Thursday, August 5, 2010

Volunteer Profile: Jourdan Clandening

This post is one in a series on CVN volunteers. We've asked volunteers questions about volunteering to give you a sense of why people choose to volunteer with CVN, and to get to know some of our AWESOME volunteers. If you'd like to be highlighted, e-mail us at

Name of Volunteer: Jourdan Clandening

Position with CVN: Communications Chair

Hometown, State and/or country: Holt, Michigan

What first drew you to CVN? When I was planning to move from Michigan to Arlington I knew I wanted to get involved. I was always a very active volunteer in Michigan, and when I found CVN I thought it was a perfect fit - it allows me to meet new people and be actively involved in the Arlington community.

Why do you think it's important to volunteer? I think it's important for people who have the time, skills, and resources to share, to do so in a positive way that improves their community. Volunteering is  the easiest way to impact the lives of your neighbors. It's important for people to continually look for ways to improve themselves, their community, and the lives of those around them. This thinking is what keeps communities growing, safe, and enjoyable to live in. Many of the most basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing), would not be available to some people if volunteers were not working daily to provide the services and time to collect and distribute these items.

How do you balance volunteering with work, etc.? I pick the events that are important to me, and I make time to fit them in my schedule. Most of CVN's events are only a few hours and are after work or on weekends, so it makes volunteering easier and more convenient.

Though a community is made up of MANY needs, what causes are you most drawn to volunteer with? (not counting politics, though we think civic engagement is HUGELY important!) I think homelessness is the cause that is most important to me. Many people look at homelessness as a choice. Too many times in my life I have heard someone say, "well it's their fault they are homeless..." This always gets me worked up! Bringing awareness to the causes of homelessness (domestic violence, job loss, mental illness, addiction), is the first step in finding solutions to a problem that affects nearly every community in America. Many communities simply try to feed and shelter their homeless population without considering ways to educate, train, and stabilize them while moving them from the street to permanent housing.

What's the name and website of an organization or non-profit you'd like others to know about, and in a sentence, what do they do (in Arlington or nationally, though again, not counting political groups)? I was recently introduced to this site: It's a "one-stop" shop for those interested in learning about how to make a difference through donating, volunteering, signing petitions, and taking grass roots action for worthy causes.

Throughout your life, what was the most memorable time you volunteered and why? I served lunch at a local shelter in Lansing, Michigan - The Lansing City Rescue Mission. When I first started serving lunch it was predominately men who came in for lunch (most consider this the "typical" face of homelessness). As the economy plummeted in 2008 and thousands in Michigan lost their homes and jobs, the shelter's lunch crowd began to fill with women and children. This broke my heart. However, it highlighted the point that many in the fight to end homelessness have been arguing for years, homelessness is not only men, it is also women, and most importantly it is children.

Why do you volunteer?


  1. cool stuff Jourdan. tried to put a comment on here a while ago, but realized it didn't work. tough to read about the homeless women and children in Lansing--i remember a year or so ago hearing that the numbers of children absent from schools b/c of homelessness was rising b/c of the recession

  2. Thanks Brendan. It's definitely hard for some people to understand that homelessness is not always a choice and is often due to the circumstances of someone's life.