FrancisCorps | Syracuse, NY

The Cheesy Truth -Anne and Roger Robertson

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

Our initial feeling was one of thankfulness for our son wanting to give back (may sound cheesy but it is the truth). I did have some anxiety regarding where he would be and his well being and safety.


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

Tom had experience with world travel and had more travel savvy than us. He had ‘confidence’ (my word would be naivety) of safety.

With the prospects of Tom volunteering outside the USA, my anxiety grew. Will he be safe? How will he pay for expenses? Will he have health coverage? Will he remain healthy? Will communication with him be possible? All these worries are really about foreign travel and not about volunteering.


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

Initially, the systematic and very organized communication and information from Brother Jim allayed worries. His very ready availability allayed worries. His ‘seasonedness’ allayed worries. The rest of my worries of Tom’s well being disappeared as I watched and heard him thrive.  Tom was peaceful, content, invigorated and dedicated.


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

He returned with a deep connection with the other 4 volunteers he lived with as well as Bro Jim. Tom valued the Costa Rican people, their lifestyle, and particularly the clinic he worked in both with staff and children. He connected with Friar Jorge.

His spirituality seemed deeper and freer…his activities of daily living expectations simpler …his Spanish better…his interest in service work renewed…and better ready to start post college life than he was a year earlier.


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

ABSOLUTELY recommend year of service for all young adults. Giving to others provides so many gifts; selflessness, introspection, maturity, resourcefulness, simplicity in living, companionship/friendship in a new dimension, self reliance and an experience that last a lifetime as it happens when their lives are the least complicated.

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