Share Your Service Story!

Catholic Volunteer Network invites current and former volunteers to participate in our 2019 Story Contest!

RESPONSE 2019 - could you be on next year's cover?

As a volunteer, you have stepped into the lives of others, and hopefully, have experienced transformation in the process. We want to hear from you about these experiences, and how they have shaped your ongoing journey of faith and service.

CVN's mission is to increase awareness about full-time, faith-based service, and we believe that the most effective way to do that is to share real-life experiences from volunteers. This contest is your opportunity to share your stories with thousands of people discerning their own call to service.

So - we invite you to pick up the pen, and submit your story! Winning entries will be featured in our 2020 RESPONSE directory, on the CVN blog, and across our social media outlets.

Keep reading for more info about the contest!


Volunteer Story & Photo Contest Guidelines

Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE) 2018
Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE) 2018

Submission Details

Entry Length: Approximately 700-900 words
Photos: 2-4 high quality photos (photos 5mb or larger in size may even end up on the cover of Response!)
Deadline: April 30, 2019
Themes: Please select one of the following themes for your entry:
  • Community and Simple Living – How did living simply in community with other volunteers enhance your service experience? What advice would you give to others as they prepare for simple living in community?
  • Spirituality – How has your faith been strengthened by the experience of volunteering? Where did you find Christ in those you served?
  • Social Justice – What social justice issue has most deeply impacted you during this year of service? Tell a story of how a social justice issue came to life for you while volunteering.
  • Write a Letter to a Future Volunteer – What advice helped you through your service experience? What do you wish you had known before you started?
  • Alumni Story – How did your service experience impact your life? Did it influence career or lifestyle choices that you made? How have you remained connected to your program or service site?
  • I Chose Service – Why did you choose service? Who inspired you to choose service? What would you tell others discerning their own call to serve?
Prize: The winning story and picture will be published in our annual RESPONSE directory and monthly newsletter, as well as on our website, Facebook page, and blog. Winners will receive a $50 gift card for the merchant of their choice, along with some Catholic Volunteer Network gear!

To enter, please send submission materials, including this signed release form to: Mike McCormick, [email protected]. Deadline is April 30, 2019.


Keep Reading for Story-Writing Tips!

Tips for Telling Your Story

Include yourself in the story - Let the audience get to know you. Even if your story focuses on someone you met during your service experience, be sure to include details about how that encounter impacted you. And, don't leave out a photo of yourself!

Tell one story - You probably have hundreds of stories you want to share, and may be tempted to include all the details but you will be most effective when you narrow it down to just one experience. If you can't decide between two stories - you can always tell them in two different entries.

Use names - When you are telling the story of a person you encountered, it will make a deeper impact on your audience if you use his or her first name. This simple strategy helps the audience understand the personal connection you made. Depending on your story, you may have concerns about protecting the person's identity. In these cases it is perfectly okay to change the name.

Just start writing - If you are not a regular writer, you may have trouble getting started. Try not to worry too much about your style or tone, just keep it simple and casual, as if you were talking to a friend. Once you have the basics of the story in place, go back and work on sentence structure and wording.

Include your community - Your community members probably know you pretty well. Consider sharing a draft of your story with one of them to see if there is anything you could add or modify. It's always helpful to receive feedback from another reader, and they may remember some details that you omitted!

Check out past winners -

We can't wait to hear how service has impacted your life. Thanks in advance for being a part of our community and sharing your inspiring stories.

If you have any questions about the Story Contest, please contact Mike McCormick at [email protected].