Published in U.S. Catholic, July 2007
Former full-time volunteers confess that their experiences change them for good.
“This feels like a homecoming,” Beth Knobbe told a retreat group of both new and familiar faces-30 of her fellow alumni from Amate House, a Catholic lay volunteer program in Chicago. Knobbe actually lived with just a few of the retreatants when they were part of the program. Most of the alumni on the retreat were more recent Amate graduates, including eight who had just completed their service year in 2006, 10 years after Knobbe had finished hers. Still, Knobbe immediately felt connected to these young adults, who knew what the full-time volunteer experience was all about.
“All of us can admit that an experience like Amate changes us,” Knobbe said. “We use that wonderful phrase ‘ruined for life,’ which is to say, ‘you will never be the same.'” …