• “We don’t just train volunteers. We train leaders.”

    This past Saturday, hundreds of volunteers gathered for Michigan’s Neighborhood Team Convention in the Detroit suburb of Warren. Team Lansing made the hour-and-a-half drive to meet with teams just like theirs, learn new skills, and plan for the next five months.

    James Marshall and fellow neighborhood team leaders got together for a special networking breakfast to share best practices.

    “From the very beginning, we were empowered to form neighborhood teams because this movement is not one-size-fits-all. People are more likely to take action when a friend or neighbor shows them how or why they should. In Lansing, we don’t just train volunteers. We train leaders.”

    Co-team leader Edwina Marshall and Phone Bank Captain Juana Gonzales were fired up just being in the main conference room with hundreds of other volunteers, as they listened to Michigan Field Director Erin McCann talk about what’s at stake.

    “You take a look around, and you say to yourself, ‘Wow!’ It’s so easy to get trapped in the bubble of your own community that you forget how many other people are a part of this thing. We all want President Obama to get the chance to finish what he’s started.”

    At the end of the day, Team Lansing regrouped with other teams from their region to talk about their goals and what they had learned. Julie, a new team member, discovered the value of house parties:

    “They are a great entry point for potential volunteers who feel they might not be ready to take action. You get to meet with other supporters in the comfort of someone’s home and talk about the President’s accomplishments. There’s a crucial personal connection that can be the deciding factor in taking the next step.”

    So what’s next for the team?

    “We’re going to go right back into what we were doing before—building a team that will turn out voters on Election Day,” James said. “But this time around, we’ll remember we’re part of something that’s bigger than all of us—and stay connected with other teams.”

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