Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference


Endowed with a generosity of spirit, these men and women for others offer our communities a wide range of life experiences and the invaluable gift of their lived wisdom. They spend two days a week sharing these gifts and in return, receive the rich rewards of their service.

In their words….

“I am blessed to have been sent by the IVC to serve at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. Everyone connected with the Coalition fulfills their duties with professionalism and grace. They are a group of smart, kind, respectful, warm people, helping equally wonderful people navigate the perils of homelessness.

For the past twenty years, my volunteer responsibilities have been overwhelmingly centered around my kids’ school, sports and community activities. Consequently, when my youngest graduated from high school, I began to look out for new opportunities. I had been following the Jesuit Volunteer Corp since 2015, when my oldest left to serve with JVC in the South Pacific, and the JVC website led me to discover the Ignatian Volunteer Corp. I was delighted to learn that the IVC could be a resource for spiritual development and could guide me toward an impactful volunteer post.

I have truly enjoyed sharing prayer and conversation with the inspiring IVC members that I have met so far, and hope to grow with the organization in the future.”

~ Elizabeth Lenz, Ignatian Volunteer, Northern NJ

I am a volunteer at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, a middle school (grades 5-8) serving low-income families, the majority of whom are first generation immigrants. The students receive a rigorous, thorough education which helps them take the next step to a college-prep high school.

My role is varied: providing adult supervision during recess, one-on-one tutoring and helping the Development Team with fundraising activities. I volunteer at the school two days per week for six hours each day.

Prior to joining IVC, I worked in Commercial Real Estate for 34 years, developing office projects and ultimately leading a 500 person company.”

~ David McGarry, Ignatian Volunteer, NYC

“In my 19th year as an Ignatian Volunteer, my former life as a lawyer and judge seems a long time ago. What makes IVC stand out among volunteer opportunities is the strong sense of community, sharing our spiritual journey as older adults discovering the new ways that God is calling us at this time in our lives.”

~ Barbara Lee, Ignatian Volunteer, NYC

“After our careers as accountant and nurse, being able to enter the world of our needy brothers and sisters each week has helped us to remember that God is vibrantly present beyond just us in the middle class.

We serve as a couple with Catholic Family and Community Service at The Father English Food Pantry in urban Paterson, NJ, with a large population of Hispanic, Afro-American and Arabic people and in rural Sussex, NJ. The Center serves many elderly poor.”

~ Ellen and Bill Sharkey, Ignatian Volunteers, Northern NJ (Ellen and Bill are at the left of the photo, enjoying a moment at an IVC event with IVC volunteer, John Hallinan, and his wife, Pat)

IVC’s Spiritual Enrichment Program is rooted in:

  • monthly gatherings
  • days of recollection
  • book discussions and study
  • individual meetings with a spiritual reflector (guide) who assists in personalizing the meaning of one’s volunteer experience


“IVC has helped me be a better friend to Jesus, and to get to know his friends better. Every encounter, whether it is where I serve those in need, seeing my reflector, our retreats or monthly gatherings makes me richer and deepens my relationships with people and with God. I am learning how to love with God’s love in the face of the impossible.”

~ Louise Sandberg, Ignatian Volunteer, Mary & Joseph Center, Long Island


“I came to IVC after spending four years in Malawi in Africa as a physician and educator, working in a country with scarce medical resources. The experience of finding God among those less fortunate inspired me to continue my personal mission to promote social justice when I returned to New York City.

I am now an Ignatian Volunteer Corps member, working on behalf of the Cause for the Canonization of Dorothy Day. Dorothy dedicated her life to serving the poor and promoting Catholic social justice for 50 years.”

~ Joseph Sclafani, Ignatian Volunteer, NYC (seen at his desk transcribing the diaries of Dorothy Day)


“My IVC experience is like coming out of the dark woods on the high cliff path in Devon into brilliant life. In the warmth of the sun with the endless beauty of the sea before me, I feel that I am wrapped in the love of God.”

~ Mary Aschcroft, Ignatian Volunteer, Cristo Rey High School, NYC

“Forty years after I left teaching to become an attorney, I rediscovered my love of high school students through my IVC placement at Cathedral High School.

IVC service allowed me to expand beyond the classroom to work with the Drama and Music Departments and coach the Mock Trial Team. It has become so easy to see Christ in everyday life through the joy of interacting with my Cathedral girls. The placement has also kept me young in body and heart.”

~ Leona Leo, Ignatian Volunteer, NYC (Leona at Cathedral High School along with English/Drama Teacher, John Naughton)


If you would be interested in learning more about joining our community of Ignatian Volunteers, please contact us at 917.859.0928 or at mfullam@ivcusa.org.