This post was originally posted on my grad school blog, but I wanted to feature it here on Mother’s Day as a shout out to my mom, Melinda Bloom.
When I started this class on Leadership I used my own mom as an example of a leader. My mom is a generous person, particularly with her time. She gets to know her neighbors and is always ready with advice, something to loan, or to offer a favor. When we were growing up my mom would recruit my sister and me to shovel the elderly neighbor’s driveway. As the snow began to melt we would go around to the storm drains and clear the snow so that puddles wouldn’t back up and create unsafe roadways. As a stay at home mom, or a domestic goddess as she would put it, my mom volunteered at our schools and at programs that we were involved in.
In addition to giving her own time, my mom is a “network weaver”. She knows someone for every need. At the Ronald McDonald House where she now volunteers, she is always recruiting uncles, ex-step-uncles, my dad, friends, and anyone else she can think of to meet the needs of the house. When her brother came to visit from Washington State, she asked him to meet her at the Ronald McDonald House and when he arrived he got “Tom Sawyered” into fixing the sink! My mom is an essential piece in a healthy vital community. There are some arguments that tie the growth of nonprofits and professional volunteer managers to the decline of people like my mom and the communities they represent. There are movements within the formal volunteer sector to do what is called “neighboring” where nonprofits and community organizers actually try to introduce neighbors, assess the assets that exist within a neighborhood, and connect people and resources so that neighbors can work together to address their own problems and fill the gaps.
Thanks Mom, for showing me how to be a great neighbor and volunteer leader!