IVC Milwaukee: Making a Difference

The Ignatian Volunteer Corps is a national Jesuit ministry that invites men and women 50 years of age and older to put their talents, life skills and experience at the service of people in need in their local area. The Ignatian Volunteer Corps provides men and women, most age 50 or better, opportunities to serve others and to transform lives. IVC matches the talents of experienced volunteers with the greatest social needs of our time.

There are very few people who realize what God would make of them…if they abandoned themselves into his hands, and let themselves be formed by his grace.

In calling me to live my special qualities and characteristics, God planted deep in myself an original purpose—what my concrete self ‘adds up to’ and to live out

IVC works in partnership with community groups and non-profit organizations working in our city to heal wounds and fill gaps created by urban poverty. Our volunteers typically commit a day a week for nine months supporting the work of justice, healing and positive social change.

Along with this significant service, IVC volunteers are supported by a unique spiritual reflection program rooted in the Jesuit tradition of Ignatian spirituality. Volunteers gather monthly to reflect on their experiences, deepen their faith through presentations and readings, and gain wisdom through learning from one another. Reflecting and praying in the Ignatian tradition deepens the experience of service and is a unique feature of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps.

S. Eliot, in his poem, “The Four Quartets” gives us this famous line: “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

Through reflection, IVC assists volunteers to discover the deeper meaning of the work they do. In fact, for some, it becomes life changing.

Anne Curley gave her year of service (2017-18) as a reading tutor at St. Catherine. By the end of the year (Spring of 2018) Anne had fallen in love with the children and was deeply moved by their great need. Most of the children at St. Catherine are reading well below level and research shows the direct correlation between low reading scores and lives of on-going poverty and struggle. Anne was inspired to propose a much more robust reading tutor program for St. C’s.

She drew up a plan to recruit and train a corps of 14 additional volunteers so that every classroom from Kindergarten through 4th grade will have at least 3 dedicated reading tutors to provide individual assistance with children in need. As we begin this new IVC year (Fall 2018) Anne is returning to St. C’s with this new corps of reading tutors. We are so proud of this project and the great benefit it will bring to the children and families of St. Catherine.

Growing the Work

Anne’s story is a great example of how IVC volunteers are making a difference. After experiencing the joy and the need at St. Catherine’s, she recruited 15 more tutors for the next school year. They each committed to give three hours a week, and to participate in a training program.

The ultimate vision is to expand a first-rate tutoring service into all Milwaukee area Catholic schools that serve mainly lower-income students.

That’s the power of IVC. It’s experience, making a difference.

Please watch the short video on Anne’s IVC Milwaukee story.

IVC Milwaukee is poised to grow into a significant service organization in the greater Milwaukee area. We welcome new volunteers and partner agencies to join us in mission.