Program Days

Virtual learning about social justice

On September 4, 2020 we kicked off the new version of Program Days, the first Friday of each month for all Volunteers nationally to get together and learn more broadly about social justice topics, expanding beyond just the Placement’s mission for their service term.  Each month is expected to have an invited topic expert or practitioner, alumni panelists for commentary, and pre-work for Volunteers.  The format will include a first half of the day learning about the social justice topic (presentation and findings); and the second half of the day assessing the topic using an anti-racism lens and reimagining the possibilities; then using a faith/belief lens to consider intersections with one’s life.   Each day will also leave time at the end for Volunteer feedback or discussion on topics of their choosing.

Program Day Topics (a growing list): SEEKING ALUMNI AND PLACEMENT PRESENTERS

children, class, disabilities/abilities, equality, criminal justice, education, environment, faith, food security, guns, housing, health, inclusion, income gap, legal justice, race, seniors, substance abuse, voting. . . offer a topic!


October 2, 2020: Voting Rights

Becca Cotto

Voting rights facilitator, Becca Cotto is the Director of Racial & Social Justice for YWCA Delaware, and she led Volunteers through a discussion of voting terminology to help understand the voting rights landscape. Volunteers researched voting in their LVC cities then shared findings with fellow LVCers, including who can and can’t vote, where to vote, when to vote, and barriers to voting. LVC provided information on voting rights history and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, and election protection resources.

September 4, 2020: Food Security

Natalie Jacobson, Augsburg U., an LVC Placement
Taylor Romeo ’18-19
Greta Carlson ’17-18

To start the service year off on an important topic, Volunteers were charged with research pre-work around creating their house community’s food budget, two-week menus, grocery shopping list based on menus, and best practices for eating healthy on a budget. Each house presented their findings and shared their unique plan for supporting each other on the food front. Our guest presenter was Natalie Jacobson of Augsburg University’s Campus Kitchen (an LVC Placement), who shared food security terminology for navigating through data. Conversations were enhanced by alumni commentators Greta Carlson ’17-18, and Taylor Romeo ’18-19, who shared personal experiences and tips from their LVC service years.


December 4, 2019: Bystander Intervention, facilitated by Lauren Taylor of Defend Yourself

Lauren (she/they) has been studying and teaching empowerment self-defense since 1985. She’s taught about 30,000 people of all ages, genders, and walks of life. She specializes in classes for women, for people with disabilities, for LGBTQ+/nonbinary people, and for survivors of abuse and assault. Lauren also writes extensively on interpersonal violence. Lauren has presented at many national conferences, including:
Creating Change (The National LGBTQ Task Force); National Conference of College Women Leaders (American Association of University Women); National Sexual Assault Conference; and National Center for Victims of Crime’s national training institute. Lauren earned a black belt in tae kwon do in 1995 and was certified as a self-defense instructor by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation in 2000. Lauren’s self-defense expertise is bolstered by her experience in related fields: as a counselor at a women’s health clinic; a founder of My Sister’s Place (DC’s first shelter for abused women and their children); the education coordinator of the Women’s Legal Defense Fund; and as one of the organizers of the 1978 March to Stop Violence Against Women (DC’s first Take Back the Night March).

November 6, 2019: Community Organizing, facilitated by Daniel del Pielago of Empower DC.

Daniel del Pielago  was born in Peru and immigrated to the DC metro area in 1980.  For the past 15 years he has been organizing with communities of color here in the District around the issues of preserving and improving affordable housing and traditional public education.  In his role as Organizing Director, Daniel hopes to support staff organizers in pushing their campaigns and the organization forward as a whole.  Daniel, is also a husband, father of two and lover of music of all types, he has collected music in the vinyl format for over 20 years.