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Increased Spirituality and Social Awareness Top Effects of Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Says Recent Study

Contact: Suzanne Geaney, 410-752-4686, 888-831-4686

MEDIA ADVISORY, October 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- With Americans living longer, what was once deemed the "Golden Years" has evolved into just another stage in life. For many Americans this is their time when they get to choose how they spend their time. More and more of them are choosing to volunteer. In fact, the rate of volunteering among Americans 65+ is 64 percent higher today than it was in 1974.

That's a good thing for Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), a national service organization for retired men and women that recently commissioned a study to look at how their program impacts volunteers. Headquartered in Baltimore with 12 regional offices, IVC wanted to examine how well they are meeting their mission and goals by measuring the effect that the program has on their volunteers.

"The Impact of Service on Spirituality: A Survey of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps," conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, consisted of three surveys mailed to IVC volunteers, their spouses and IVC reflectors who offer one-on-one spiritual companionship to volunteers. According to the study, "each group affirms the value of the IVC program in helping participants feel as though they are spending retirement in a fulfilling way, deepening their spirituality, and increasing their social awareness."

Findings include:

• 93% feel they are spending their retirement in a fulfilling way;

• 89% feel that are making a difference in peoples' lives;

• 86% are using skills that they had before joining to help others;

• 85% are learning about problems of poverty and other social problems;

• 82% recognize social injustice;

• 79% have come to know individuals on a personal basis who are economically poor or needy.

The study comes at a time when IVC is growing and re-branding with a new modern logo to reflect its relevance in today's society. "Our new logo and tagline 'Experience. Service. Reflection.' describes who we are and what we do. The CARA study clearly shows that these program components ring true for our volunteers also," says Suzanne Geaney, IVC Executive Director.

IVC has regional offices in Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia.

To receive a CARA report summary, call Tamara Zavislan at (888) 831-4686.

* Source: Volunteer Growth in America: A Review of Trends Since 1974," Corporation for National & Community Service, 2006.