The season for Thanks and Giving

It's Thanksgiving this week in the U.S. The holiday brings to mind a conference I attended recently, where people talked a lot about the connection between “thanks” and “giving.”

The conference was held by Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN) earlier this month in Cleveland, Ohio. The member organizations of CVN provide faith-based volunteer service opportunities in the U.S. and around the world. CVN supports its members in areas such as volunteer recruitment, training, and networking. Over 100 men and women attended from a wide range of member organizations.  

Their enthusiasm for faith-based service was echoed by Kerry Alys Robinson, one of the keynote speakers. Kerry is global ambassador of Leadership Roundtable and has served on the boards of many service organizations. She is a member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, established by her great-grandparents. She is also the author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and A Spiritual Call to Service.

Kerry spoke about the life-changing nature of service, sharing stories from her own life. I was taking notes on my computer, and although I’m a speedy typist, she said so many wonderful things that I had a hard time keeping up. Her words are good food for thought during this Thanksgiving week.

A main theme was generosity, which she feels is essential for a life of joy and meaning. She noted that “the role of generosity is not just material but also disposition.” It’s about sharing the gift of who we as well as sharing what we have. Kerry noted that that philanthropy—and the joy it brings—isn’t the domain only of the very wealthy: “Everyone has something of great value to give others.”  

For Kerry, service is deeply rooted in her Catholic faith. Her work at Leadership Roundtable is about strengthening the Catholic Church. Leadership Roundtable brings expertise and resources from Catholic executives to assist the Church in ongoing growth in areas of management, finances, and human resources development. She deeply believes in making opportunities available for men and women to use their full range of gifts and talents in service to the Church.

Kerry is grateful for the many opportunities she’s had to put her faith into action through service. She  applauded conference attendees for their leadership of faith-based service organizations. And she  encouraged their efforts to involve people of all ages and walks of life in service to others. Her presentation ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.

Thank you, Kerry, for your words of wisdom! And thanks to CVN members and all whose generosity makes the world a better place!

Are you looking for service opportunities? Check out the CVN website for possibilities worldwide!