Since my year as a Jesuit Volunteer, I have spent my career working toward the goal of making a year of service a common expectation and experience of every young person. From helping to develop a national service policy for the country to protecting the federal investment in national service, to developing national service programs in two other countries, I have had the opportunity to work on an idea that is so important to me–the idea that a year of service can be a transformational experience for those who serve and those who are served.
My JV experience is the foundation for all of my work. It helped me understand that proximity is critical if you want to work for justice. Service is not a one-way proposition. Seeking understanding is critical to making change. Challenging yourself to be open to different ways of thinking and different perspectives is essential to advancing your work and to developing as a leader.
The opportunity to connect with the people I served as a JV helped me understand suffering and grief in a totally different way. It also helped me understand how resilient people are–and how joy can be found even amidst great pain. Since JVC I have learned that open-mindedness and a willingness to listen are critical to our ability to succeed in the quest for justice.
JVC has a rich history of the power of service to heal people and communities. Our country and the world need a lot of healing. I believe JVC will continue to be beacon of light because we offer passionate young people the opportunity to be of vital service, to develop their faith and to create a more just and hopeful world.