Community and Recruiting at the Fairs

By: Matt Aujero, Recruitment Associate

When I took the position with Catholic Volunteer Network, I was looking forward to the solo jobs that I would be doing on the road.  Having just finished a week of volunteer fairs in Chicago, meeting and making friends with the recruiters of other programs, I find that I will be missing these people as I take on October basically on my own visiting schools in areas that other recruiters reach less frequently.

I was fascinated by what I learned about each program by getting to know the other recruiters and that made me and the work I do so much better. Catholic Volunteer Network’s presence at these volunteer fairs is a little bit different—I’m not trying to recruit anyone to a specific program or placement, instead I hand out Response Directories and help direct students based on their interests.  And because I got to meet so many organizations at the fairs, I have a better idea on how to provide guidance to prospective volunteers.
For instance, if someone is interested in public health, from the top of my head I know that Bon Secours and Redeemer Ministry Corps offer positions in health care and I direct that student to their table (to the girls in the scrubs).

If someone wants to teach, I know from the top of my head that they should check out some of the University Consortium for Catholic Education programs the masters degree programs and joke how they all sound the same: ACE, PACE, or PLACE and I even suggest meeting Zac Unfar with the Lasallian Volunteers which has a great program for teaching.

I’ve had students that want to use their Spanish skills and also want to travel.  Obviously, having just done this, I direct them towards some programs I personally know whether it’s Rostro de Cristo, CapCorps, or Good Shepherd Volunteers. I try not to be too biased, but of course I mentioned the program I did FrancisCorps.
I know if someone is passionate about homelessness, there’s a program that’s specifically for that in Chicago called the Franciscan Outreach Association.
I’ve had girls tell me they want to work with women and domestic violence.  I’ve pointed them out to Maggie’s Place, St. Joseph Worker Program or the Colorado Vincentiant Volunteers, programs I know that have placements dealing with women’s issues.  
I try to point people to the smaller programs as much as I can because I know they don’t get as much representation like the Norbertine Volunteer Community or Dominican Volunteers USA, but if someone comes to me and they’re not really sure what they want, they just want to serve, I’ll point them towards some of our bigger programs like Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps or Mercy Volunteers Corps.
All of these things I kind of just know now from the top of my head because I’ve talked to each of these programs throughout the week.  I try to send everyone love who’s at the fair, and I know they appreciate it. I appreciate them and I’m going to miss them during these next few weeks.  Here’s to Philly, when I’ll realistically see them again in November, the last circuit of volunteer fairs and our National Conference.  It’s a part of my job I love that I didn’t know I’d love.  
This is the life of a CVN recruiter.
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