Twenty-three years ago, Lovella Virlan "Love" Dorero, a fresh graduate of BS Psychology at Ateneo de Naga University, was at the crossroads, asking herself where she wished to be. “I wanted to help, but what about my family?” was among her questions.
Now, she is a program officer for the Volunteer Service of the Jesuit Volunteer Philippines Foundation, Inc. (JVPFI).
The JVPFI recruits, trains, and sends volunteers under the Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines (JVP) for a year of service to marginalized communities and areas with the greatest need.
Starting with nine young Jesuit volunteers in 1980 who served the peripheries of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, more than a thousand JVPs have been produced and sent to the poorest communities in the country, said Dorero.
The volunteers are mostly fresh college graduates from Ateneo’s schools, instilling in them the idea of “men and women for others."
They live out the core values of “service that builds, social justice that empowers, spirituality that loves, simplicity that frees, and solidarity that unites."
The JVP serves under-resourced schools as teachers, guidance counselors, and campus ministers; assists schools in fundraising and resourcing needs; and designs and improves academic, guidance, and formation programs in schools.
It organizes farmer and fisherfolk cooperatives, manages literacy centers for Indigenous Peoples (IP) education, serves in IP communities as teachers, formators, community organizers, and fundraisers, and organizes and funds disaster and displacement rebuilding efforts.
Like the other volunteers, Dorero, during her service year, received an allowance of just enough for her needs.
“But the experience gave me direction and fulfillment, more than any material reward. As we all helped in varied ways, we found ourselves and it has made us who we are now, our better version, living out the ideals of service,” she said.
To qualify for the program, one should be single, under 35 years of age, a college graduate or a graduating student, physically fit and emotionally balanced, willing to serve and share knowledge and skills in a community for at least a year, determined to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and sincere in the desire to serve where there is a need.
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