For our Week of Giving, former Jesuit Volunteers Rina (Portland, OR ’99-00) and Brian McNamara (Seattle, WA ’99-00) share their story and why they choose to give to JVC Northwest.
Brian and I first met in chemistry class as students at Holy Cross and we later got to know each other better through our mutual involvement on the cross-country team. We had been dating for a year when it was time to start figuring out what we would do after college, and we felt it was right for both of us to apply to JVC Northwest. When we happened to be placed in the same house, we decided it would be best to share with the staff that we were dating, and we figured we would likely get more out of the experience if we lived in different communities anyway. We were then assigned separate houses: Brian would serve in Seattle and I was placed in Portland.
When our service years began, we both embraced our service positions and communities wholeheartedly, which helped make for positive experiences despite the inevitable challenges that would present themselves. Brian served with Catholic Housing Services – Western Washington at the Wintonia, which provides low-income housing for formerly houseless people dealing with chronic alcoholism, and I served at Abby’s House, a domestic violence shelter. I still have vivid memories of my conversations with a lot of the women who stayed in the shelter, and the experience pushed me to do things I’d never done before, like when I led one of the in-house support groups. Both of our experiences were challenging, rewarding, and provided much learning.
My hope for the future is that JVC Northwest continues to attract generations of young people who are passionate about creating change in our communities and experiencing personal and spiritual growth. Becoming a Jesuit Volunteer is a terrific opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to really important issues.
Rina and Brian hiking at Multnomah falls as JVs.
Brian and I choose to give to JVC Northwest because they do great work. We’ve lived it. I appreciate the ways organizations rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition and Ignatian spirituality like JVC Northwest influence the ways I live my life and challenge me to look inward. For anyone considering making a gift to JVC Northwest, know that your gift will not only allow other Jesuit Volunteers to have a transformative experience such as Brian and I had, but a gift will also support organizations and communities working to advance justice throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Our goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of our Week of Giving to support the ongoing service and formation of our Jesuit Volunteers and JV EnCorps members. Today through Friday, all gifts up to $10,000 will be matched, which means your gift will have double the impact!