PHILADELPHIA — The Franciscan Volunteer Ministry here has launched a blog on its Web site, which is helping to attract interest in the volunteer program.
A recent blog posting said: “Home? Work? Some liminal space between the two? Where could you be? What could you be doing? Potential is a wonderful thing, provided it’s fulfilled.”
Between the new blog inviting young people to think about their potential and the efforts of FVM Promoter Michael Smith traveling the country to raise volunteer awareness, the ministry has attracted the most inquiries in its 20-year history.
Promoting FVM’s Value
Seven new applicants — the most ever at this time of year — have applied to become volunteers, according to FVM program director Katie Sullivan. “We are thrilled,” said Sullivan, who is also enjoying working for the first time as a two-person staff; Smith began his job last fall.
When HNP Today caught up recently with Smith, he was on his way to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana to promote the FVM and to discuss postgraduate volunteerism. A week earlier, he spoke at the University of Georgia.
“The trip was very successful,” he said, with various students expressing interest in the Province’s volunteer ministry.
He is also planning visits to the campuses of both his alma mater, Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, and St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.
In addition to talking at colleges and ministries about volunteerism, Smith has visited the FVM’s three ministry sites in Philadelphia; Camden, N.J.; and Wilmington, Del. The ministry visits have helped Smith, on the job less than a year, learn about the ministries while reassuring site supervisors of FMV’s commitment to them, he said. “During that trip, I also welcomed a group of volunteers from Siena College to St. Francis Inn and fostered several reflection-oriented discussions with them,” he added.
Smith is working on updating the volunteer ministry’s Web site, where the home page currently shows pictures of smiling volunteers in ministry. It displays a banner that says “now accepting applications for the 2009 – 2010 FVM year.” The site was designed by “one of our alums, Jay Verzosa,” Sullivan said.
Seeking, Reviewing Applicants
The seven current applicants come from various backgrounds with diverse gifts, talents and hopes, according to Sullivan.
“All feel a call to a Franciscan experience of community, ministry, and prayer,” Sullivan said. “When participants conclude their year or two with FVM, they leave with a skill set they probably never anticipated — communication skills, ability to work with a vast array of people and personalities, heightened resourcefulness, enhanced dedication and leadership skills — all concrete ways of living their calls.”
Sullivan asks that Province members keep the FVM in their prayers as it prepares for next year’s volunteers. “If you have anyone in mind who would be a great match with FVM, spread the word,” she said.
In the meantime, Smith is preparing for increased blogs and maybe some video. Sullivan is preparing for the annual retreat that the FVMs will take in March.
For information about the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, contact Smith firstname.lastname@example.org or Sullivan email@example.com.