Alumni volunteer through BVS

by Tanessa Dillard
Sports Editor

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) selected three 1995 graduates from La Verne, Amber Allen, Lisa Jantzen and Jeff Leard, to participate in its volunteer program. They are currently on assignment in Washington, D.C. and Illinois, respectively.

Allen, who majored in journalism, is working at the Capital Area Community Food Bank in Washington, D.C., which provides nutritious foods and resources to non-profit agencies. Her duty as agency liaison is to communicate with the member agencies.

Jantzen, who was a diversified major emphasizing in art, is on assignment at the Metropolitan Tenants Organization in Chicago, Ill., which educates tenants on housing.

Leard, who double-majored in journalism and psychology, works at the Church of the Brethren Office of Interpretation in Elgin, Ill. He will write and produce photography for Messenger, the Church of the Brethren magazine, and other church publications. Much of his writing includes interpreting church programs into publications.

The alumni attended a three-week orientation in Oakbrook, Ill., with 17 other volunteers before they began their assignments last month. They studied issues ranging from the death penalty to homelessness.

“It forms a support community,” said Troy Reimer, assistant to the coordinator of orientation and second year volunteer. “It makes them aware of social justice issues, which a lot of BVS projects are.”

Volunteers are asked to work 40 hours a week. They are provided with room, board and a monthly stipend of $45.

“It’s not a lot of money, and that’s hard to get used to,” said Leard, who is learning to be frugal with his pay. “I’m enjoying it. The lifestyle is nice.”

Even though he works eight hours a day, he does not have to worry about doing any school work when he gets home. “Actually, it’s kind of relaxing, but productive.”

Leard decided to become a volunteer because he was not sure what he wanted to do after graduation. He thought serving as a volunteer would help provide him with a foothold in the photojournalism field.

“It’s kind of nice being able to give your time,” said Leard. “I’m at a place in my life where I can give my time and experience in another part of the country.”

After his year of volunteer service is completed, he is uncertain of where he will go.

“I’m planning to go back to California and find a job in photography,” Leard said. “I may go into another year of service.”

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