Alumni describe involvement with service group

first_imgAttending an information session can change a life.Entering her senior year at Notre Dame, Victoria Ryan (‘15) knew she wanted to participate in a year of post-graduate service, but was unsure of her long-term plans. She attended the career fair and the service fair, but it was not until she chanced upon an information session about the Passionist Volunteers International (PVI) that she decided what to do immediately following graduation. Photo Courtesy of Katherine Merritt Katherine Merritt (’14), center, with two of the students she worked with through the service organization PVI for a year after her graduation. PVI offers recent graduates the opportunity to volunteer in Jamaica.“I just so happened to hear about an information session for a program that was year-long, living in community in Jamaica, and I only even went to the information session because it was at the perfect time in my schedule — it was right when I knew I’d be leaving dinner and I’d be leaving for the library,” she said.At the information session, she met Fr. Lucian Clark, the director of PVI.“I really loved talking to him and hearing everything he had to say about Jamaica and his passion for the program and the work that they were doing in Jamaica,” Ryan said. “I didn’t really stop thinking about it.”A month later, she learned she had been accepted into the program. While in Jamaica, Ryan worked at various sites, including a health clinic, a preschool and a home for orphaned boys.For Ryan, serving as a nurse’s aide at the health clinic helped her discern her career path.“Career-wise, the clinic was phenomenal,” she said. “I’m planning on attending an accelerated bachelor’s of nursing program, starting in May, so that really helped me decide what I wanted to do and really sparked my interest in global health, which I think is what I want to do long term.”According to Passionist Volunteer International’s website, the program was founded in 2003 and is currently based in Mandeville, Jamaica. Ross Boyle, assistant vocations director at PVI, visited campus Monday and Tuesday to discuss the program with Notre Dame students. Boyle said the program usually consists of a group of six to eight volunteers each year.Boyle explained PVI is run by the Passionists, a Catholic religious order with a special focus on serving the marginalized, whom they term “the crucified of today.”“Every year, we send a group of volunteers to go work for just a few weeks over 12 months,” he said. “The whole goal of the program is we work with the crucified of today. … Truthfully, the crucified of today can really be anyone. The idea of the cross, Christ crucified, is one that can kind of be anyone who bears a cross.”Before arriving in Jamaica, volunteers do not know which mission sites they will serve. However, Boyle said, this practice allows PVI to match individual volunteers with the tasks best suited to their interests and skills.“Our program really gets to know who you are and we spend three weeks with you in the country to figure out what your strengths are, to figure out what you like doing, what you hate doing [and] what areas of your life you want to grow in,” he said.Katherine Merritt (‘14), who studied science business at Notre Dame, was assigned to work in a health clinic and teach classes at an elementary school. In particular, she said she enjoyed getting to know the Jamaican people at each of her sites.“I worked in a small community clinic, so eventually we kind of started to get to know everyone,” she said. “The nurses I worked with started to become really good friends with all the patients that we were with as well. It’s just kind of different in that it’s a lot more relational and everyone is very community-based.”Ross McCauley (‘13) began support groups for HIV/AIDS patients and mothers of children with disabilities while serving with PVI. Now in medical school, McCauley said his experiences with the organization have helped him to better empathize with patients and led him to contemplate how to best serve the poor.“I think coming from a point of privilege in life, it’s hard to know how to approach some of the problems I saw, just in terms of abject poverty and things like starvation and lack of basic needs — how to approach that with sensitivity and the right motives,” he said. “It is very difficult and it is something I struggle with, even in the South Bend community I now work in.“It’s something I think we should all be aware of and think about, especially as people lucky enough to attend Notre Dame — how best to kind of inject our skills and interests in this world without being offensive or making the problems worse.”Tags: Alumni, Health care, Jamaica, Passionist Volunteers International, Post-graduate servicelast_img read more

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US Treasury says loan deal reached with seven airlines amid crisis

first_imgAs the US economy gradually reopens, airlines have struggled to convince wary passengers to return to the skies, and international routes have been drastically reduced because of various travel restrictions in effect.Beyond American and United, the other airlines that signed loan agreements with the administration of President Donald Trump are Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines and SkyWest Airlines.Delta and Southwest were – unsurprisingly – not part of the agreements, having already said they would not participate. “We are pleased to conclude loans that will support this critical industry while ensuring appropriate taxpayer compensation,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement. The United States Treasury on Tuesday announced it had reached a deal with seven major US airlines including American and United to offer them loans in a bid to stave off job cuts amid the coronavirus crisis.But the Treasury statement does not say if these agreements are going to be enough to allow those two airlines to cancel recently announced plans to proceed with job cuts.Since March, airlines have been grounding planes and delaying jet deliveries to try to limit the cash-burn as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic effectively paralyzed travel for months. Mnuchin called on Congress to extend its aid programs to support jobs across the air travel industry.The US$25 billion in loans have been granted under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress in March.Airlines had been in talks with the Treasury since July. Certain conditions will apply, such as maintaining a certain number of jobs and salary ceilings.The Treasury said the amount of the initial loans could be increased “as a result of some major airlines determining not to move forward” with the process.”The reallocation of funds will be subject to a loan concentration limit of $7.5 billion per passenger air carrier, or 30 percent of the $25 billion available for passenger air carriers,” it said.Airlines have struck agreements with unions to spread out work among employees. Tens of thousands of employees have also accepted unpaid leave or early retirement packages to avert the need for involuntary terminations. Before Tuesday’s announcement, American Airlines had said it expected to cut as many as 19,000 jobs.United Airlines on Monday reached an agreement with its pilots union to avert furloughs of 2,850 pilots, but was still on track to furlough as many as 13,000 other workers as soon as October 1, including flight attendants and airport operations staff.Topics :last_img read more

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