Mission & History
In the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, the mission of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers is to invite young adults into a process of transformation through companionship with people who are living in poverty and are marginalized.
Mission in Action
We are a community of faith and action that responds to the Gospel call in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. We are young adults, ages 21-30, who serve the elderly, homeless, developmentally disabled, troubled youth and those who are living in poverty. Our year-long program offers an opportunity for spiritual, emotional, professional growth, and a way of discerning and living one’s Christian vocation.
Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV) began in 1994 by Bill and Mary Frances Jaster, after serving 20-plus years as youth ministers. During this time, two growing needs had been made very clear:
Young adults were looking for concrete ways of serving those who are poor and reflecting on these experiences in terms of both faith and life choices.
Local, nonprofit agencies that serve the marginalized were also having trouble finding and keeping qualified and affordable staff.
After consultation with Denver-area nonprofits and others, CVV was formed to respond to these needs by developing a program that offers:
Structured, faith-centered opportunities that help young adults be open to and serve those who are poor.
Reduced-cost staffing that helps local nonprofit agencies in their mission to those who are poor.
Each year, since 1994, CVV has recruited 12-20 young adults, from throughout the country, primarily recent college graduates, to take part in the program. They agree to spend a volunteer year in Denver, living in community, serving those who are poor in full-time service through local nonprofit agencies, and integrating their service experiences through a yearlong spiritual formation program which includes daily prayer, retreats, mentoring and regular theological reflection times. In 2010, CVV grew to include 2 communities of volunteers in service to those who are most in need.
Where we are now
Currently, we are in year 28 of CVV. In July 2020, Haley Todd, became the new director as Mary Frances and Bill retired. Haley, a CVV alum herself, felt called to leave her career as an educator and administrator in the Denver Public Schools to lead CVV. Her combined experience of serving marginalized youth at Urban Peak and Emily Griffith and leadership ability made her the perfect fit for the position. She deeply believes in building on the foundation of CVV to achieve an even greater experience of transformation for the volunteer.
In this time of transition a letter was sent to CVV leadership acknowledging hurts, harms, and neglects CVV had participated in due to racial justice. In an effort to fully embrace the suggestions, CVV made the decision to pause programming for 2020-21 service year. This time has allowed CVV to examine how to become an organization committed to anti-racism work.