STVCC Volunteer Highlight Jo Balcer
Time, Talent and Treasure
About one year ago Jo Balcer attended a St. Vincent Catholic Charities (STVCC) presentation on volunteering at her church, Immaculate Heart of Mary. She decided to volunteer welcoming refugees as they arrive in the Lansing Area. Since that time Jo has greeted numerous refugees, together with the STVCC caseworkers, and helped welcome refugees to their new home, “When they come off the plane they are very impoverished. All of their possessions are in one bag. I bring a little gift, like a basket of fruit or a flowering plant… at least they know there are people who welcome them and appreciate what they have been through.”
Jo has also gained a great deal from her experiences in welcoming refugees. "I really love being a volunteer. There are some really touching moments. I witnessed a young married couple reunited who had been separated for four years. I saw a mother who hadn’t seen her son in years and was able to rejoin her family. Just think about what they had experienced. One time, I went with staff to greet a woman and her nine year old son. They knew some English and the little boy said hello. He was darling and looked so much like the kids in our family. I gave him a bag of chocolates and licorice. His eyes just lit up. He opened that bag and chomped right into the chocolate.”
“I love the refugees and I remember to pray for them every day. Not only those who come here, but those living in camps just trying to survive. And I pray for all of the staff at St. Vincent’s who are supporting these people. I get tearful when I think about it.”
“Jesus was a refugee as a baby when Mary and Joseph had to flee to protect him. I try to see Jesus in each refugee. This is not hard work and these people have the rest of their life to figure out this new complex system. If each of us could just greet them and let them know they and their experiences are valued. If you like doing that, be a volunteer for STVCC Refugee Services.”
Thank you Jo Balcer for your compassion and love for others and for your faith and fellowship.
We are fortunate to have you as part of our family.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering with St. Vincent Catholic Charities visit our Volunteer Page.