Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

Meet Joe Lorenzo – IVC New Orleans Service Corps Member

by | Jul 11, 2024

The blueprint for a potential Service Corps member to join the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) usually starts with a source of information that peeks the candidate’s interest, who then makes a phone call or website inquiry about the program, followed by a period of discernment before the potential member joins and commits to an assignment through IVC. During that discernment period, great effort goes into finding the appropriate assignment where the talents and skills of the candidate can be put to best use. Such was the case with Joe Lorenzo, a new Service Corps member who just finished his first year assignment with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul New Orleans.

Joe spent thirty years with the New Orleans police force, retiring in 2023. During his tenure he held many positions but speaks fondly of his work on the special victims’ unit. This assignment allowed him to develop skills for working largely with inner-city abused women and children. When he was ready to “step away” from his police work career, Joe, like several other new IVC members, came across an article in the Clarion Herald describing IVC. His decision to join came quickly, but finding a good match for his interests and skills took several interviews with Becky Goff, the Regional Director, to identify an assignment that would fit like a “gun in a holster.”

At St. Vincent de Paul, Joe receives calls from community members who need assistance with housing, food, clothing, and other basic needs. Joe’s acquired interview skills are put to good use as he can anticipate multiple needs of the caller and is able to empathize with their condition. As Michael Bourg, the Executive Director of St Vincent de Paul noted, the callers are “Joe’s people” – the poor, suffering and disenfranchised of the community. Joe’s acquired interview skills are put to good use to calm and empathize with those in crisis, anticipate the multiple needs of the caller, and then helps connect them to the organization’ s resources, often Vincentians in local parish Conferences. Joe considers them the true helping hands and hearts of the service, but Michael Bourg sees Joe’s value as going beyond other volunteers who work with the organization. The Director notes that because Joe has spent so much of his career working with the poor and needy he has a good sense of anticipating their needs even beyond what they perceive as most immediate. Honed in his career working with the abused, Joe demonstrates daily that he has a “compassionate heart” and skills at effectively communicating with others who play a role in providing resources to those in need. Joe’s assignment with St Vincent de Paul has provided him a fitting, meaningful and rewarding experience as an IVC Service Corps Member.