Five recent Gustavus Adolphus College graduates are among the 138 volunteers that recently began their year of service in 14 different cities across the country through Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC). Benjamin Batz ’12, Elizabeth Logas ’13, and Ben Whalen ’13 are all serving in Minneapolis, while Brin Bailey ’13 is serving in Seattle, Wash.
LVC is a national service-leadership program that unites people to work for peace with justice. Volunteers live together in intentional community, practice simple and sustainable living, and work full-time with social justice organizations. LVC is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and supports all volunteers as they consider and explore the spiritual aspects of justice, community, and sustainability.
“During my four years at Gustavus, I was given the opportunity to explore a variety of academic offerings that focused on issues of social justice,” Bailey said. “These academic opportunities allowed me to develop a better understanding of the numerous systems of oppression that lead to the marginalization of at risk groups. In addition, I was able to foster a passion for service through my involvement in a myriad of volunteer opportunities and experiences throughout my time at Gustavus. Through my position with LVC, I hope to continue to chip away at forces of oppression and in some small way, improve the lives of marginalized and forgotten groups of people.”
As the Community Resources Advocate for Compass Housing Alliance’s HomeStep Family Program, Bailey is responsible for establishing and fostering relationships with social service agencies in the Seattle area. After establishing those relationships, she will work in partnership with each agency to obtain monetary donations for educational scholarships, explore avenues for different forms of advocacy, and share the HomeStep story.
“I then meet with all of the HomeStep families to inform them of the different services they have the opportunity to utilize,” Bailey said. “Additionally, I am involved in an ongoing research opportunity to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the services available to at-risk families and furthermore, analyze the ways in which individuals of varying demographics will utilize these services differently.”
Whalen’s position in Minneapolis is similarly focused on families in need. His position is with the Family Services department of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
“I help families begin the process of applying for our home ownership program and process their applications once they are turned in,” Whalen said.
Whalen says he chose to serve through LVC because of its focus on intentional community and its faith connection. A music and religion double major at Gustavus, Whalen wrote his senior religion thesis on urban ministry and the impact faith groups have on urban neighborhoods, focusing specifically on an intentional community called The Simple Way.
“I’m really excited to learn more about living in community while walking alongside people as they face the struggles of urban living,” Whalen said.
Batz is working as the Program Coordinator of Kaleidoscope Place, which provides after school and summer programming for children in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood. Burnett is working as a Volunteer Services Assistant for Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that cooks and delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutritional needs of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, MS, ALS, breast cancer, and more than 60 other diseases. Logas is working as a Program Assistant for the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO) and the Midtown Farmers Market. The CNO is centered in South Minneapolis and is a non-partisan information source, spokesperson, and advocate for the community on civic affairs, and strives to engage community members on issues that may have a positive or negative impact on the community.
Gusties interested in serving with LVC in the future can learn more at lutheranvolunteercorps.org or by contacting Joanne Otte, Admissions and Alumni Relations Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas