Volunteer with Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis invites you to volunteer your time to serve people most in need in our community. We welcome people of all faiths and will work with you to find an opportunity that matches your skills and interests. We offer onsite and offsite service opportunities for individuals, families and larger groups.

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Volunteer work a valuable component of education

Tashna SilburnTashna Silburn, 26, is a Fulbright Scholar working toward earning her master’s degree in public policy from University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. Her emphasis is on economic and community development. While she’s earning a world-class education at the Humphrey Institute, Silburn said Catholic Charities also is a valuable part of her education. Her volunteer work at Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground and Opportunity Center are helping her build a foundation for the work she intends to do in her home country of Jamaica.

“I’ve seen the importance Minnesota and Minneapolis have put on homelessness and making it better. I intend to go back home and use what I’ve learned, see if we can have policies that can improve things,” Silburn said.
Silburn’s first time at Higher Ground was also her first time at a homeless shelter.  Nervous at first, the woman who hopes to change the world said Higher Ground has a family atmosphere.  She sees the case managers work with clients and show compassion as they not only provide shelter, but avenues to opportunities. “Nobody is a second class citizen at Higher Ground, “ she said. “I really appreciate that mentality. No matter where you are in life, you still deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.” She volunteers at Higher Ground three nights a week. With classes off for the summer, she also volunteers at the Opportunity Center two mornings each week. 

Silburn earned her bachelor’s degree in management studies from the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.  While she was in Jamaica, Silburn worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and fell in love with development work. The organization works to reduce poverty and inequality in an environmentally friendly way.
While homelessness and poverty are prevalent in Jamaica, there are no homeless shelters. There are only shelters for orphans and the elderly.  The homeless exist on the streets. While some organizations may go to them and bring food, shelters and soup kitchens just don’t exist. She wants to do more.

“Catholic Charities is not a public body or a government agency. It’s private. So how can I get the private sector to take on issues like this in Jamaica? That’s what I want to do,” Silburn said. “We have to put systems in place to lead the country so people become more independent and more self sufficient.”

Silburn said she intends to keep volunteering with Catholic Charities until graduation next spring. Then, she will return to Jamaica to begin her work improving the lives of others. “My dream job is to go back to the Inter-Development Bank to work as a project manager work in government planning,” she said. 
For questions or volunteer inquiries:

E-mail:   volunteer@cctwincities.org
Phone: 612-204-8435

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