How did you first find out about JVC?
It was while I was in college. I ran into a former JV who was doing some recruiting for JVC Midwest and it was sort of a happen stance meeting. She told me all about the program and I thought, yes, this is exactly what I’m looking for! And I applied to be a volunteer.
What did you find most challenging about being a Jesuit Volunteer?
The community aspect was really challenging. Anytime you deal with human beings,
there are unique challenges because of all the different perspectives and backgrounds, and I learned a lot about myself — the good and the bad. Learned a lot about living with other human beings in general.
“It’s definitely a point of pride that [JVC has] become the gold standard for volunteer organizations.”
Beth Pawuk (Houston 1998-99)
You’ve been with JVC for over 10 years. What’s the best thing to happen since you started?
It’s always hard to answer superlatives. I think in general, seeing the volunteers grow, change, and transform by the end of the year. Seeing volunteers at DisOrientation as compared to where they were at Orientation, and noticing how much their perspectives, their horizons have been opened, how much their hearts have been broken, how much they’ve grown, how much they love. It’s amazing. It’s really great to see that. It’s definitely a point of pride that we have become, our organization — JVC as a whole — the gold standard for volunteer organizations. My hope is that we continue to lead the way in providing good formation and food for
thought. And programming that really helps to shape future leaders.
What do you wish other people knew about the organization?
I think one of the biggest things is that this is not a year off or a gap year. I know that that term often gets thrown around. And it’s like, ‘oh well, before I
move on to the rest of my life — I’ll do this.’ But no, this year is not just a filler year. This is a year really of being on. Maybe more so than any other point in your life. Of really being aware and intentional about everything you do. And of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. That would be my biggest thing — it’s not taking time off. It’s not a year off. It’s really a year where you’re completely on.
What do you think will change about JVC or its Jesuit Volunteers over the next five years?
My hope is that there will be a lot of dialogue and discussion on how to be ethical, compassionate leaders. And how to disagree without being divisive and to be able to work through disagreements without making the person you disagree with a villain.
Hopefully, and five years is not enough — but hopefully JVC will be maybe one step, or one half of a step closer in the work for racial justice and diversity. Certainly we will not be there in five years, but hopefully there will be some things that are slowly moving us along and making us aware of our pitfalls and strengths as well.