Friday, April 27, 2012

Seeing Christ in the Eyes of the Poor

by Scotty Biggs, Campus Recruitment Associate

Earlier this year in partnership with Catholic Extension, Catholic Volunteer Network hosted a discernment retreat and immersion experience in the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Students from Eastern Kentucky University, Truman State University, and University of Tennessee participated in this weekend event. The following is a reflection from one of the students who took part.
Eastern Kentucky University is located on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, one of the poorest regions of the United States. In my experience of growing up in central Kentucky, surrounded by green rolling hills and white fenced horse parks, I never knew that just 45 miles away lived the poorest of the poor until I began to attend college at EKU and got involved with service. Students often volunteer with homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity in the Lexington area but we never ventured into the mountain regions. Who knows, maybe it was fear of banjo music, but whatever the reason, the world of EKU was shattered when a band of brave Catholics loaded their cars and went into the hills and hollers (hollows) of Appalachia with the Catholic Volunteer Network as our fearless guide. I was able to represent EKU, and what I found there shocked and amazed me.

I went expecting to see sorrowful or angry people. Instead I saw people who were happy and jubilant who were willing to just sit, tell stories, and talk about how blessed they were- I saw Jesus.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CVN Creations: Volunteer's Projects to Beautify their Communities

by Caitlin Baummer, CVN AmeriCorps Program Assistant

When I moved into the Project SERVE House, on August 27th 2010, I was greeted by my community members and program director and we launched into an exciting week of orientation- filled with activities to get to know each other, discussion of the pillars and visits to our placement sites. All the while, noticing a very naked looking wall in our living room where we gathered. Then, after that busy week, but before we started work, we had... a long weekend. What would we do with ourselves?

It was thanks to Bethany's suggestion and Rebecca and Faith's artistic eyes that we ventured to the local art supply store to set out upon creating our mural. Rebecca sketched our creation (based on the tree of life) and the rest of us followed with paint brushes in a "paint by numbers type fashion".

The mural became the pride and joy of our community, the focal point of every house tour we gave. Recently, it got me thinking... what have other volunteer programs done to beautify their homes and living communities? I asked and you responded.