Over the past 30 years, LVs and Brothers have navigated many seasons of change in both ministry and community. As ministries and communities have evolved, both the Brothers and the LVs with whom they live and serve have responded with creativity and resilience to maintain their shared commitment to the mission. If the traditional community model of LVs joining an existing community of Brothers active in ministry was not available, we worked together to create an alternative to ensure that the Lasallian ministry requesting LVs would have their needs met. However, our experience over the past decade has made clear that adaptations to community life that were once considered alternatives are progressively becoming the norm.
As changes to community life have accelerated, the needs of the Lasallian ministries at which LVs serve have remained constant. Year after year, these ministry sites continue to request LVs, illustrating their desire to have LVs play an active role in ministry. All told, in any given year, LVs provide over 45,000 hours of direct service to over 1,000 students and clients. Lasallian Volunteers in ministry bring with them zeal for the Lasallian mission, a desire to be formed by veteran teachers and to grow in their faith.
The pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives and our tried-and-true approaches have not always worked. Because the demand for LVs to serve in Lasallian ministries remains steady (and may be poised to grow) while the traditional model for community life is fading away, Lasallian Volunteers is at a crossroads. A revised model of community life is needed to ensure that Lasallian ministries requesting LVs can still benefit from the zeal and energy that LVs provide. In short, the future of Lasallian Volunteers depends on the creation of and investment in a new model of community life.
In this light, the Regional Conference of Christian Brothers and Lasallian Volunteers have begun an external review process to be managed by Plante Moran to identify and articulate the next adaptive move(s) to ensure program stability and sustainability. The aim is that this process will ensure a shared understanding of the roles each person and group plays in Lasallian Volunteers, beginning with preparations for the 2022-2023 service year and into the future.
The project will be staffed by Erin George, Jerry Gumbleton and Sister Mary Pellegrino, CSJ. All three are members of the firm’s Religious Institutes Services Group. They have worked together on a variety of projects for religious institutes and nonprofit organizations. Erin and Jerry have extensive experience working with the Christian Brothers on a variety of projects and are familiar with the organizational relationships that exist within the Lasallian Region of North America and Christian Brothers Conference (CBC). Their project experience includes mission, strategic and organizational planning; demographic and financial planning; organizational and operations reviews; and programs and support for member well-being.
Last week, the LV staff, director of development and director of administration at CBC met with Jerry and Erin at the CBC office in Washington, D.C., to officially begin the process. Interviews with stakeholders from across the Region will occur in the coming weeks to help inform the outcomes of the process.
We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the review and strategic planning process for the future of Lasallian Volunteers with you. Thank you for your prayers and support as we navigate and put into process the next phase of a program that has formed “forever Lasallians.”