English Volunteer Program Collaboration

By: JC Montenegro
Delegate for Mission Animation

On December 2, 2019, Lauren Hichaaba (Cagliero Project – Australia), Adam Rudin (Salesian Lay Missioners – USA East), and Jc Montenegro (Salesian Volunteers – USA West)gathered online to catch-up and discuss ways to accompany each other while leading the volunteer program in their respective provinces.

Several important topics were discussed during the hour-long meeting. The first conversation was about the new Salesian Volunteer Manual published in 2019.Lauren, Adam and JC are fully supportive about the revised manual and the efforts made by the Mission Animation and Youth Ministry departments to put together this useful and practical resource. The group spoke about the need to animate the document and possible ways of supporting the congregation and the animation of this important resource.

The importance of ongoing formation and accompaniment are key themes for the Salesian Mission Volunteer Service (SMVS) and were also discussed. These themes are very important for SMVS to be successful and for volunteers to have transformative life experiences. However, the conversation extended into the realm of accompaniment and formation for volunteer Directors. If programs wish to continue providing quality experiences for the volunteers and receiving communities, it is vital to keep up with the formation, new technologies, and continue to form and accompany those who are in the role of providing formation and accompaniment to the young. With this accompaniment, it would be possible to create a structure that could transform Salesian volunteer programs worldwide.

Finally, the ongoing need to network, share, discuss, and grow with each other and other SMVS programs was the final point of conversation. Even during this brief time, it was obvious that there was so much to learn from each other and that continuing to communicate will not only help to grow within the individual Director roles, but will also help to assist other Provinces that may be in earlier stages of creating and implementing volunteer programs.

This meeting was the first of many to come, to connect, and to create a network that will improve the quality of service that is provided to the society.