Most people will agree that service is a good thing. It raises up the community, helps eradicate injustices, and brings healing to those experiencing pain or loss. Service is often seen as a sacrifice ones makes to help others, but many people are surprised to learn about that service also has a deep and lasting impact on volunteers themselves. Catholic Volunteer Network programs offer a unique experience of being immersed in service, while living in community with other volunteers, and gaining personal and professional development skills. Take a look at the benefits that CVN programs offer to their volunteers:
GAIN PROFESSIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE – With placements in a wide range of disciplines, volunteers gain plenty of new skills and contacts that can be integral to their next steps, whether it’s employment, ongoing education, or further ministry. Additionally, volunteers expand their professional networks during this year of service. Many find mentors and other valuable contacts who help guide their future career path.
GROW IN FAITH – Whether one has an active prayer life or is seeking to deepen their relationship with God, full-time service is a unique way to grow spiritually. Many programs offer regular retreats, spiritual direction, and community prayer opportunities.
RECEIVE STIPEND, ROOM AND BOARD, HEALTH INSURANCE – All programs ensure that their volunteers have the necessities needed during their time of service – so volunteers are not required to spend their own money while in the program. Many programs provide their own housing options at the service site or in the community. Some even offer an end of service bonus to help volunteers transition to their next steps.
STUDENT LOAN DEFERMENT AND EDUCATION ASSISTANCE – In most programs, volunteers will not have to make payments on student loans. Programs may offer assistance with loan deferment, or even offer educational grants depending on availability.
LIVE IN COMMUNITY – Volunteers are well-supported during their time of service, most significantly through the presence of a supportive intentional community of fellow volunteers. Volunteers become not just roommates, but a source of strength, fellowship, and accountability.
EXPERIENCE SIMPLE LIVING – Living on a small stipend offers volunteers the opportunity to slow down, and reflect on their own lifestyle decisions and the impact they have on others and the planet. Most long-term programs provide volunteers with enough funds to cover their daily expenses, but encourage volunteers to simplify and make conscious decisions on the impact of these choices.
WORK FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE – Serving the poor and marginalized is a means of raising one’s awareness about the institutions and structures that contribute to economic and social inequalities. Volunteers are encouraged to use their voices to advocate for change.
….and that’s not all! Each program offers addition benefits, which you can find in the program listings in our RESPONSE directory (in print and online.) We hope you will consider all that faith-based service has to offer – for you and the people you will serve!