Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry

Post Graduate Volunteer Year

What will you do after graduation?

The Jesuit ideal is to form "men and women for and with others."  One way to live this ideal is the "volunteer service year."  Graduates spend a year doing service for and with those in need - especially with people who are economically poor or marginalized.  Volunteers commit to compassionate service, a simple lifestyle in community, spiritual growth and commitment to social justice.  Volunteers are provided room and board, health insurance, a small stipend, and usually student loan deferrals.

Where can you serve?

Canisius graduates typically have served one-year domestically anywhere from Jersey City to Alaska, from Omaha to a Native American Reservation, from Buffalo to downtown L.A.  Some have stayed on for a second year of service.  International volunteer programs often require volunteers to commit to serve for two-years internationally, in countries like Tanzania, Bolivia, Southeast Asia or Nepal.

What kind of program can you serve with?

There are usually two kinds of programs graduates join up with: faith-based or secular.  Faith-based programs like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Covenant House Faith Communities or MercyCorps are based on the cornerstone values of social justice, spirituality, community and simple lifestyle.  Volunteers live in community, eat together, pray once a week together, go on retreats and have support people within their community. 

Secular programs like AmeriCorps or PeaceCorps are based on the humanitarian ideals of making the world a better place.  These programs are more individualistic and volunteers more often than not are required to find their own places to live.

Where can I find more information about these volunteer programs?

Set up a time to speak with campus minister, Lu Firestone. Lu can tell you about various service options available. Contact Lu at 716-888-2422 or

Check out some of the most popular programs:
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
Mercy Volunteer Corps

What kinds of areas do volunteers work in?

The following is a sample listing of service opportunities:

Addiction Recovery

Elder Care

Legal Services

Adolescent Services

Emergency Shelters

Men's Programs

AIDS Ministry

Employment Services

Mental Health

Community Organizing

Food and Hunger

Prison Ministry

Domestic Abuse

Health Care

Refugee/Immigrant Aid


Housing Advocacy

Women's Programs

Another great resource to check out is the Catholic Volunteer Network which lists all of the volunteer programs offered by the Catholic Church.