Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

This past month has been challenging but also very exciting.  On Thursday, March 25th, I facilitated my first meeting for all of the volunteer managers in Catholic Charities.  I had to give a presentation/ training on volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition.  As a part of this presentation, I also had to provide detailed information about Volunteer Services’ process for recruiting and placing volunteers as well as about all of the necessary paperwork that must be completed by volunteers and by the volunteer managers themselves.

I was definitely nervous before the presentation because I knew that I would be presenting to many people who have been working for Catholic Charities for over 20 years, and I was not sure if they would be willing to listen to a relatively new person such as myself.  However, I practiced the presentation quite a few times, and I really felt surprisingly comfortable and confident once I began presenting.  There were 15 volunteer managers in attendance, and it seemed that they were actively engaged and enjoying the material.  My supervisor continues to congratulate me on the success of the presentation and often mentions it to others.  I am very excited about the outcome, and I plan to hold another meeting in August.

In addition to all of that excitement, I have recently been receiving a lot of positive feedback from our programs about the service learning students and interns that have been placed at their sites.  As a result, I have been working on catching up with many of the volunteers to present them with Catholic Charities’ t-shirts and other tokens of appreciation.  The program manager of Crescent House loves her volunteers so much that she even wrote an article about them for the Catholic Charities newsletter. I was able to go to Crescent House myself and to take pictures of our volunteers in action to include in the newsletter.  As you can see from the picture, the volunteers are currently helping with the creation of a kind of mosaic that will be displayed on the wall at Crescent House.  Copies of the newsletter and Catholic Charities t-shirts were presented to the students in front of the class. Because of the size of our organization and the large number of volunteers that we get per year, we often receive little to no feedback on the volunteer experience.  Thus, it has been really exciting and rewarding to receive all of these positive responses and to know that I played a part in recruiting and placing these volunteers.

On another positive note, my supervisor recently asked me to be the Communications Officer for Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA), which is an association of volunteer supervisors in New Orleans that meets quarterly to exchange ideas, host workshops, and plan collaborative activities.  As Communications Officer, I will be responsible for producing a quarterly newsletter, maintaining social media sites, and writing press releases.  I am very excited to be given this additional responsibility; it really helps me to feel that my supervisor trusts me and believes that I have valuable skills.  Also, I have not gotten to utilize my journalism skills in a long time, so it is great to be able to exercise those skills and refresh my memory. If anyone has any tips on putting together newsletters or on writing press releases, please, let me know!  Well, that’s all for this month.  Hopefully, next month will be just as positive! – Jackie Thornton, AmeriCorps VISTA

To learn more about Jackie’s work with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, visit their website at: http://www.ccano.org/program_projects.htm.




About Tulane VISTA

Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

One comment on “Field Report: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

  1. Dominica Garza
    April 19, 2010

    congrats on all the achievements! it sounds like things are going smoothly for you – and you are keeping busy! I always get nervous before giving presentations. People tell me, “the more you do it, the easier it gets,” but I still haven’t reached that point. Gook luck with your upcoming projects. I have plenty of experience with creating newsletters so let me know if you need any help. Also, I’m not too shabby at social media stuff either! hehe jk! Let me know if you need any help with anything! Keep up the good work!

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