Catholic Franciscan Volunteer Service Experience for Post-Graduate Young Adults| Costa Rica & New York

It’s win/win – Jeff and Cindy Buckner

What were your initial feelings when your son/daughter mentioned they were thinking about doing a year of volunteering?

Volunteering was never an issue.  My first thought truly was the deferment of her student loans might be an issue depending on the ‘type’ of volunteering that was involved.  Assistance in obtaining deferment options might be beneficial to some prospective volunteers and their parents where this is an issue.   Since she had already been to CR, we felt good that going there again was a possibility. A year did seem like a long time to be away, though.

What worries, concerns or reservations, if any, did you have with your child’s decision about volunteering?

Volunteering is encouraged in our family; nothing better for the young, enthusiastic soul.  We had normal concerns about the program, like safety, what she would be doing, how well she would be taken care of.  Some reservations of ours were the potential crime of the destination location and how far away she would be just in case something happened to her, but we also know that we could never hold her back from what she had always wanted to do in her heart, so we just had to let that go and have faith! As a father of four daughters I would want guys to be around 24/7 to protect if needed.  After we looked into FC, it seemed perfect for her. The fact that it is faith-based and sponsored by the Franciscans was huge for us.

How did your feelings change over the course of your son’s/daughter’s year of service?

We was satisfied with the proposed living conditions and the quality of colleagues departing with our daughter prior to her even heading for Syracuse.  We were committed and comfortable before she left. Any reservations we had pretty much disappeared after we brought her to Syracuse and met the director and all the FC12 volunteers. I could tell it was an exceptional group of young adults.  I liked how the program started with the 2 week “bonding”! I also loved the way our daughter’s groups kept it so faith based, with the evening prayer time especially.  I know how important that was to the community interaction, and kept the importance of why they were there in the first place.

What kind of impact do you think a year of service had on your son/daughter?

Volunteering is key to getting to the young adults before the world gets to them and tells them “how” they must be successful in the ways of the world. A year of service can equip them with the ability to discern what truly counts in life. This has a lasting residual effect that they will take with them wherever they go. We know Brittany’s year of service helped deepen her faith and reinforced her already anti-materialistic ways. She has never been driven by money, and knows from being in the FrancisCorps Experience and living her faith that she will be taken care of and be ok. She loved working with all of the kids and saw so much of how different peoples’ lives and backgrounds are but they are all God’s children.

Why would you/would you not recommend a year of service to a young adult like your son/daughter?

Volunteering is inherently one of the best ways to stay detached from the material world. The Franciscans truly know how to pray. It’s a win-win. Never mind the fun, adventure, lifelong friendship and memories. We would completely recommend volunteering for anyone, but especially the year after college before everyone gets too involved in “life” and then may not have to opportunity to do so. It is a perfect time to volunteer and have a year to really figure out what they want to do, or not do, with their future. I definitely would recommend FrancisCorps to anyone!

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