Meet Carol Armstrong, IVC Volunteer

Updated: Oct 18, 2018

We're always on the lookout for great stories that illustrate the reason people take on meaningful roles after leaving their careers. Here's one written by Carol Armstrong, second from left in photo (with co-workers at Father Bill's & MainSpring in Brockton), a member of Ignatian Volunteer Corps...

"IVC has had a profound impact on my life. I joined 6 years ago after retiring from a 52-year career in nursing, most of those years in the Emergency Department. I felt a huge void after retiring, a need to continue to do meaningful work.

"I chose Father Bill's & MainSpring in Brockton.This organization was founded by Father Bill McCarthy three decades ago, after he had consistently invited the homeless to sleep in the church basement. The organization now includes safe emergency shelters in Brockton and Quincy, where approximately 250 men and women are invited to sleep and enjoy hot meals. They also have 367 housing units for families and veterans. Their Mantra: "Nobody should be homeless."

"My hours at Father Bill's have profoundly affected me. I have assisted in the intake and welcoming of the homeless men and women as they arrive at the shelter. I realize that simple gestures, a smile, eye contact and reassurance are sometimes the only respect and compassion shown to them that day.

"I also volunteer at their Distribution Center, which supplies all the shelters and housing units. Shelter guests, accompanied by their social worker, are also invited to choose clothing and toiletries from the Center.

"These 6 years have broadened my capacity for understanding others, especially the profound effect of untreated psychiatric illness. I realize how difficult it is to carry all your belongings through the streets each day (often wet from rain), unwelcome in many businesses, and unable to find an available restroom. I cherish the fact that I have a space of my own, that I don't have to sleep in a room with 90 guests, as the men do in Brockton.

"The men and women of IVC are all involved in similar positions. They are definitely men and women for others! We have meetings each month in different locations, where we share our experiences, pray together, and just enjoy the camaraderie. We also visit our Reflector, again each month, as he or she is a personal companion to listen and encourage. I feel blessed to be a small part of this organization."

Congratulations to IVC for being named a top-rated nonprofit by GreatNonProfits for the 6th year in a row!


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