I never thought I'd feel like an expert on MercyWorks, but recruiting at a post-service fair proved me wrong. After discussing the particulars of my year of service to more than several of the 150 City Year members at Malcolm X College yesterday, I feel like a MercyWorks spokesperson.
City Year is a year of service much like MercyWorks, except there are tons of volunteers all over the country and they find their own housing in the cities they are serving. They usually end up being placed in schools as mentors and tutors and after their year they might either want to pursue another volunteer year, attend grad school, or go into full time employment. Hence the post-service fair.
Since all of the City Year members know what a year of service is, I didn't have to do a lot of explaining. I mostly got to talk about what makes MercyWorks different from other volunteer programs--namely, that all 14 MercyWorkers work for the same agency for the year and they have the option of signing on for full-time employment once their year is complete. Many volunteer programs place you in outside agencies (schools, hospitals, shelters, nonprofits) and function only as the home base for volunteers.
The City Year members also had a lot of questions about what we actually do. After describing Mercy Home to them (or to anyone), it can still be confusing as to what our job descriptions actually are. My answer to the "So what do you do?" question is usually "I'm still figuring that out." All job titles within Mercy Home tend to be flexible and inclusive, so "Youth Care Worker" encompasses a multitude of responsibilities. I summed it up by saying I provide basic structure (dinner, homework, chores, gym) for the youth as well as act as an advocate for their personal, educational, and social needs (along with giving some concrete examples).
The funny part was, when they asked how long I'd been at Mercy Home and I said two months, they seemed surprised. I was surprised too, at all the random information I knew about Mercy Home and how normal it felt to talk about it.