent, listening to them and making them feel safe, that is your role and in return you have someone looking up to you who thinks you are the coolest person in their world… it’s not a bad gig huh?
When do you feel like you are making a difference while doing your job?
I feel like I am making a difference when I am out in the community doing a recruitment event and a match comes over to the table to say hello to me and shares their personal match story. I also feel like I am making a difference when I am in the office and I see that a person I recruited out in the community is in their enrollment interview a few steps away from becoming matched!
What does it mean to work for BBBSCCI?
Working for Big Brothers Big Sisters means working towards a mission that has been successful in changing the lives of thousands of kids. It means that you are in the business of forming life-changing relationships.
How would you describe the culture at BBBSCCI?
The culture of the agency is one that is extremely friendly, helpful, honest and optimistic.
What advice would you give to someone considering joining AmeriCorps?
I would highly consider doing a year of service! If I were to give advice it would be to truly think about what you are passionate about and then apply for an AmeriCorps role that you feel would mirror these passions. As a volunteer you need to be passionate about what you are sacrificing a year for. It what makes the experience so fulfilling, so find your passion and go for it!
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
When I am not working, I enjoy walking my dog on the beach, hiking, bike riding, spending time with friends, exploring places I have never been before, and trying new foods.