April is Volunteer Month
Millennials Take the Lead in Volunteerism
They mend broken fences for the elderly, deliver food to the hungry, and find countless ways to support those in need.
They are Millennials – young people in their teens, 20s and 30s – and they are at the vanguard of volunteerism today.
“It’s a great learning experience and I get to help those who need it the most!” explained Kim Case, who is a Catholic Charities New Hampshire AmeriCorps VISTA leader. Case is among scores of volunteers who donate their time, talent and energies to Catholic Charities’ programs.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Month in April, we salute you for your hard work, dedication and selfless drive to move lives forward.
The Millennial Impact Report of 2015 compiled by the research group, Achieve, found that 70 percent of the 800 Millennials they surveyed volunteered for causes for which they are passionate. Nearly half used their vacation time to volunteer. The report found Millennials are also more likely to volunteer than donate money through their workplaces.
Joycelin Raho sees this dedication every day as assistant director of campus ministry at St. Anselm College in Manchester.
“It’s good for them to see that direct connection to our Catholic identity,” Raho said.
The Princeton Review ranks St. Anselm sixth nationally in terms of community service and the many projects in which its students participate. They include a Thanksgiving Basket food drive to support Catholic Charities and helping out at Catholic Charities’ annual Mardi Gras Gala fundraiser.
In addition, a team of St. Anselm students participate in the Road for Hope walk in August. The 130-mile trek from Maine to the Manchester campus takes eight days and raises money for eight charities. They include St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester, a Catholic Charities program that assists children with behavioral issues.
“Volunteerism is just integral to who St. Anselm students are,” Raho said. “I am very inspired.”
Catholic Charities is a sponsoring agency for an AmeriCorps VISTA program in New Hampshire. As such, it manages VISTA members who serve at Catholic Charities and 14 other agencies, such as the Nashua Police Athletic League and the Organization for Refugee & Immigrant Success.
“They want to give a year of service. It’s amazing,” said Renee Perreault, who is project coordinator for CCNH AmeriCorps VISTA.
The vast majority of people who sign up for AmeriCorps VISTA are Millennials, even though the program is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old, Perreault said. The impact CCNH AmeriCorps VISTA members have on the communities in which they serve is tremendous. In 2016, they managed 3,192 volunteers, who donated more than 51,586 hours of service and raised $692,545 through grant writing, donation collections and fundraising.
“I serve because I hope to be the shoulders on which this year’s giants stand,” said AmeriCorps VISTA member Sean Stalling, who is serving at City Year New Hampshire in Manchester this year.
“The opportunity to help those in need is a huge part of what makes volunteering so attractive to young adults like myself,” added Ryan Noronha, a VISTA volunteer. “For young people at the beginning of their professional careers, it is also a benefit to learn so many different skills, see the world from a different perspective, and have a chance to build professional experience.”
Catholic Charities thanks our many volunteers who participate in this wonderfully caring and compassionate community. It is a community that always has room for more.
Volunteer with a Mission
Ryan Noronha had his eyes set on a business career after college. That changed when he went on a mission trip to Nicaragua to provide clean water to a local community. Inspired by the generosity and good works he saw there, Ryan changed his career path to serving others.
Ryan joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program last fall and now works as volunteer services coordinator at Catholic Charities. He recruits and manages community volunteers, markets and implements volunteer projects, and explores potential new ventures.
“I really like it,” Ryan explained. “I’m a little bit surprised they don’t have more recurring volunteers because it’s such a great organization with so many different aspects to it. The people here at Catholic Charities are great. I have learned a lot. I am glad I can be there to bring in more volunteers to limit the stress level with some projects.”
Ryan said he posts regularly on Facebook and Volunteer NH and created a volunteer page on the Catholic Charities’ website, www.cc-nh.org/volunteer. He communicates with local agencies, schools, clubs and other potential partners. In addition, he works with Catholic Charities’ Healthcare Services to meet their volunteer needs. Ryan enjoys the field and ultimately hopes to pursue it as his career.
Touched by Love, Bosnian Refugee Can’t Stop Giving Back
Not every 34-year-old mom will drop everything and slip into her sparkly blue dress and blonde wig to hold children spellbound as Queen Elsa from the Disney hit movie, Frozen. Cacilia Anthony isn’t every mom. She believes in spreading the love. Paying it forward. Giving back. In a word: Volunteerism.
“I grew up in a very hard childhood. But I always had a heart,” said the Bosnian civil war refugee, who was 16 when she arrived in Manchester and still reeling from the brutality she left behind.
“When the war happened, I had to swim rivers, I had to deal with grenades, and I had to deal with dead bodies. I’ve seen how hateful people can be and I’ve seen how easy it is to hate,” Cacilia said.
“When I came to America, I said, ‘I will make a difference one person at a time’.”
Pregnant with her first daughter, Cacilia said the love and support she received from Catholic Charities’ OUR PLACE pregnancy and parenting education program and its supervisor, Karen Munsell, was a turning point in her life.
“She replaced the mother that I never had. She replaced everything I never had. I promised her, I don’t care what time you need me, I will be there for OUR PLACE,” Cacilia explained.
Through the years, Cacilia volunteered to do many things for OUR PLACE, whether it is cleaning out the garage to dressing up as Queen Elsa at children’s holiday parties. Enchanted girls – most of whom come from at-risk families – eagerly pose to have their pictures taken with her.
“It is important for me to give my time, to say thank you for all you have done for me,” the mother of three daughters said of the inspiration behind her volunteer work. She is also writing a book on volunteering – urging others to get involved.
“You need to involve yourself to give back because it goes both ways,” she explained. “It’s very important to get involved to show the love, to show the care, and to teach your children the right path.”