Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Real Life

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Real Life

Article excerpt

The year after I graduated from college, I was an Augustinian Volunteer on the South Side of Chicago. For 10 months I worked with low-income pregnant mothers and their babies at Catholic Charities while living in community with other volunteers.

During college I was active in campus ministry. Volunteering--both on a weekly basis and through service trips--was something I was very passionate about. But even for someone who volunteered a lot, committing to an entire year of service postgraduation wasn't a cut-and-dried decision. A good friend of mine who had recently completed a year with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest gushed about how spiritually fulfilling, eye-opening, and humbling her experience had been. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but there was a voice in the back of my head (that sounded awfully similar to my dad's voice) urging me to get a job when I graduated.

In her feature story "Out of service" (pages 26-31), Heather Grennan Gary explores exactly my predicament. While interest in postgraduate service programs remains high, the number of those who actually commit to a program has declined in recent years. Many choose a job, graduate school, or religious life over full-time service. …

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