By Jamie Coley
Dear Parent of an Incoming JV,
One thing not to fear as a parent:
The time your son/daughter will be away from you. They’ll experience community in the city they’re assigned, but also experience living in community with their fellow JVs. Their experience will be an amazing, though imperfect time.
A time for your son/daughter to grow in ways he or she never thought themselves capable of. JVC is an opening of the heart. This time is an opportunity for your child to truly be (in mind, body and spirit) in their volunteer community. This may mean they will need to be present to their volunteer community without the distraction of life at home.
During other times, the connection to family and home can be a valuable contribution, that allows them to stay grounded in their experience. Please remember to not be afraid of their travels and adventures. For these moments will take them beyond the boundaries of their JV assignment. Or as John O’Donohue said, “When you travel , a new silence goes with you, and if you listen you will hear what your heart would love to say”
Most of all–don’t be afraid of their discomfort. Afterall, finding yourself and the direction you’d like to go is not a straight path. In reality, it is a journey that isn’t meant to be comfortable. There will be days when you feel the pain and angst they experience. Their emotions from the unique and difficult situations they will encounter may even worry you. But by your next correspondence, you will likely be relieved to know that they discerned a pathway to a resolution to a situation that was once difficult. They can, and will overcome these difficulties. And you will witness a transformation in them.
One thing to be proud of as a parent:
Your JV’s desire and courage to choose this path. To perhaps find the extraordinariness in the ordinary. To be proud of the willingness to say no to many things in order to say yes to this calling. Even more so, take pride in their desire of the heart to answer the calling. As this incredible journey unfolds for your JV, they will likely experience a paradigm shift in their priorities, their view of this world and their place in it.
One thing to hope for as a parent:
While I watched Hannah grow up, I hoped that she and her peers and their commitment to a higher standard of social justice would become our reality. I hope for Hannah, that saying yes to this calling is something she will never look back on and wish she had made a different choice. My hope for all JV’s is that they won’t be dismissed because they’ve answered a much needed call to service. My hopes are that volunteers continue to focus on finding what is the right thing to do with their lives. I am so hopeful as I continue to watch volunteers like Hannah build community. May we all join in their efforts to create a more just and caring world.
Jamie graduated from the University of Dayton with a BFA where she met her husband,Curtis, of 27 years. They married in the UD chapel and renewed their vows there just last year. She is the proud mother of three daughters, Hannah, Emma and Grace. Jamie has taught art education for 33 years, 25+ in Chicago Il, and now at Saint Joseph Parish School in Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
She is a co chair with Walsh Jesuit HS Boys Hope Girls Hope in Cleveland where she leads the adult Labre progra. Her involvement at Peter Maurin Center in Akron includes providing meals and shelter for our friends on the streets. Additionally, she sits on the steering committee with the Ignatian Family Teach in for Justice in DC. Jamie is looking forward to returning this year working with some amazing student speakers from Jesuit High schools and universities from around the world! Currently, she is continuing her education at UD hoping to one day be certified in campus ministry/social justice.
She enjoy long walks, reading,painting, kayaking and am looking forward to the next retreat at Jesuit Retreat House located in Parma.