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JV EnCorps Spotlight

Bend, OR JV EnCorps Lead Patty Christoper (’14-21)

A Conversation with Patty Christopher, ’14-21 JV EnCorps Community Lead, Bend, Oregon

Tell us about how you serve.

I am the board president of St. Vincent DePaul in Bend and the Bend JV EnCorps Community Lead.

During COVID, St. Vincent here in Bend never shut down, but we have changed our operations to protect our community. I volunteer in-person at the food pantry on Wednesdays. We have a Food Pantry, prescription help, help with IDs, and our low-income housing in our old fishing-cabin apartments. Then, because the city of Bend changed some of their regulations during the pandemic, we’re creating a micro-village on our St. Vincent property to include about 10 small units to give shelter to people who are houseless.

In the last few months, we have been seeing an increase in how many people are coming to us who are now experiencing homelessness, most living in tents. Because people supported us with their stimulus money, we have been able to provide motel stays, first month’s rents, propane, and utility assistance, especially now that the moratoriums on evictions and waivers are coming to an end. We also have had to modify our clothing program since people can’t come inside; we ask what they’d like and give them some options, plus we provide a voucher to a thrift store.

How many people does St. Vincent Serve?

In October, we gave out 488 food boxes and 436 sack lunches, which amounts to 19,560 meals. This month (November), it’ll be at least that much plus our Thanksgiving boxes.  We have seen a 30 percent increase in first-time clients, and an increase of about six to seven percent of our community experiencing food insecurity this year.

Tell us about the Bend JV EnCorps community, for which you’ve been the Lead since its inception in 2014.

We have 18 JV EnCorps members in Bend. At least a third of those serve with people who are experiencing homelessness, and four of us also serve with active food pantries: St. Vincent de Paul here in Bend, St. Vincent de Paul in Redmond, St. Vincent de Paul in Prineville, and The Giving Plate here in Bend. Many of our members also serve with medical and housing needs. All those places are finding ways to protect their volunteers. A few of our Bend JV EnCorps community members are also doing what they can remotely.

You do a whole lot as a volunteer; what do you find helpful about being a JV EnCorps member?

When I first retired, I tried to find the way to fit in. What I like about the JV EnCorps program is it helps with retention. For example, with COVID, being part of a volunteer organization helps with burnout and it’s a place to go to share stories of being a volunteer. When I hear those stories, I think, “I need to be giving back to my community.”

And also, the spiritual community is important. In our last meeting, we talked about that Matthew 25 passage [“I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.” – New American Bible, Matthew 25:43]. We also talked about a Richard Rohr homily. We talked about how the Bible passage is such as great reminder how serving with others is not about us being Christ to them; they are being Christ to us. We have struggled with the pandemic and Zoom, but we’ve been lucky that we have had good attendance for our first three months. We have focused on social and ecological justice by inviting in speakers to our meetings. We’ve had a speaker talk about the prison system, one from the Rural Organizing Project, and another on ecological and Indigenous justice, which is right here for us in Warm Springs. We’ve discussed how our speakers have been modern day mystics and accidental saints, in that they serve the poor, the imprisoned, and nature. We discussed the question of how does our spirit inform our actions and how do our actions inform our spiritual lives?

JV EnCorps is a natural extension of our spiritual lives because the core values [community, simple living, social and ecological justice and spirituality/reflection] are Gospel values. Our JV EnCorps community is very interfaith and ecumenical, and we attract volunteers who see Christ in all faiths, no matter their background.

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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

(She/her/hers)
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!

September

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

October

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