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CVN Alumni Survey Results:
CVV recently participated in a groundbreaking survey of more than 60 volunteer organizations operating around the world, commissioned by the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN) with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. The “Survey of Former Volunteers of the Catholic Volunteer Network” interviewed more than 5,000 former volunteers from CVN’s 50-year history. With 79 CVV alumni – or more than one-third of our total alumni – responding, CVV was among the top ten organizations with the highest response rate in the country. CVV has always firmly rooted itself in the belief that a year (or more!) of service changes not only the people served, but the ones doing the serving. This belief bore out in the national survey results, which showed:
- Most former volunteers (8 in 10) are still involved in volunteer work and charitable giving.
- Nearly half (46 percent) are involved in their faith communities by attending religious services once a week.
- More than two thirds of former volunteers (67 percent) said their volunteer year had an influence on their choice of career.
As we read these and other results from the survey, the words that we have heard from many alumni about their time with CVV echo in our hearts. We share some of them with you now, to put some names and stories to the numbers that show the impact of volunteering:
“I find myself yearning for the sense of peace I felt as a part of CVV. Nothing has really compared to the feeling of coming home after a work day to eight community members who want to laugh, cry, pray, and cook with you. Nothing has really compared to the sense of the unknown I was able to experience every day while opening the doors of the clinic to 40 cold, hungry strangers, forcing me to completely release myself to God.” – Joel Fuchs (CVV 18, 2012-2013) – Medical school student at Creighton University.
“CVV has had such a profound impact on my life… Lately I’ve been thinking ignorance is bliss, I find it difficult to turn my head and become numb to all the violence, homelessness and social injustice. I think about how easy it would be to work with people of the same culture, class, religion, language, etc. But, I wouldn’t be happy or challenged in the ways that I am. Most of the families I work with are immigrant families from Vietnam, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, Kenya, Poland, Ireland, or are teenaged mothers that live in group homes. So, it is very exciting and extremely challenging at the same time!” – Courtney Roy (CVV 8, 2002-2003) – Physical Therapist, Chicago, IL.
“Your guidance, support and prayers have helped to make this an extremely rewarding experience and one that will have a lasting effect on the rest of my life. This year has helped to figure some things out for my future and although I may not know exactly what that will look like, I still feel comforted. It’s weird, because I’m getting to a point where I don’t mind the confusion in many ways. It’s intriguing and that’s something I never would have said a year ago.” – Joe Saverimuttu (CVV 12, 2006-2007) – Pharmaceutical Salesperson, Ohio.
“I am realizing more and more how impactful my year of CVV was. Thank you, thank you a million times over. CVV changed my life in countless ways….CVV taught me how to think critically about what’s happening in our world…I really miss the focus on simplicity and serving, on intentionally seeking Christ in others…I learned how to live in intentional community. I miss it terribly. It was not always easy, but it was always rewarding…CVV instilled in me a desire to be with those who are oppressed, abandoned, suffering, and I hope I can do something good as a social worker!… I want to continue meeting people where they’re at and showing compassion. Maybe I can’t always solve their problems but walking the journey with them might lessen a burden. Our trip to the border and CAD days, our R&D activities, along with my service at Urban Peak convinced me of this.” – Jenne Wiedemeier (CVV 20, 2014-2015) – MSW Student, Minnesota.
“I thought I would share with you something I think is really great from my classroom… We are celebrating All Saints day next week and we all had to pick a classroom saint. I chose St. Vincent de Paul. We also will be having lunch after Mass with our students that can be food from the saint’s country. I decided to make the meal be in honor of St. Vincent by having the parents provide a simple meal of soup, bread and water to teach the students about Vincent’s mission. Please remember that all that I learned during my year at CVV will stay with me forever.” Matt Bovenzi (CVV 5, 1999-2000) – Catholic school teacher, Ventura, CA.
Some other results from the CVN survey include:
- Almost 6 in 10 respondents have a Master’s degree or higher.
- Just under 1 in 10 of married former participants have ever divorced (9 percent), significantly lower than the percentage in the general U.S. population (31 percent).
The survey didn’t ask whether former volunteers are also exceptionally good-looking and have excellent teeth, but we suspect this to be true as well. To find out more, check out the full results of the survey on the Catholic Volunteer Network Web site at www.catholicvolunteernetwork.org. The survey was distributed online earlier this year to former volunteers at CVV and 59 additional Catholic Volunteer Network member organizations around the globe. Survey respondents provided demographic and background information as well as answering questions related to their experience with their volunteer program and lives following their volunteer service. The survey compared these results with the national averages, where applicable. “Blessed are they who spend their lives for the service of God and neighbor.” – St. Vincent de Paul To read more, click here.
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Recommended reading list for times of discernment.