Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

Meet IVC Albany member Judi England

by | Jun 10, 2024

Judi England lives in Albany and has been serving as an Ignatian Volunteer Corps member at Unity House in Troy since IVC Albany’s inception in 2019.  Judi offers her reflection about her service with IVC. 

As my current service year draws close to an end, I find myself reflecting with deep gratitude on the many joys, challenges and opportunities that have come my way since becoming an IVC volunteer.

The very first time I heard Kate Burgess speak about the mission of IVC, I was drawn to explore further.  Finding an opportunity for spiritual support, while serving my community spoke to my heart.  Clearly it was a prompt from the Spirit urging me to find out how I might get involved.

My work life as a nurse, health educator, massage therapist, yoga and meditation instructor has always been focused on promoting good health and well-being.  Also, I recognized the toll that can weigh heavily on both the recipient and provider in navigating physical, emotional and psychological challenges. Was it possible that there might be a new way for me to bring all my life experiences – personal as well as professional – to serve others?

Indeed, there was!

For the past five years I’ve served at Unity House, offering yoga, meditation, and mindfulness sessions.  The specifics of how that is offered has changed over time in response to the needs of the Agency, not to mention negotiating the pandemic, but the goal has remained the same.

Currently I am at the PROS Program of Unity House, offering sessions on yoga, meditation and mindfulness to both clients and staff.  The focus of the PROS  Program is supporting clients with mental health challenges as they seek employment, housing, and full entry into daily living.  My goal is to empower folks with tools they can use every day to deal with stress, manage emotions, and work towards a better life.

It has been an amazing year!

The agency was so welcoming to what I had to offer, and my sessions were seen as an integral part of the program for clients.  The clients have been open and have felt safe to share their difficulties and their successes.  Just last week, one client was absolutely glowing as she described the happiness she was feeling to have bought a car and insured it.  Pure joy radiated from her as she told her story and took in the admiration of her peers.

But IVC is more than service.  It has become a spiritual home that I rely on: weekly opportunities for shared prayer, monthly gatherings with inspiring reflectors, my personal connection with my reflector, and the friendships that have blossomed with my fellow volunteers, and so much more.

What a gift this has been. To be able to bring together all the parts of my life – professional, personal and spiritual.  No words can fully express all the blessings that IVC has given me.