December 18, 2016

Hello! My name is Mayra Herrera de Olivares and I am the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at Independence National Historical Park (INDE) in Philadelphia, PA for the next six months. Some of you might know me already since I was part of the first generation CVAs completing my internship at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso TX.  I have been working alongside an amazing and supportive mentor/supervisor Jeffrey Collins, the Education Program & Volunteer Program Manager at INDE. As the NPS Centennial celebration is winding down, here at INDE we are working on continuing and providing long-term volunteer opportunities to newcomers and partner organizations. We have chosen qualified people to fill 5 Volunteer Ranger and 2 Administrative Aid positions just this past week. I am excited to be part of this park at an amazing time moving forward into the next hundred years.

My first month at INDE has been filled with enriched history of the birth of this nation. Having the opportunity to be able to explore this historical place has been an incredible experience. A highlight to the beginning of the month of December was being able to img_9480climb the bell tower on top of Independence Hall which is not accessible to visitors and in cases some staff. I participated in a professional development workshop “Quest for the Liberty Bell” alongside park volunteers and local school teachers. Through group activities we were able to learn and teach each other about how the Liberty Bell has been adopted by various movements for Abolition, Women’s Suffrage and Civil Rights. We climbed up the bell tower together, got to explore the different levels and learned more about the US Centennial Bell which still rings today. It was the first time I was able to interact with volunteers and was very impressed with their knowledge and dedication to this park. INDE has some quality Volunteer Rangers that are constantly learning be able to provide excellent programming.

I look forward to my time at INDE and my time in Philadelphia. I’m ready to learn from this place while at the same time trying to bring in new ideas and continue to connect the local community to the park through volunteerism.

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PS. I am in charge of posting pictures on INDE’s Instagram. If you want to follow my adventures make sure to follow us at: independencenps