Translate »

forces that have shaped my life: featured fjv patty enrado (st. mary’s, ak ’86-87)

This month’s Featured FJV, Patty Enrado (St. Mary’s, AK ’86-87), writes about her newly published book and how the combination of writing and service has guided her life.


Village cover regular size“In September 2015, at the Filipino Community Hall in Delano, Calif., I read an excerpt from my historical novel, “A Village in the Fields”. The local chapter of the Filipino American Historical society was hosting a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, an event most people associate with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union. Few people know, however, that Filipino-American farm workers initiated the strike for fair wages and better working conditions, and made important contributions to California’s farm labor movement. It took 17 years to research and write my debut novel, to bring their story – my relatives’ story – to light by way of my elderly protagonist, Fausto Empleo, who looks back on his long and costly struggle for civil rights.

But you’d have to go back several decades to when I was a child to uncover the two

Patty (front row, third from left) and several Alaska JVs, Fall 1956
Patty (front row, third from left) and several Alaska JVs, Fall 1986

forces that shaped my life’s path – the desire to be a writer, to be empowered by the written word and to share an understanding of the world with others, and the desire to make the world a better place, to help others who are less fortunate than I. As a child, I had planned to join the Peace Corps after college, but when I didn’t get accepted, I researched myriad volunteer organizations and was drawn to JVC Northwest because of its four core values: community, simple living, social & ecological justice, and spirituality. When I was a student at the University of California at Davis, I was part of a tight-knit singing group at the local Catholic Church, so I was already comfortable with community and sharing spirituality. I was open to the idea of simple lifestyle and, of course, social justice was part of my DNA.

In my two years as a Jesuit Volunteer – first as a librarian/math tutor at St. Mary’s High School in rural Alaska and

Patty and others protesting for prisoners' rights in San Francisco, Spring, 1988
Patty and others protesting for prisoners’ rights in San Francisco, Spring, 1988

then as a newspaper editor for a prisoners’ rights union run by a Jesuit priest in San Francisco – I experienced life-changing adventures and formed life-long friendships. But it has taken all these years to fully appreciate what I have gained and how the four values apply to my life today. I have learned that being a part of a community, or various communities, enriches and keeps our humanity intact. For me, spirituality is personal and unspoken but present in every day. Simple lifestyle is decluttering the mind – whether it be letting go of material possessions or self-absorbed thoughts – to see everything and to be more mindful of life at that moment and life around me. And happily, my two passions have merged – through my writing I have the ability to bring awareness of social justice issues to a larger audience.

All of these tenets are quietly a part of my life now. I say “quietly” because they have taken on different manifestations. Through the years, my husband and I have supported public education by being involved in our children’s schools – from creating after-school enrichment programs to GATE programs in a district where more than 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches to co-chairing an academic excellence program at the high school to provide resources for all students to be college ready. Our family established the Seedling Scholarship, a need-based scholarship at our local high school that “recognizes and supports a graduating senior whose passion in life is to be a social change agent and whose goal is to make the world a better, more inclusive place for their fellow human beings and/or by being compassionate stewards of and advocates for our environment and the animals on our planet.” One of last year’s recipients was a homeless student who is now attending a California State University school.

Patty Enrado (St. Mary's, AK '86-87, San Francisco, CA '87-88))
Patty Enrado (St. Mary’s, AK ’86-87, San Francisco, CA ’87-88)

I also am invested in our community, having been a committee member of our local LUNAFEST, a traveling film festival and fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Fund and local organizations, for the last four years. Both our kids have volunteered to help with the event, and more importantly, both understand the importance of recognizing women filmmakers in an industry that is still not gender equitable, raising money for worthy organizations in our community, and raising awareness about the environmental hazards that cause breast cancer.

I don’t know if my two teenaged kids would ever consider joining the JVC Northwest, but by living by example, my husband and I have built the foundation for them to embrace simple lifestyle, community, social justice, and spirituality.”


Patty Enrado lives in the Bay Area with her husband and their two teenagers, dog, two rabbits, and two geckos. When she’s not writing or editing content about health information technology for her day job or at work on her second novel, Patty can be found gardening, reading, cheering on the Golden State Warriors and Oakland A’s, or watching depressing foreign films. Find out more about her here.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »

Upcoming Virtual Events

Get to Know JVC Northwest

Tuesday, September 28 | 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT 

Join us to learn all the basics about a year of service in the Pacific Northwest, including where you can serve, what you might do, and how to apply. Our Recruiter, Zayna, will also share her experience as a JV in both Alaska and Montana. Finally, we’ll open it up for an informal Q+A. 

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Wednesday, October 6 | 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT

How can you position yourself to be a strong candidate for JVC Northwest? We’ll share tips and tricks to help you navigate the application, interview, matching, and placement process. We’ll also leave plenty of time for Q+A.  

Zayna Abusada

JVC Northwest Recruiter

Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

Catch Zayna at an Event Near You!


9/8/2021Saint Mary’s College (IN)VirtualFall Career Fair
9/9/2021University of Notre DameVirtualFall Career Fair
9/13/2021University of DaytonIn PersonFall Career Fair
9/14/2021University of Notre DameIn PersonFall Career Fair
9/14/2021Saint Joseph’s UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/15/2021Saint Louis UniversityVirtualAll Majors Career Expo
9/16/2021University of DaytonVirtualFall Career Fair
9/17/2021Creighton UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/17/2021Georgetown UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/20/2021University of Wisconsin-MadisonIn PersonPublic Service Fair
9/21/2021Whitman CollegeVirtualCareer & Internship Fair
9/21/2021University of San FranciscoVirtualCareer Premiere: Service Careers
9/22/2021Le Moyne CollegeVirtualFall Job and Internship Fair
9/22/2021Marquette UniversityIn PersonFall Career & Internship Fair
9/23/2021University of IowaIn PersonHelping, Health, & Public Service Industry Career Fair
9/23/2021Boston CollegeVirtualFall Career & Internship Fair
9/23/2021Xavier UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/29/2021Santa Clara UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair Bash
9/29/2021Fairfield UniversityVirtualFall Career & Internship Fair
9/29/2021DePaul UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair (Day 1 Only)
9/30/2021Providence CollegeVirtualFall Career Expo
9/30/2021Saint Martin’s UniversityVirtualInternship & Service Fair


10/5/2021Pepperdine UniversityVirtualCareers with Social Impact Fair
10/6/2021Saint Mary’s College (CA)VirtualCareer & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Loyola New Orleans/UNOVirtualJoint Fall Job & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Spring Hill CollegeVirtualBadger Career Expo Day 2
10/13/2021Gonzaga UniversityIn PersonPost Grad Service Fair
10/13/2021Ohio UniversityVirtualGovernment, Nonprofit, and Service Fair
10/16/2021Ignatian Family Teach-InVirtualBreakout Session and Exhibiting
10/18/2021University of DaytonVirtualBeyond UD Fair: Post Graduate Volunteer Programs