With more than 1,500 volunteers and only 100 staff members, volunteers help Catholic Charities serve more people in the Diocese of Arlington. Sally O’Dwyer, Director of Volunteers, shares her heart for volunteering and wants to help you get involved too!
What is your role at Catholic Charities?
I actually started out as an English as a Second Language volunteer at Catholic Charities 18 years ago. I had the time and the skills that someone else needed, and I was able to share that part of myself.
Now, as Director of Volunteers, it’s my job to facilitate that connection. I work with our programs to determine their need, and then I go into the community and find volunteers who can meet that need.
How can we connect service to our faith?
I think we’re all searching. How do we put our faith into action? How do we live out our lives as the Gospel commands it?
Here at Catholic Charities, we can make those possibilities real. We don’t have to go overseas to find a neighbor in need, they are right here in the Diocese of Arlington.
Christ always gravitated to the poor, the humble, the needy; when volunteers come to us, they serve these people.
How are volunteers changing the lives of those they are serving at Catholic Charities?
Our volunteers help us provide a richer service to our clients because they can sit down and really spend the time to listen to the needs of the client. This tells the client that I’m somebody, I’m important, I’m a child of God which is exactly what we want to communicate.
Additionally, anybody who volunteers for Catholic Charities is going to get way more back than they give. Sometimes, when I thank a volunteer, they will say, No, thank you, this is a blessing to me!
How can someone get involved?
It’s so easy! We have all kinds of people serving in all different stages of life. Just visit the Catholic Charities website, www.ccda.net, and click the volunteer button on the right side of the page.
We have all kinds of opportunities here at Catholic Charities – we want your gifts and talents to be used in the best way possible!
What are some of your volunteer opportunities?
• Help homeless men at Christ House find jobs
• Lead activities for children living at St. Margaret of Cortona Family Transformational Residence
• Serve breakfast to the elderly or lead activities at the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center
• Volunteer with Prison Ministry
• Teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Hogar Immigrant Services or Migration & Refugee Services
• Pack or unload food donations at our St. Lucy warehouse; assist clients as they pick up food at our St. Lucy pantries
• Help the unemployed or underemployed find jobs at Christians Are Networking
• Engage corporations in community partnerships
• Help as an office receptionist
• Join the Catholic Charities Ball Community
• And many, many more!
If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our volunteer website to sign up today! We have opportunities for all schedules and interests in locations across the diocese. We depend on our volunteers to help us serve the poor in the Diocese of Arlington. If you can’t volunteer, please consider making a financial donation or an in-kind gift. Visit www.ccda.net or call 703-841-3830 for more information.