Ignatian Volunteer Corps Members: Serving Behind the Scenes
Corps Connections

April 2020

"Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone.” - Pope Francis.

Schools closed. Businesses large and small shut down. People “sheltering in place.” But what about those who have no shelter? What about the non-profits and local community service sites who are seeing the need for their services skyrocket?

IVC Service Corps Members (SCMs) across the country are using their creativity to assist our service partners during this crisis. The IVC Home Office recommends SCMs, most of whom are retirees, take a break from serving on the front lines, so many have found ways to help while maintaining social distance. Once the immediate health crisis subsides, the demand for community services will be even more overwhelming and our partner sites need to be prepared. Over the next several weeks, we'll be sharing some good news stories of those working behind the scenes, preparing for the future, bringing hope to the communities they serve.
April 1, 2020:  Christ the King College Prep, Chicago, IL

Like all schools in the US, Christ the King (CTK) College Prep has had to adapt to online learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the 32 Jesuit Cristo Rey schools in the US, CTK is located in inner city Chicago and serves the local population by providing innovative college preparatory education.

Two of IVC Chicago’s SCMs —Tim O’Brien and Donna Ioppolo – have quickly transitioned from being onsite with the students and staff to supporting the school as it establishes its E-learning platform.
Tim, a four-year IVC volunteer at CTK, assists students in the Work/Study Program. Cristo Rey schools offer robust corporate partnerships that allow students to work and be supervised in real-world corporate environments in addition to their daily academic schoolwork. He checked in to let us know what he’s working on now: “I am assisting staff on-line to prepare ‘best practices’ education since the students can’t be at their work sites. I will also continue my role in college counseling, working remotely with students.”
IVC Chicago Service Corps Member Donna Ioppolo, working from home to support the students and staff at Christ the King Jesuit High School.
Donna is also working from home on Work/Study assignments maintaining the database and evaluating supervisory feedback for each student. She then provides the E-learning Work/Study instructors with specific areas for student professional development. She is grateful knowing she can provide focused feedback to help the students grow. She also appreciates the opportunities for growth that her placement provides to her: “I'm learning too!  I've used Google Hangouts and Zoom for meetings this week, my first experience with these platforms.”

Both Donna and Tim are also meeting with the committee that provides a summer business training program and curriculum for incoming 8th graders to help bridge the gap to freshman year. They look forward in hope to the CTK class of 2024 beginning their journey in the fall, ready for the challenges ahead.
A Message from Mary:
In these difficult times, IVC's Service Corps Members' wisdom, maturity, and expertise are even more valued.  Running a non-profit when demand is increasing exponentially is a daunting task.  Our SCMs are trusted advisors to our partner site directors and staff, providing creative ideas, encouragement, sound financial guidance, and a shoulder to lean on when things get tough.

Your contribution to IVC provides support to our regional offices (most of which are staffed by one person) assist the SCMs in sharing their many gifts by supporting them spiritually and practically as they continue to serve.  On behalf of our wonderful Corps Members, our partner sites throughout the country, and the thousands of people they serve, thank you!  Please keep us in your prayers.

Mary McGinnity,
Executive Director
Ignatian Volunteer Corps
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