Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Agencies report increase in college grad volunteers

Several volunteer organizations are reporting increases in the number of college graduates they place, as a response to "the tight job market or simply from a desire to do some good."

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, which places volunteers in rural and urban areas in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, accepted 101 volunteers at the start of the 2009-10 service term, a 40 percent increase from the previous year.

Teach for America and the Peace Corps also have tracked big surges in volunteer numbers since the nation's economic downturn began in the fall of 2008 -- about 40 percent for Teach for America and 16 percent for the Peace Corps.

The directior of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Jeanne Haster, credits the President's call for involvement in community service and the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April, which increases the number of spots in the AmeriCorps service program.

"This bill will dramatically increase the amount of support for service opportunities throughout the United States, enabling more Americans to volunteer during a time when so many in our country are in need," said Jim Lindsay, executive director of the Maryland-based Catholic Network of Volunteer Service.

The network, with more than 200 member-programs, hosts an online directory of full-time service opportunities. Those logging on to search the opportunities have increased by 32 percent from a year ago. In a recent poll of network members, two thirds reported a "significant" increase in applications from previous years, he told the Catholic Sentinel, Portland's archdiocesan newspaper. via

To read the rest of the article and read about some of the students involved, click the link above.


Jessica said...

My sister just finished up a year of volunteer service with the Augustinians straight out of college and she absolutely loved it. She got to live in the Bronx and work in a school and homeless women's transitional center run by the parish. It was an incredible opportunity and I think more and more people are getting tuned into the idea of giving of their time to good causes before entering the 40-hour work week!

Wheelie Catholic said...

That sounds like a wonderful experience for your sister- and all the lives she touched! It's good to hear that more people are becoming interested in working with these agencies.

Take care,