Hellos, Until Laters, Farewells, Calling on Community
LVC is excited about welcoming a new group of Volunteers in August; trying to be patient during the program pause in Wilmington; and sad to lose our program managers in response to the shrinking service year landscape. Now is certainly a season demanding much of us, while it also delights with new possibilities -- and the opposites present opportunities to lean on faith. You're a huge part of this journey, so read all the way to the end to find out how LVC needs you now. And thank you in advance for your support!
While LVC enrollment had been dropping for years, this year is the biggest, and slowest season. New graduates are finding jobs-a-plenty and bypassing service for employment. While this may be an expected response to an improving economy, it forces service programs like LVC to pivot to remain nimble and responsive. We've identified cost reductions at every corner, including staffing, housing, and operations. For staffing -- program manager positions will be eliminated for now, and current program managers' last day in their regions will be August 31. Volunteers will still have several layers of support from mentors, support congregations, local support networks, and LVC staff, for continuity of programming and care. If you've crossed paths with Scott, Rachel, or Meghan, share your well wishes and blessings as we all thank them and say farewell.
Scott Glaser - Omaha, NE
For six-plus years as Program Manager for Omaha, Scott has led LVC development, followed by Omaha Volunteer program operations, splitting his time between LVC and Lutheran Service Corps in an ongoing M.O.U between the two organizations. He has worked closely with the president on special projects; and has been a caring team member for staff and Volunteers in his region. Scott will leave LVC but continue on as executive director of LSC after August.
Rachel Kennedy - Twin Cities, MN
For two years as Program Manager for Twin Cities, Rachel has managed our connections with local church support congregations that create close community for Twin Cities Volunteers; and recruited a number of new Placement partners into the LVC family. She's the moderator of LVC's program days the first Friday of every month, learning experiences fundamental to the service year experience.
Meghan Brown Saavedra - East Region
Meghan stepped into LVC this year as our newest Program Manager, and as a practicing and natural minister has already ministered to Volunteers, alumni and support networks, staff, and countless others that cross her path. She came to us from YAGM, ELCA's Young Adults in Global Ministry, and mastered her new role leading admissions and escorting applicants through discernment of their LVC next steps.
Before most of us on staff arrived, Wilmington DE had been a small and mighty region with decades of broad community gathering to support LVC Volunteers. Many know their annual bowl-a-thon which drew in many segments of the community to raise funds for LVC annually. Wilmington's hike-a-thon during COVID-19 sparked LVC's nationwide hike-a-thon, so you might call Wilmington the spirit behind the almost $15,000 raised in May. If you've ever visited supporters in Wilmington, you'll feel why we're adamant about pausing, and not stopping.
While LVC has had to eliminate rental housing in Wilmington DE, Minneapolis MN, and Washington DC, because we could not fill those houses (yes, we still have programs in DC, Baltimore, Twin Cities, and a remote Volunteer in Omaha), we are planning conversations with Wilmington to plan next steps. We believe we'll need new housing models in the days ahead to meet the vicissitudes of Volunteer engagement. Wilmington is quiet this year out of necessity. Have ideas, please share. Stay tuned as we all explore, and experiment with what's next in Wilmington.
EXIT Lutheran Service Corps
Lutheran Service Corps (LSC) will be re-starting its own service year program on September 1, separate from LVC, with a goal of recruiting its own volunteers to serve in Omaha starting in August of 2023. The LSC board wants to be able to focus on building a stronger community in Omaha and is working on the logistics and operations necessary to be a stand-alone organization again. LSC Executive Director, Scott Glaser says, "thank you to Lutheran Volunteer Corps for their wonderful partnership and support over the last decade. Many volunteers have come through Hillstrom House and benefited from the LVC program in Omaha. Thank you for helping us to impact so many lives." (LSC 30th Anniversary Reunion gathering, at left and below.)
Who are the brave souls that journey into a year of service, when their peers are headed mostly to employment? In September we'll introduce you to this year's new group of Volunteers. Meanwhile, meet the first applicant to enroll as a Volunteer for August, and soon-to-be alumni hired by their Placements.
HIRED! Karin Selland '21-22
"After completing my LVC year of service with Luther Place Church, I have been hired as a part-time coordinator for the Steinbruck Center! As a coordinator for this ministry, I will work with youth, campus ministry, and protest groups that are coming to D.C. For youth and campus ministry groups, we work to provide a meaningful and lasting experience with anti-racist, intergenerational, and place-based urban ministry. For the last twelve months, I have connected with members within the Luther Place community that I did not feel ready to leave this July. I am grateful for the chance to continue forming these relationships and see the transition of the Steinbruck Center out of its pandemic sabbatical into an operational hostel ministry once again."
HIRED! Kelsey McLaurin '21-'22
"I am excited to begin a new role at my service year placement, Girls in the Game, as the Teen Programs Coordinator. I will be working with female-identifying high school students in Baltimore City coordinating programs that focus on topics in leadership development, career preparation, health, and fitness."
HIRED! Sarah Jane McDonald '21-'22
Last year, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) expressed how much of a gift their LVC Volunteer -- Sarah Jane McDonald (SJ) -- has been to their outreach team, how brightly her gifts are shining, and the leadership she has undertaken. LIRS needed SJ's leadership, and hired her before the service year ended to support growing efforts with immigration.
FIRST ENROLLED Zack Light
Zachary Light was born to two queer women in Cambridge and raised in Sharon, Massachusetts. From an early age, Zack developed a keen eye for observing people and bridging their experiences with social dilemmas they read about at length in their free time. Their drive to always extend a hand in healing is rooted in their deep-set value of helping others before themselves. Their journey through Sharon High School and St. Olaf College were stepping stones to exploring the world of social justice and learning ways of service and reconciliation. As a history major and lover of literature, Zack excels at integrating vastly different perspectives and historical evidence into everyday problem-solving analysis. Zack has always sought to devote their life to enacting positive change in the world, and their first step is working with Community of Hope. Zack was the first to enroll in the August 2022 LVC Service Year.
CALLING ON COMMUNITY
The success of the Volunteer service year depends on you. The layers of local support are what have always created the vibrant LVC experience that continues, for many, for a lifetime. Help us build even more this year, to show our smaller corps of Volunteers just how invested we are in them. No need to overcommit. There are lots of one-time activities. You can also give back what was given to you with the investment of your time, talent and treasure. Contact program director SHAE AGEE for the roles below. Thank you in advance.
ALUMNI NEEDED FOR LOCAL SUPPORT
We need alumni in DC, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Wilmington to help us build local alumni support to celebrate community during the year, and get folks out for the annual May hike-a-thon. In Wilmington specifically, we'll need alumni to help us plan for LVC's Wilmington future.
PLACEMENTS NEEDED FOR PROGRAM DAYS, HIKE TEAMS, and Introducing Samaritan Ministry
For Program Days starting in September, Placements and their Volunteers will lead or join as program day presenters on a variety of topics, advocating and connecting their missions to social justice for Volunteer conversations. Past topics have included race and gender, voting rights, housing, immigration, food security, mental health, transportation; and new topics on women's rights, legal justice, poverty, human rights, and more. Placements have also asked how they can support their Volunteers outside of the office, so we invite you to gather a team from your organization and hike with your Volunteer at LVC's hike for social justice, May 19-21 weekend, in cities across the country.
WELCOME Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington and supervisor Jennifer Seager-Valentine, who joins LVC as a new Placement.
SUPPORT CONGREGATIONS NEEDED
LVC is pleased to welcome Trinity Lutheran Church in North Bethesda, MD as a new support congregation for Washington, DC. If your church or faith group can pack-the-pantry 1-4 times a year (first one is the week of August 8-12, next in November, March, June); host a welcome or farewell event; visit Volunteers at the house periodically; invite them to worship services and events; pick up for airport arrivals (August 13-14) and departures (July 21-23, 2023); or even provide parish housing to reduce LVC housing woes -- any one or more on this list would make you a great support congregation.
MENTORS NEEDED FOR DC, BALTIMORE, MINNEAPOLIS
Congratulations! LVC mentor for Baltimore, Kirsten Mathisen '16, just got married in May! LVC community and spirituality mentors provide consistent, year-round support to each Volunteer house community, and many mentors were Volunteers a few years prior to the mentoring role. Mentors will lead Volunteer orientation the week of August 15-18 (mornings on Zoom); and participate in a topic matching their expertise on Program Days (first Fridays of each month). You won't be alone -- we already have mentors for each house, and would like to have 3-4, offering Volunteers a vibrant connection to local alumni and multiple supporters, champions and cheerleaders for their year.
If you've reached the end of this e-newsletter, thank you. You're a valued member of the LVC community, and we appreciate your support.
CAMPAIGN 10 Look for LVC's $10/month campaign in the coming days. If you have never donated to LVC, but believe in its impact on your life and others', have supported in other ways but never financially, please join as monthly donors by signing up for $10 per month now, at the DONATE HERE button below. THANK YOU in advance.
HIKE-a-THON 2023 Mark your calendars now for the 2023 Hike-a-Thon, May 19-21.
LVC BOARD AND COMMITTEES You can still submit your candidacy for LVC's Board of Directors, and for working committees, as a great way to get more involved. APPLY HERE to be considered for the new fiscal year, with term starting in August 2022.
Lutheran Volunteer Corps
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