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Tim Kaine, Democratic VP Candidate, served as Volunteer with Jesuits in Honduras

Adapted from the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s post about Senator Kaine on July 22.

On July 22, Hilary Clinton selected Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate for the Democratic ticket. Kaine is Catholic and spent a year volunteering with a Jesuit missionary from 1980 to 1981.

Kaine’s experience volunteering at a Jesuit-run vocational school in the early 1980’s has influenced his continue work in Congress. Kaine continues to be fluent in Spanish and has focused efforts of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which he serves, on the U.S. role in the violence-plagued Central American country.

Kaine has described his time in Honduras as the most important year of his life. “I think of El Progreso everyday,” Kaine said. “The people, aside from my family, are the most important in shaping who I am today.” Kaine taught carpentry and welding at the Instituto Tecnico Loyola.During a 2014 trip  to Honduras, Kaine said, “El Progreso is extremely special to me. My experience working at Loyola taught me the importance of access to skills-based training – both in Honduras and the U.S. – and inspired me to pursue the issue of expanding career and technical education in the U.S. Senate.”

In his speech accepting the vice presidential nomination, Kaine said, “I went to a Jesuit boys school – Rockhurst High School. The motto of our school was “men for others.” That’s where my faith became vital, a North Star for orienting my life. And I knew that I wanted to fight for social justice. That’s why I took a year off law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras… [The experience] convinced me that we’ve got to advance opportunity for everyone. No matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like, how they worship, or who they love.”

Although Kaine was not a Jesuit Volunteer – he served just a few years before the official founding of JVC International – he draws attention to the transformative work that our JVs and FJVs do every day following in that same tradition.