Archbishop Dolan hosted a reception at his residence for Fidesco, an international non-governmental organization that provides volunteers around the world, in recognition of the success of the group’s first branch in the United States.
Fidesco is a Catholic charitable agency that sends professional volunteers to serve the underprivileged for one to two years. It was founded in 1981 and has 11 branches around the world; the U.S. branch opened in 2009.
Volunteers can be individuals, married couples and even families, and serve in the fields of healthcare, business management, agriculture, education, social work, information technology, finance, engineering, law, architecture, construction and more.
The June 23 reception celebrated “Fidesco USA’s sustained wave of American volunteers,” said David Lejeune, executive director of Fidesco USA.
“Fidesco USA’s core mission is to recruit, train and send teams of American professional volunteers to underserved areas of the world for one- and two-year missions,” he added.
He noted that the U.S. branch is considering expanding its reach, possibly launching development projects within the continental United States, as well as taking a leadership role in managing development projects in Latin America and Haiti.
At the gathering at the Archbishop’s Residence, Lejeune announced that four American volunteers will be sent on missions beginning in September. Those volunteers will be serving in Chikowa, Tanzania; Tempo Tendo, the Philippines; and Bogota, Colombia.
“Fidesco USA is becoming a major actor in sending English-speaking and Spanish-speaking American volunteers to Fidesco missions,” Lejeune said.
Guests watched a video about Fidesco’s work and heard first-hand remarks from a volunteer. Among those attending was Frédéric de Narp, president and chief executive officer of Harry Winston Inc., who serves on the Fidesco board.
Recruitment is done largely through word of mouth and in partnership with Catholic universities and ministries in dioceses and parishes. Volunteers also are recruited through the Catholic Volunteer service network.
“There is both a strong Catholic base and a persistent desire to serve in America, two components that are fundamental to Fidesco’s success,” said Lejeune, who noted that volunteers are Catholic or “committed to a life of Catholic spiritual discipline.”
Fidesco volunteers serve in dispensaries, refugee camps, youth centers, orphanages, schools and in other projects.
“Poverty and suffering are unfortunate facts of human existence, but with greater funding and participation in global relief, the effects of that suffering can be alleviated,” he said.
Information or to volunteer: www.fidescousa.org.