Opportunities for grads to continue social justice

By Eleni Antipas
October 15, 2010

The Cabrini Mission Corps provided students with valuable information on the experience and benefits of doing service work after graduation. On Tuesday, Oct. 11 students, faculty and staff gathered in the mansion to learn about the opportunities that are available to continue living out the passion for social justice.

Gina Scarpello, director of Cabrini Mission Corp and a member of the Catholic Volunteer Network, orchestrated the event along with representatives from ResponseAbility and the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.

“My hope is that this event will help Cabrini College students to form an appreciation for post-grad services. I hope that this event will make them realize the infinite benefits of the program,” Scarpello said.

Scarpello encouraged everyone to share what they believe the world needs. As people began to give their responses, common themes of love, acceptance and peace were mentioned.

The first speaker, Elizabeth Eager-Martino, executive director of ResponseAbility, explained that the post-graduation service programs are a full-time commitment lasting between nine months and two years.

Eager-Martino discussed how one’s desire to make a difference in the world could be accomplished independently through volunteermatch.com, through secular and governmental programs like the Corporation for National and Community Service or through faith-based programs like the Catholic Volunteer Network. The Catholic Volunteer Network offers 200 programs in all 50 states and 115 countries overseas.

“Post-graduation service gives students and opportunity to explore their interests while making a difference,” Eager-Martino said.

The second speaker, Katie Sullivan, director of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, explained that there are several fields of work available. The majority of people choose programs that mirror the work they hope to be doing in their professional careers. However, education, social and child services and health care are the most popular options. Sullivan also stated that individuals can decide to live alone, with the religious, with a local family or with other post-grads while they perform their service.

“When students come to me I really try to tailor their service experience to their individual personalities and professional goals,” Scarpello said.

Michelle Sherman, a theology and ministry graduate student at Villanova University, turned down a full-scholarship to Indiana University to complete two years of service.

“It was the best choice I ever made because I learned where my strengths and weaknesses lie and I developed my relationship with God,” Sherman said.

According to Scarpello, there are several benefits to post-grad service. Personal benefits include understanding one’s talents and desires. The program consists of professional development support and  networking opportunities. Financial benefits include health insurance, loan repayment and deferment and the chance to win the Americorps Education Award, which provides grants for continuing education.

“I like myself more having done the program because I learned to look for the beauty in life,” Stephen Eberle, Coordinator of Community Partnerships, said.

For more information attend the following events: Villanova University will be hosting a Post-Graduate Service Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 7-9 p.m. in the Connelly Center and the Catholic Volunteer Network Discernment Workshop will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 4-7 p.m. in the Grace Hall board room.

Eleni Antipas

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