In the spirit of St. Vincent DePaul, the mission of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV) is to invite young adults into a process of transformation through companionship with those who are poor and marginalized. This mission is accomplished by four components:
1. Direct service and advocacy with those who are poor
2. Intentional community life
3. Discussion and Reflection on issues of social justice, the preferential option for the poor and theological reflection on the volunteer's work experience.
4. Spirituality and Prayer
Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV) is currently in its 25th year of fulfilling its mission in the spirit of St. Vincent DePaul, to invite young adults into a process of transformation through companionship with those who are poor and marginalized. . CVV was envisioned and established in 1994 by Denver natives and longtime youth ministers, Bill and Mary Frances Jaster. In consultation with others from the community, they saw the need for structured opportunities that would enable young adults to concretely serve those living in poverty and to reflect on those experiences in light of their faith and personal development. Directors of nonprofit agencies serving the most needy of the local community suggested a contract arrangement with CVV wherein the volunteers would be offered a full-time place of service, training and supervision, and CVV would provide low-cost and qualified staffing for those nonprofit agencies.
This program year, 2019-2020, CVV is in its nineth year of expansion. In 2010, the Board of Directors and Staff decided on an expansion of service by having 20 volunteers. This is up from 13. Many non-profits and agencies that respond to people who are poor and those who are under-served, called upon CVV to consider increasing the number of volunteers. CVV has responded to this need and challenge.
This program year (2519-2020) the board will continue to implement the Strategic Planning process from last year. This includes the transition of our founding directors and hiring a new director. Along with this exciting transition, CVV will be celebrating its 25th program year with several special events in September, 2019.
Friends of CVV,
The Colorado Vincentian Volunteers provides the opportunity for young men and woman to give a year in mission/service to support the poor in our Denver metro community. This year, our volunteers will serve 18 agencies that provide essential support services to those in need. These dedicated volunteers from throughout the United States donate valuable expertise to non-profit agencies, while learning skills they take with them beyond their volunteer year. During CVV's 24 completed years of service, 353 volunteers have served more than 62 agencies. Of those, 150 have stayed in Denver for at least one year after their volunteer year, 111 have worked or are still working at the site they volunteered in or at a similar site. They strengthen our community with their skills, energy and dedication to service.
Your donation and support is invaluable to our organization and provides a unique opportunity to leverage your contribution to help not only the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, but also the agencies we are serving this year. Thank you for your consideration.
Kara Schmitt, Board President
Colorado Vincentian Volunteers
"I am realizing more and more how impactful my year of CVV was. Thank you, thank you a million times over. CVV changed my life in countless ways….CVV taught me how to think critically about what's happening in our world…I really miss the focus on simplicity and serving, on intentionally seeking Christ in others…I learned how to live in intentional community. I miss it terribly. It was not always easy, but it was always rewarding…CVV instilled in me a desire to be with those who are oppressed, abandoned, suffering, and I hope I can do something good as a social worker!... I want to continue meeting people where they're at and showing compassion. Maybe I can't always solve their problems but walking the journey with them might lessen a burden. Our trip to the border and CAD days, our R&D activities, along with my service at Urban Peak convinced me of this." Jenne, CVV '14-'15
I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for the experience you allowed me last year. There really isn't a day that passes without me thinking about the wonderful, and God-given experiences of community, Stout Street, Men's night, Monday festivities (reflections, Mass & dinner), Benedict park softball games, etc.
While the past six months have been so life-giving, I find myself yearning for the sense of peace I felt as a part of CVV. Nothing has really compared to the feeling of coming home after a work day to eight community members who want to laugh, cry, pray, and cook with you. Nothing has really compared to the sense of the unknown I was able to experience every day while opening the doors of the clinic to 40 cold, hungry strangers, forcing me to completely release myself to God. It's funny to me actually, how many lessons I've learned from CVV right here in Omaha. In the rat race that's been med school, much of those lessons have really helped me to sift through what's important and for "the greater good" rather than what's meaningless, self-serving, and only perpetuating anxiety.
I read a quote recently from Brendan Busse, SJ, that I think explains what I'm taking away from CVV right now in my life:
When I'm free enough to give everything away, to let go of the fear of scarcity, when I'm free enough to want for nothing, then, as the psalmist says, God will be my shepherd and there will be nothing I shall want. Moreover, when we all want for nothing there will be no one left wanting. When we accept the surplus instead of wasting it then we'll have discovered the beautiful truth of life in abundance.
I think my time in Denver was the closest I've come to accepting the surplus; and I truly love and thank you for that. Joel, '12-'13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE FOR CVV'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY
DENVER-"The time I spent with Colorado Vincentian Volunteers was incredible and helps all young people to know Christ in each other and in those whom they serve." John, CVV alum
Twenty-five years serving the underserved in the Denver community adds up to a lot of amazing numbers for the nonprofit Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, headquartered in a Capitol Hill duplex donated to the group anonymously decades ago.
More than 60 nonprofits have benefitted from the work of Vincentian Volunteers, including Stout Street Clinic, The Gathering Place, Samaritan House, St. Francis Center, Laradon Hall, Annunciation School, Brothers Redevelopment and Mount St. Vincent Home, and more.
If God had a calculator, surely it would need a full charge after computing the full range of good things that have happened to communities served by the Vincentian Volunteers.
Since 1994, more than 370 young people from 40 states and three foreign countries, most of them recent college graduates, have seen their lives transformed through their work as Colorado Vincentian Volunteers helping people experiencing homelessness, the medically indigent, adults and children with intellectual disabilities, refugees and homeless youth - to name a few.
The work of these volunteers adds up to about 37,000 hours a year helping Denver-area groups. Multiply that amazing number by 25 years and the total is more than 13 million hours, which translates into more than $6 million saved in salaries and other expenses.
"Our agency has been a CVV placement site for many years and it's not because we get a 40-hour-a-week volunteer who saves our budget," said Justine Zollo, formerly of The Gathering Place. The Capitol Hill nonprofit is the only Denver-area drop-in center that serves women and their children who need a safe, supportive place to go during the day. "We welcome and value our CVV volunteers because they change our community. Our community is deeper and better because they are a part of it," said Zollo.
Vincentian volunteers are working this year in 18 Denver-area nonprofits. The volunteers, who are paid a small monthly stipend during their year, live together in one of two Capitol Hill homes operated by CVV. Community life sustains these volunteers as they grow in their understanding of the community of Denver while they serve some of the most marginalized people in our city.
"This community of people is food for me on my life journey. I learned a new way to walk, talk and show my love. The skills I learned and continue to learn from this group center on discovering who I am and how I want to live my life." Mike
"CVV changed my life in ways I can't describe. Every year removed, I still see glimpses of what I experienced and learned (from you). I would never have pursued my MSW if it wasn't for CVV." Joelle
CONTACT: Bill & Mary Frances Jaster, co-directors, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers,