Often when folks think of a “year of service”, the train of thought tends to highlight direct service opportunities, or work that is seen as community service: after-school tutoring, serving in a soup kitchen, building a house, cleaning up a stream, etc. However, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll build a house during your year with LVC. Like many service year programs, LVC provides a mixture of both direct and indirect service positions – our direct service positions leaning towards relationship building & case management, and indirect service positions typically following a capacity building role: communications work, development work, policy building & advocacy work, etc. Sometimes, a position with LVC encompasses both types of service!
Emily Geno is a Volunteer serving this year in Wilmington, DE at Ministry of Caring (MOC). Ministry of Caring is a non-profit serving the homeless and low income in Wilmington, and is a long time LVC Placement. Emily’s position this year is as a Communications Assistant, which means using social media, marketing, website management, and intra-organizational newsletters to share the heart of MOC and their work (You can find some of her awesome work here!)
Emily’s position is unique, because MOC asks for her to experience both indirect and direct service. Emily shared that the organization asks her to spend one day per week in a position of direct service: “On Tuesdays I work at one of the nonprofit’s three child care centers as a helper in the one-year-olds classroom. There I’ve learned to listen more than I speak, because there are so many valuable stories around me. At my indirect service position, I’ve learned about homelessness, national movements, and the nonprofit world from my involvement running social media and helping with fundraisers. Wilmington is full of people and organizations that want to help people facing homelessness and poverty. That gives me hope.”
When asked about where she has found joy this year, Emily pointed to the community she has found in the Wilmington Koinonia House: “Intentional community is an amazing concept. Our house has been consciously growing in love and respect for each other and they’ve become my Wilmington family in such a short amount of time… [we are] committed to working together and loving each other despite our differences. Our varying backgrounds and perspectives make us stronger as a house unit! I’ve learned to think critically about my worldview: why do I do, say, or think the things I do? What can I do better to be a loving and aware person in this world? My housemates challenge me to think about these things and it’s been so beneficial.”
A part of a Volunteer’s year is challenging oneself to live in a way you haven’t before. Most often, this challenge comes in the form of intentional community – however, Emily shared that LVC’s core spiritual practice of simple & sustainable living has been one of the bigger learning curves! Emily said, “I’ve grown the most by learning about simple/sustainable living. That’s not an area I’ve always been conscious of, so it’s challenging to try and live that way now.”
Emily is originally from northern Virginia. She graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Communications and Human Resource Management. She likes hiking, going on drives, watching movies, and dreams of driving cross country one day. She loves putting Sriracha on everything she eats. Emily is passionate about confronting white supremacy and classism, and advocating for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.