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Alumni Perspectives: Advice for Incoming Volunteers and Why They Chose BSVM

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Eugene Kim, BSVM 12-13

It exemplified a spirit of solidarity with both the community I was living with and the community I was working with. BSVM did a good job meshing these two components to really make the experience meaningful both professionally and personally.

Jonathan Bettle, BSVM 08-09

BSVM was the only urban-based program to offer substantive opportunities in a hospital setting. And I was not let down.

Laura Coonfield, 09-10

I was accepted at multiple volunteer year programs, and I chose BSVM for these reasons:

  1. Focus on racial justice
  2. Community and faith-based focus
  3. Service in a medically underserved area

Alicia Manteiga, 08-09

I chose BSVM because of the conversations I had with BSVM’s Director Shannon- it seemed that, if someone leading a volunteer ministry had time to thoughtfully answer all of my questions, the program had something special. I was also drawn to the BSVM charism, and its emphasis on healing, compassion, and liberation resonated with what I hoped to give to the world.

Julie McCracken, 12-13

BSVM was the only domestic program I found that offered volunteer positions in healthcare! I was also really interested in living in Baltimore (at the time, the only location—BSVM now has two locations: Baltimore, MD and Richmond, VA!)

Katy Fallavollita, 10-11

I personally picked it because it was one of the only domestic programs I found that was more focused on healthcare/medicine with direct patient contact/care. Also found that it was a good balance of religious and spiritual and had a heavier focus on living in community. I didn’t want to live in a city and volunteer but otherwise live a life unchanged, I wanted to fully immerse myself in a new experience. I completed the program several years ago but these points still stick out to me!

Elizabeth Modde, 15-16

  1. Hospital placement
  2. Living in community
  3. House was in community we were serving

Mackenzie Buss, 15-16

BSVM is actually the only service program I applied to, cause I just had a gut feeling that it was what I wanted to do. Probably a big part of that was having talked with the previous year’s volunteers from Notre Dame and just feeling a sense of confidence in the program through them. The size of the program was appealing to me because I could tell there was a lot of care and effort put into decisions by the staff which made me feel like I would be ‘well taken care of’ if that makes sense. Also, the uniqueness of living in the same neighborhood as where we served was a huge draw for me. It made the service aspect seem more down-to-earth and more like neighborhood/community-building rather than somewhat condescending and disconnected service.

Patrick O’Neil, 13-14

I chose BSVM for a few reasons. I was excited to move to a different part of the country. I grew up and attended college in Massachusetts, and I was ready to get out of my comfort zone. I never expected to live in the city, so I thought it would be a good challenge to live in the heart of Baltimore (I love it now!). Further, I really wanted to immerse myself in service. I grew so much as an individual while doing service in college, and BSVM was a great way to throw myself wholeheartedly into service. It was the best decision I could have made!

Alexis DeGasso, 14-15

I chose BSVM over other programs for many reasons.  The first was that we had the opportunity to live within the community that we were serving, a quality that I think is rare among service programs.  I also was interested in the healthcare aspect of this program, that once again I don’t think many other service programs offer.  I had the least medical related position of our year, but I liked the idea of being part of a greater healthcare system.  I also liked the intimacy of this program over others, with Baltimore and Richmond being the only locations, and only 5-6 volunteers per location, I knew that all of the focus would be on us, and that we wouldn’t get “lost in the shuffle” of a larger program.

We are called by God and sent by the Church to reproduce in ourselves:
Christ healing... Christ consoling... Christ always aware of the needs of others.