Not quite ready for retirement, I was a seasoned, experienced professional who was laid off from an extremely stressful, abusive, and unscrupulous company. I was shell-shocked. Even after some time off, I couldn't imagine going back to work. But, I needed to keep my skills up; I needed healing; I needed to make a difference. IVC provides or inspires community, support, spirituality, humility, purpose, passion, reflection, transformation, and healing. I am so grateful to IVC and hope that what I have given has made a difference.
IF you're looking to make a a meaningful contribution, widen your spiritual formation or just be part of the solution, IVC offers all three. I joined IVC while looking for something to make my retirement years part of a new beginning and keep me involved as well as bringing a new meaning to this time of life. A historian by trade, I used my research skills to review all prospects out there and for me, IVC offers the thoroughness, structure, and opportunities that make giving my time worthwhile. They do a good job of getting to know you and matching your experience and skills with the position. The religious aspect was fine with me though everyone should feel welcome. I've found the Jesuits to be inclusive as well as scholarly in pursuit of their mission. They model how to put faith into action.
The Ignation Volunteer Corps was an ideal answer for me in retirement, as it already is for many others, and can be for untold numbers of active retired persons.
When my husband died after many months of illness, I emerged from the immediate grief of his death yearning for a meaningful activity. At my daughter's recommendation, I investigated the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and I liked what I heard. IVC would give me the opportunities both to work with persons in need and to enjoy regular company with other volunteers to pursue a heightened spiritual dimension to my life.
After ten years in the Corps, I am still excited about going to school two days a week to tutor grade-school children. What they give back to me is far more valuable in my mind than the modest assistance I offer them. Service in IVC has been a godsend for me.
After working in the Probation field for almost thirty years I retired. Almost immediately, I realized that I had too much time on my hands and began looking for an opportunity to enrich my life and the lives of others.
In our church bulletin I found a small notice regarding the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, (IVC). IVC is targeted toward retirees over the age of fifty, who are strongly committed to the betterment of themselves and the community.
IVC is a nation-wide organization with over five hundred volunteers serving people dealing with homelessness, disabilities, the imprisoned, refugee/migrant families, as well as children experiencing education disadvantages. There are numerous other volunteer opportunities fulfilling the needs of our community as well as providing countless ways for the volunteers to be of service in fields that suit their personal desires and talents.
However, that is just part of what IVC offers. We have monthly meetings in which we share our experiences at our volunteer sites. Each year the national organization selects a book emphasizing the spiritual aspect and/or nature of our commitment. We discuss these books during our meetings. There is also an annual three day retreat which allows us to refocus our desire to serve others and to build comradery and faith within the group.
Finally, one of the best features of the IVC community is the opportunity to have one-on-one time with a spiritual reflector each month. This gives each volunteer a chance to reflect on their service site and ways to enhance their own lives as well as the lives of the people they serve.
While the Ignatian Volunteer Corps focuses on the Jesuit belief that service is a form of prayer, it is open to all who believe that, by serving others, we also serve God.
IVC is an opportunity for those with life skills and experiences to serve the Church and immerse themselves in the style and spirituality of St. Ignatius.
IVC offers direct relational and meaningful volunteer experiences, through which we aspire to open your heart.
Make a difference for a small organization that can really use your gifts and talents.
Come, get in touch with the reality of our communities for people in need. Getting in touch with this reality, gets us in touch with God. You’ll be challenged, changed, and consoled.
Wisdom, experience and humility. What a joy it is to work side by side with others who've felt called to action and know that "showing up" to serve has value beyond measure. The people I have met through IVC are those who see need around them and have responded to the call. Many come with years of experience in particular professions and all of them are willing to apply those skills in ways many agencies need. IVC members are also willing to stretch and try on new roles and take on new tasks. Because we are located in many cities throughout the United States it is inspiring to know we work in solidarity on issues that exist across the nation. Our monthly meetings are rich and enjoyable as we share our impressions, joys and concerns regarding our work. It's a learning experience and broadens our perspectives-since we can't all work everywhere, we get to hear about different organizations and schools that serve the poor in our midst. It is so rewarding on so many levels.
The combination of a spiritual dimension with non-profit service brought me to IVC. I have not been disappointed. The monthly Mass, book discussion and sharing of experiences and challenges at our very different assignments offers a growth opportunity to all present. We leave refreshed spiritually knowing that God is present in all things.
Like many whose careers provided satisfying and busy lives, retirement provided a chance for me to design my own time commitments for the first time in many years. Time to schedule what to do every day prompted introspection about what I like to do and what I want to do. The answers came easily. I wanted to “pay back”, “pay forward”, to have more time for spiritual reflection AND to show active gratitude for the opportunities, scholarships, and gifts of time and talent that others had granted me. Of course, I would have more time for family, friends and leisure pursuits, but I was looking also for something more.
Very luckily, my husband felt the same way. We end each prayer together with “ God let me know how to serve you better”. We both remembered students who, after college, had joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and we lamented that there was not something for adults at another crossroad. And we searched and found that there was!
The Ignation Volunteer Corps provides so much more than service opportunities. The gathering together of people who are on a similar journey is a monthly treat. Our animator puts much effort into monthly programs that are thought-provoking and stimulating , spiritually awakening and fun. Our regional director understands her role in guiding us to serve the less fortunate, and she offers strong support in our finding a program that matches our abilities. We have found that there are many venues to help those in great need. Our animator and our director also balance our service commitments with an understanding of the joy that is the IVC sense of community. I feel humbled by the respect that I feel for the other volunteers. We read and discuss together. We retreat together. We cry and we laugh together.
The Ignation Volunteer Corps is a gift to me.
Call it Grace or Serendipity; I discovered IVC in San Diego quite by “accident” 3 years ago, while simultaneously experiencing an awakening to a new way of living my Catholic faith.
IVC provides me with the opportunity to serve many in our society who are much less fortunate than me, which in and of itself is a great blessing. And… there is much more to membership involvement with IVC!
As a community of volunteers, we grow together as a family of kindred spirits. We meet monthly in fellowship, reflecting on our individual works and in giving thanks to God for those we serve as well as for our ability to be of service to them. Our members bring hope to vast number of persons who exist only at the margins of our society. Multiple and varied types of service opportunities are available to us.
We IVC volunteers are also nourished by discussions about selected book readings and a focus on the principles of Ignatian Spirituality. Brief annual retreats, and the ability to meet monthly with select spiritual reflectors with whom we can discuss our personal growth in relation to those we serve are additional rewards of membership.
After retiring from a law career, I discovered IVC & was placed in Cathedral High School's drama department. What a joy to work with lively, talented & wonderful young women. Among recent performances was A Charlie Brown's Christmas (photo). I hope to continue this work for many years & am so thankful for IVC.
An EXCELLENT nonprofit organization based on the strong principals of JESUS CHRIST to serve the most socially vulnerable population of our society modeled by the Jesuit Orders/Pope Francis. I served the IVC by working at St. John's Church soup kitchen/food pantry located in Worcester, Mass. .*
A couple of years after I retired as a mental health counselor, I was being "tugged" to find a way to do something meaningful, some kind of volunteer work. My husband and I attended a Lenten retreat given by a favorite Jesuit Priest. The event was sponsored by IVC and we shared a table with the couple who brought IVC to Omaha. What I heard felt so "right" to me, we met with the local IVC Director to learn more.
She suggested I visit the Children and Family Center of Nebraska Children's Home Society in Omaha's inner city. I met an older African American woman who asked if I might be interested in working with her to develop a programs for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. I sure was interested! We put our heads together and things just "clicked" - we got along great, and seemed to energize each other. We designed a six-week support & educational group. That was almost four years ago and we just completed the 13th group. The grandparents let us know that they needed support beyond the six weeks, so we developed an ongoing support group that meets twice monthly.
I have felt all along that this was right where I was supposed to bed; that God had led me there, and I continue to feel incredibly blessed by the grandparents I meet and the unbelievable stories they share about their family situations. The desperately need support.
God continues to bless this awesome work. The program has won recognition from a local foundation as "the most innovative new program" and has received funding from United Way and other local funding sources. That success is calling attention to the plight of these grandparents who have taken on the incredible challenge of once again raising children and who are usually living in poverty. Personally, I have been blessed to become familiar with a world that my white, middle class life experience had never shown me. It has made me so much more sensitive and understanding; they continue to teach me so much!
Four years ago, I retired as from my position in development at a local high school where I had served for 26 years. I was seeking ways to enhance my spiritual life in retirement and attended a Day of Reflection sponsored by our local Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC). The retreat reminded me of how much and why I value my Jesuit education and I contacted the director and asked how I might get involved. She invited me to join IVC where I have now been a member for nearly three years. It is an experience I would not trade for anything. My first volunteer assignment entailed assisting the administrator of several of our Catholic schools with development. It was a challenging and rewarding task as we realized the fruits of our efforts. Currently I volunteer at a private elementary school which serves a predominantly minority population. I assist with office and administrative duties as well as lunch preparation and serving. The latter is a particular favorite because of the opportunity to interact with the students and, if I'm lucky, garner a hug or two. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the closeness of our IVC community. I look forward to our monthly meetings, discussing the readings and reflections, and sharing our spirituality with one another. I have developed a deeper understanding of Ignatian spirituality through these interactions as well as a renewed appreciation for my faith.
After 22 years in the USAF and 22 years in industry, I retired with a MSEE with minor in math. After a couple retired years, I was looking for things to keep my mind active as I was keeping my body active by bike riding long distances. I went to a retreat sponsored by my local parish where I learned about IVC. My wife and I decided to join to share our skills and help nonprofits. I was matched to a catholic highschool where I tutored students struggling with math. After a couple of years, I was asked to help teach an AP Calculus BC dual credit course. I help the teacher by looking through the days assignment making sure I understood all the math and homework problems. I assist the teacher during the class with the lesson, check the homework and answer questions. This frees the teacher to spend more time on other classes he is teaching.
I have really enjoyed sharing my skills and especially enjoy working with students. This has really helped me keep my mind sharp as a math students at this level knows when you don't know the subject. The best part of being a volunteer with IVC is they are just as interested in your satisfaction with your placement as they are with satisfying the nonprofit's needs.
My wife and I always really appreciated the Jesuit Priest who occasionally said Mass at our church. So, we decided to go to a retreat where he was featured along with another Jesuit Priest. At this retreat we met other IVC Volunteers who talked about the Ignation Way which sounded exactly like what we were looking for; a very compassionate, loving, and caring volunteer group so we joined IVC. IVC has greatly enriched our lives and our marriage. I have become passionate about my volunteer job tutoring high school students in math. And, as a bonus, the school has asked me to lead their teams competing in STEM projects sponsored by Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Student Mentoring Program (SMP) under the auspice of the Peter Kiewit Institute. IVC has greatly enriched my life by learning about the Ignation way and providing excellent volunteer opportunities. Richard Stibor
Having just returned from the retreat that opens the volunteer year for IVC members from the Baltimore, D.C., and northern Virginia regions and with the first weeks of the second year at the Asylee Women Enterprises (AWE) coming to a close, I’m again overwhelmed in gratitude at my good fortune to have found the IVC and then to have come under the care of a director who so perfectly linked me up with this non-profit that provides housing, acculturation experiences, and compassionate companionship to women (and a couple of men recently) who are seeking asylum in the U.S. Having organized, implemented and taught in a three-level ESL program, I am now returning to oversee the program and again teach. However, these activities are but the tip of the iceberg, for with each visit to AWE, I’m shocked into awareness of the human capacity to endure unimaginable violence and trauma, to confront and joust with their repercussions, and to rise up to reconstruct lives that are fueled by joyful hope and love, love above all.
As much as the women’s incredible resilience sustains us as we offer them our presence and love, so are we sustained in our service by the outreach the IVC extends to us. The monthly meetings, the yearly text we discuss among other things at these meetings, and the two always incredible retreats combine to transform our lives in ways that allow us to pass transformative assistance to those we serve.
IVC changed my life in so many ways. After retiring from a long and satisfying career in nursing, I was craving work in a helping capacity. The IVC affords me the opportunity to work with those in need as a teacher, a new professional role for me! I volunteer at a school for adult education for immigrants and low income populations. This wonderful agency, Genesis Center teaches ESOL, workforce training, citizenship preparation, high school equivalency, and financial literacy. Combined with the introduction of Ignation Spirituality to my life, IVC has been a major force in my life I am currently making the Spiritual Exercises in everyday life and truly find God in all things.
The IVC supplies many agencies with highly professional, caring individuals with volunteers ton aid them in their quest to assist those of us who are in need I cannot say enough about the good work IVC provides both to the world at large and to the individual volunteer.
I joined IVC ten years ago after retirement. My last job was very fast paced and I did a lot of traveling. I knew that helping with my grandchildren was not going to be enough for me. I came across information about IVC, after a year of discernment I joined. My live have not been the same since that day. I have grown in faith and awareness of the beauty of creation. I volunteer in the public hospital in Chicago as a Chaplain Assistant. Yes, I see suffering, but I also partake in the beauty of those who know how to be grateful. This work has transformed me.
The unique combination of volunteer service opportunities and a spiritual community based on Ignatian spiritual is what drew me to the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. After one year of volunteering at Migration and Refugee Services of Cleveland Catholic Charities, I have gained much both intellectually and spiritually serving a misunderstood and underserved community. During our monthly IVC meetings, I have had an opportunity to grow spiritually and to give and receive support from other volunteers. I recommend IVC without reservation to any retiree searching for a meaningful and rewarding volunteer experience.
OK, full disclosure: I'm a donor, a volunteer and an employee of IVC, so I'm not completely objective. Having said that, I've worked in a Fortune 500 company, a large international nonprofit, and have been on the boards of a couple of other nonprofits. So I have a pretty good sense for what makes a nonprofit effective and worthy of support.
And I can say without hesitation that IVC is worthy of support. It's got an interesting combination of national presence (in 17 or so major metro areas), and lean, but effective administrative structure. IVC does a great job of matching volunteers with existing social service agencies in the cities where they serve. So they're not re-creating the wheel by starting an additional agency to serve people in need. Rather, they help bring needed skills and talent to existing nonprofits by matching the skills and experience of volunteers with the missions that they are interested in working in.
It's a win/win/win: talented volunteers get placed in service doing something they are passionate about, local nonprofits get access to high-caliber volunteer talent that they would normally have to pay for, and people in need get the help they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
Finally, the spiritual and community support part of the IVC model helps volunteers to nurture their faith by matching them with a spiritual reflector (trained in Igatian Spirituality) and bringing volunteers together once a month to meet as a volunteer community. This support in turn strengthens the resilience of volunteers, helping them to keep coming back, year after year, despite the challenging work that they do.
That's why I continue to donate to IVC - I'd like to see it expand to more metro areas in the US.
THe IVC offers retired persons in my parish, St. Michael's in Buffalo, the opportunity both to use their expertise to help local agencies and institutions and at the same time engage in spiritual reflection on what they are doing. They grow spiritually as they help other materially. Win/win!