This year we welcome 30 Ignatian Volunteers working at 25 partner agencies in direct service to people who are experiencing poverty or marginalization. Ignatian Volunteers commit to work two days a week in service to the poor, mid-September through June, for a year.
Our volunteers, all retired or semi-retired from their careers, have such broad backgrounds. This year, IVC Baltimore welcomed ten new seasoned professionals with effective partners that serve people experiencing poverty. Some of them include
- A retired college president developing a spiritually restorative program for women and girls who have been sexually trafficked.
- A retired pharmacist teaching pharmacy technician classes to women who are unemployed or underemployed.
- A retired career counselor conducting mock interviews and offering resume help to unemployed job-seekers.
- A retired English professor facilitating English as a Second Language classes for women seeking asylum in the United States.
The Baltimore community participates regularly in spiritual reflection, an integral part of the IVC experience. The volunteers meet with a spiritual reflector about the meaning of their work with the poor, beyond the service experience itself, and how it contributes to growing their faith. The community gathers at a local parish center to pray, reflect and share service experiences during the previous month—as well as discuss a book they are reading on social justice or spirituality themes. This year Ignatian Volunteers all across the country are reading What is Ignatian Spirituality by David Fleming, SJ. In addition to all this, the Baltimore region unites together in three retreats during the year—to offer each other a pause to personally contemplate the impact of their volunteering and God’s presence with them.
Ignatian Volunteers are incredibly generous with their time and talents. Yet our volunteers say over and over again that they get back so much more than they give. 80% of our volunteers renew their commitment to the IVC program here in Baltimore and come back to the program year after year.