Sometimes God calls us to make a dramatic change in our lives such as switching career. Volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) community support projects has helped many people find a new direction in life, leading them to a new vocation.
Thousands of St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers provide friendship and support to people experiencing poverty and loneliness.
SVP volunteer Lorraine lost her job as a waitress of 16 years before being diagnosed with arthritis. Her condition meant that she could no longer stand for long periods, so needed to change careers. The SVP Blackfriars Centre in Newcastle provided a place where Lorraine could gain experience as a receptionist and administrator to help her enter a new area of work that could fit around her medical condition. Lorraine says: “Volunteering for the SVP has helped my confidence to go out and talk to other people and mix with other people. I’d been out of work for seven years and I had lost my confidence. I could have sat around and said I can’t do this, but volunteering has given me a reason to come back out and enter the work environment.”
Volunteering also helped Anthony change careers. An accountant for the NHS, Anthony decided that at age 49 he wanted to become a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESOL). He felt volunteering would be a useful way to ‘try out’ teaching before he committed to paying for a training course, but none of the organisations he approached would accept him as a volunteer without a formal qualification.
St Vincent’s in Leeds, however, was different. They invited Anthony in to have a chat and do an assessment to assess his skills in the classroom. It allowed Anthony to break into ESOL teaching, giving him hands on experience, giving him a good taster of what it would be like as a career, and equipping him well for his career change.