(Lee Pellegrini)

VSLC reception honors Class of 2024 members bound for full-time service

Members of the Class of 2024 who have committed to full-time, post-graduate service work were honored on May 10 by Boston College’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center at a celebration on the back lawn of the Hovey House.

Some 25 graduates attended the annual VSLC  event, each of them bringing along one person—faculty, staff, or fellow student—who they felt strongly supported them during their discernment process. As a tradition, those attending the reception gather in a large circle, where the graduates-to-be talk about their upcoming volunteer experiences, and guests of the honorees contribute words of encouragement.

VSLC Associate Director Kate Daly called the event “a great opportunity for students to share their plans and to hear what other peers are up to as well.” Many of the 66 volunteer organizations listed on the VSLC’s website are represented at BC’s Post-Grad Volunteer Fair that takes place every fall at the beginning of the academic year. Still, she noted, there are usually several organizations that tend to be most popular among students, such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), Amate House, St. Joseph’s Worker Program, Red Cloud Indian School, and the Peace Corps.

One such JVC volunteer is Max Manalang ’24, whose mother worked for the same organization when she was his age. JVC’s mission is to connect with local communities to foster “the formation of young people dedicated to a faith that promotes justice.”

Coverage of VSLC reception at Hovey House before heading off to their volunteer sites over the summer.
Kate Daly talking with one of the volunteers at the reception.

Volunteer Service Learning Center Associate Director Kate Daly (second from right) talks with members of the Class of 2024 committed to post-graduate service work, at the reception held in their honor. (Lee Pellegrini)

“JVC changed my mom’s life,” said Manalang, whose placement is at Philadelphia VIP, which connects people with low incomes to pro bono legal services. “She’s still best friends with all of the people she volunteered with. She was so happy when we found out I was going to be doing the program that she reached out immediately to tell all of them.”

Manalang, who attended a Jesuit high school, said his four years at BC majoring in economics and philosophy instilled strong Jesuit values in him that inspired him to pursue full-time volunteer work: “BC has taught me how to be a man for others beyond my college years.”

Standing beside Manalang at the reception was Margaret Doheny ’24, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and theology and will work with JVC Northwest in Boise, Idaho.

“Max’s connection to JVC is much more sentimental than mine,” she said, “but the influence of service around me at BC has had a very powerful effect on me. It’s as simple as that.”

John Clark ’24 signed on with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) as a teaching fellow and this summer will begin his two-year stint as American and global history teacher at a Catholic high school in Anaheim, Calif. In addition to his family and Catholic education, he cited his participation with 4Boston and Appalachia Volunteers as formative factors during his time at BC.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of a post-grad service program, especially one committed to education, community, and spirituality,” said Clark, who majored in political science. “As someone who has had incredible teachers and mentors growing up, I hope to be that same figure for my students next year.”

In a short speech that wrapped up the celebration, Daly commended the future graduates for the “counter-cultural and unique” experience on which they are about to embark. “These are challenging and exciting times ahead of you, and know that the VSLC is here to support you well after your volunteer years.”

Established in 2003, the VSLC assists members of the University community in seeking part- or full-time volunteer opportunities on campus or in the Greater Boston area. The center’s website is rqdaaruttarbiyah.com/vslc.