Young Adults

Final Winner of Youth Award Announced!

Final Winner of Youth Award Announced! 470 640 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the Country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

The committee would now like to spotlight the winners of this prestigious award. “Each and every single one of our nominees we have shared with you over the last few weeks displayed hope for the future of the Society. Youth from all over the country are doing amazing acts of charity on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member.  “Although they were all deserving of this award, two nominations stood out. The winners of this award showed how they are embodying the Vincentian charism of faith, friendship, and service in their daily lives through the works they do. The Youth Committee is proud to introduce you to the first of our two winners.”

The Youth Committee hopes the stories of each youth spotlighted over the last few weeks has encouraged and motivated you to inspire youth to get involved in your local Diocese.

Brandon Patrick Davis — San Antonio Southwest Texas Council

In the middle of the pandemic (2020), Brandon Patrick Davis, began a campaign called Find Five Friends for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. When Brandon learned about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He was moved by the story of Frédéric Ozanam and how he started SVdP with the help of his friends. In the spirit of Frédéric Ozanam, he felt called to do something. Brandon called five of his friends from different Catholic schools and asked them to join him on a Zoom call to see how they could help people in need. It was during the call that Brandon created the campaign Find Five Friends. The campaign formally launched in June of 2020. This group of Catholic freshmen began asking other Catholic youth in San Antonio to each find five friends that could give $5, 5 cans of food, and recruit 5 more friends to help the SVdP. Brandon felt that even if he and his friends couldn’t be together in person, they could use the power of social media and “going viral” to support people suffering. The campaign is still going today. It has even caught the attention of two local universities and they are planning to meet with Brandon to see if they can bring Find Five Friends to their college campuses.

Brandon’s hope is that Find Five Friends will become a national movement (with the help of the national office) and more young people will learn about the great works of SVdP in their community and in communities across the world. Brandon is now a sophomore at Antonian College Preparatory. He has become the campus spokesperson for SVdP and even presented on the works SVdP. Brandon has also shared the story of Frédéric Ozanam to ten local Catholic elementary, middle, and high schools in an effort to recruit students to serve. It is our Council’s recommendation that Brandon Patrick Davis be considered for the Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award. He not only embodies the Vincentian charisms of spirituality, friendship, and service…he is calling others his age to live out these charisms as well.

First Winner of Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award Announced

First Winner of Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award Announced 640 320 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the Country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

The committee would now like to spotlight the winners of this prestigious award. “Each and every single one of our nominees we have shared with you over the last few weeks displayed hope for the future of the Society. Youth from all over the country are doing amazing acts of charity on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member.  “Although they were all deserving of this award, two nominations stood out. The winners of this award showed how they are embodying the Vincentian charism of faith, friendship, and service in their daily lives through the works they do. The Youth Committee is proud to introduce you to the first of our two winners.”

The Youth Committee hopes the stories of each youth spotlighted over the last few weeks has encouraged and motivated you to inspire youth to get involved in your local Diocese.

Mia Humphrey – San Diego Diocesan Council

Mia Humphrey served her Conference, St. John Mini Vinnies, as the president two out of the five years the Conference has existed. I heard that the “aging Society” needs to provide opportunities for our youth, and let them stand on our shoulders to see what more can be done. With Vincentians like Mia, I see that we can provide them with spiritual guidance, and allow them to do the great things God is calling them to do.

In 2018, Mia began her service by attending the SVdP National Assembly in San Diego and she went all in from there. During this time, her father had just passed away. Mia was strong in supporting her mother and brother. Mia’s energy, positive attitude, and passion are testament to her strength. Mia is stronger than many many adults I know. In the midst of this personal struggle, she supported and nourished her Mini Vinnies to grow. Mia was responsible for her Conference’s “Yarn Hearts” project. The Mini Vinnies created hearts out of yarn to provide to adults to give out on Home Visits. Each heart came with a handwritten message of love attached.

Mia is an excellent role model and has been instrumental in bringing youth to the Conference and keeping them engaged. During the Covid months, when face-to-face meetings were limited, Mia led her Conference through these challenging times and continued to meet each first Friday on Zoom in spirituality, friendship, and service. When the Society was informed of a pregnant woman in need, Mia jumped at the opportunity to help plan a baby shower for the mother over Zoom and provide beautiful gifts for the new baby. In addition to keeping our parish’s Mini Vinnies together, Mia has welcomed the challenge of inviting other youth from nearby parishes to open similar groups.

Mia graduated high school this spring and is excited to start college in the fall, she looks to carry on her Vincentian passion at the University of Portland. She embraces all the Vincentian qualities. She is positive, generous, humble, gentle, zealous, loving, and fun. She has strong leadership skills, and happily serves anyone in need. The Vincentian charisms of spirituality, friendship, and service are an integral part of her daily life and this is why I nominated Mia Humphrey for the Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award.

Next Nominee for Youth Award Announced

Next Nominee for Youth Award Announced 2560 1280 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

“As a committee, we were blown away by the number of submissions and the incredible projects these youth were doing on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member. “Each week leading up to the National Assembly, we will be shining the spotlight on the nominees and their stories. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate our youth involvement in SVdP with excerpts directly written by those who nominated them.

This week, we would like to introduce our next nominee:

Amy Lee – Los Angeles

Amy started volunteering near the end of elementary school because her parents were already Vincentians. She began delivering food to homeless shelters. When Amy entered high school she became more engaged with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. She began to encourage her friends to join and volunteer with her, she succeeded. Amy and her friends began collecting and delivering socks, shirts, pants, and daily necessities as well as serving the homeless at meal sites. In 2019, Amy attended a Vincentian retreat to grow in spirituality with her fellow Vincentians. Her service earned her the 2019 President’s Service Award. In 2021 she attended another Vincentian retreat as well as the San Pedro district annual meeting. I know she will be a member that will continue to volunteer in the future to the best of her ability that is why I nominate Amy Lee for the Alex Garvey Excellence in Youth Award.

Another Round of Nominees Announced for Youth Award

Another Round of Nominees Announced for Youth Award 1728 864 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

“As a committee, we were blown away by the number of submissions and the incredible projects these youth were doing on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member. “Each week leading up to the National Assembly, we will be shining the spotlight on the nominees and their stories. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate our youth involvement in SVdP with excerpts directly written by those who nominated them.

This week, we would like to introduce our first two nominees:

Kaitlyn Leder – St. Peter Conference Macomb, MI

In 2015, ten-year-old Kaitlyn Leder declared she wanted to join St. Vincent de Paul at St. Peter’s Church so she could help other people. So began her seven-year journey with us. Kaitlyn became an activist among her peers to build a poverty informed community. She approached the state representative for our district and convinced him to visit our pantry to witness our outreach initiatives to reduce the isolation of our neighbors and to help them find the tools to regain their financial and social comfort levels. Now a junior in high school, Kaitlyn continues to involve other students in our activities including organizing a Christmas food drive to benefit the pantry. We are proud of Kaitlyn for who she is and how she is selfless with her time and energy to serve the less fortunate. Kaitlyn embodies one of the goals of our ministry – to see the face of Jesus in those we serve.

Scotty Leonard – San Bernardino Needles SVdP

Scotty is a Freshman in Needles High School and is currently attending Special Education classes. Scotty understands that giving his love, his talent, and his time is more important than giving money. Scotty started volunteering in October 2021 and began working about 20 hours a month. Since and including January 2022, Scotty has worked between 80 and 100 hours every month, to date. In 2021, Needles St. Vincent’s provided a Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner, to the entire community of Needles. We served over 600 meals on those two days with Scotty’s help. Young members keep St. Vincent’s young. Scotty sees with new eyes and is always looking ahead. A good leader must first learn how to follow, then he/she can lead. Scotty work experience with St. Vincent’s in the Needles, has exposed his true spirituality and respect for the poor. This has helped Scotty to grow as a leader.

Next Round of Nominees Announced for Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award

Next Round of Nominees Announced for Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award 1728 864 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

“As a committee, we were blown away by the number of submissions and the incredible projects these youth were doing on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member. “Each week leading up to the National Assembly, we will be shining the spotlight on the nominees and their stories. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate our youth involvement in SVdP with excerpts directly written by those who nominated them.

This week, we would like to introduce our first two nominees:

Aaron Wohlberg – SVdP St Charles Borromeo

Aaron has been a member of the St. Charles Borromeo St. Vincent de Paul Conference as a Mini Vinnie for two years. As a Mini Vinnie, Aaron has dedicated himself in service to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. As a Mini Vinnie Aaron has served our Conference in many ways. He has helped with the Backpack Program for two years. The Backpack Program provides weekend meals for 50 children in the Orchard

Farm School District. The Assistant Principal of Aaron’s school described Aaron as, “Willing to help wherever needed without being asked.” His Troop Leader describes him as, “Respectful and helpful to the older scouts and adult leaders.”

Kate Polakowski- SVdP St Andrew Conference of Sierra Vista, AZ

She has been involved in our St Vincent de Paul Council’s food drives, walks for the poor, Thanksgiving food basket distributions, and community food bank monthly commodities distributions. She serves the needs of the poor for 17 hours per week while completing her Associates Degree as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She puts into action in very many ways the Vincentian charisms of spirituality, friendship, and service.

First Round of Nominees Announced for Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award

First Round of Nominees Announced for Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award 2560 1280 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

“As a committee, we were blown away by the number of submissions and the incredible projects these youth were doing on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Chairperson. “Each week leading up to the National Assembly, we will be shining the spotlight on the nominees and their stories. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate our youth involvement in SVdP with excerpts directly written by those who nominated them.

This week, we would like to introduce our first two nominees:

River Vogelsang — Diocesan Council of Phoenix

River Vogelsang is currently a freshman in high school. He first joined the Mini-Vinnies in fifth grade at his middle school and served as his Conference’s president for two terms. Under his leadership, his Conference doubled in size and expanded service projects and activities. They participated in food serving, ministering to the homeless, food drives, and much more. River was the featured speaker at two Phoenix Diocesan Council board leadership retreats. Last year, River represented his District Council at the National Assembly in Houston. His dedication and commitment to serving the poor has touched the hearts of many long-time Vincentians. Few people his age have so fully and ardently embraced the mission and works of the Society. In the endearing spirit of our youth, he quietly emulates the essential virtues of St. Vincent de Paul. You only need to meet River to know that he is a true Vincentian, and to believe that, because of his efforts, and those of his youthful compatriots likewise infused with Frederic’s zeal, the future of our Society will be in good hands.

Madeline McMillen — Columbia River District Council Southwest Washington

Madeline and her mother, Wendy, reached out to the Society when she was just 13. Since age 11, she had been collecting toys at Christmas to provide to non-profits for distribution. In 2018, she chose to collect toys for SVdP. In 2018, she collected 725 toys, but that number has grown each and every year. In 2021, she collected 972 toys, a record number. In the past four years, she’s collected a total of 3,319 toys to give away to 4,513 children in 1,657 families through the SVdP Christmas gift program. Madeline has a helpful heart and shows leadership, dedication and perseverance. She has brought so much joy to families during the Christmas season.

Be sure to see the e-Gazette each week leading up to the National Assembly for more nominee highlights!

Young Catholic Professionals: Thy Will be Done

Young Catholic Professionals: Thy Will be Done 1421 1421 SVDP USA

Last week, a delegation of Young Adult Vincentians from across the country met with other Young Adult Catholics at the Young Catholic Professionals annual conference in Dallas, Texas. This year’s theme, Thy Will Be Done, focused on guiding attendees in finding the right path through life’s peaks and valleys to align themselves with God’s will.

“The quote that stood out to me the most this week was actually the theme of the weekend, “Thy Will Be Done.” It’s more than just a prayer it’s a call to action. Our entire life should be dedicated to doing God’s will,” said Francis Brissette, Vincentian with NextGen in Rhode Island and co-chair of the Communications Committee. “SVdP already does so much in answering that call to action and I was inspired by that quote to do as much as I can with SVdP in their mission because no organization truly lives by that quote “Thy Will Be Done” like SVdP.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was proud to be a sponsor of the conference’s break out session, “The Making of a Saint.” SVdP CEO, Dave Barringer, served as a mentor for the breakout where attendees and mentors broke into small groups, listened to the speaker, and then had time to evaluate a case study within their groups. With about 500 Young Adults Catholics in attendance, the National Council was blessed to send a delegation of 16 Young Adult Vincentians to represent the Society.

“Learning and hearing from other on how they are able to balance their work and spiritual life is instrumental in professional atmospheres we were taught to be Catholic Youth Adults not Young adult that are Catholic!” Said John Paul Brissette, Vincentian with NextGen in Rhode Island and chair of the SVdP Youth Committee.

Throughout their time at YCP, SVdP’s delegation worked to teach the other attendees about the unique opportunities that being a part of the Society can offer a young adult throughout their spiritual growth journey. They gathered contact information from attendees that were interested in learning more about SVdP.

“It was refreshing, inspiring, and motivating talking with other young Catholic people, exploring ways that we can connect and help each other put our faith into action,” said Kat Brissette, National Board Member and Chairwomen of the Young Adult Committee.

At YCP, we were excited to introduce a new SVdP promotional item, SOCKS! The socks feature the Society’s Essential Elements: Spirituality, Friendship, and Service. And they were available in both English and Spanish. The socks were a huge hit, and people loved showing off their newest fashion accessory, especially at the closing gala!


YCP offered SVdP’s delegates such a great opportunity to explore their faith and rededicate themselves to their Vincentian work.

“The energy to engage people in a spiritual way is something I think will reinvigorate my Conference and possibly bring new Vincentians to the table to help our neighbors in need,” said Jonathan Field, a Vincentian with the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Conference in Attleboro, MA.

Pray, ask, advertise: I realized I need to pray more for our efforts and ideas on how to better serve. I liked how it was stressed that SVdP empowers anyone to find local needs and will help carry out solutions,” Said Kayla Palacios, Vincentian with the St. Philip Neri Conference in Midwest City, OK. “I plan to ask others if they receive any common requests/themes in my area that are not addressed and see how we can help. Lastly, always letting others know about our organization to get the word out.”

It was an exciting opportunity and we look forward to continuing to encourage the involvement of Young Adults in the work of SVdP to helping those in need. We hope that through connections made at YCP, we will welcome new SVdP members and hopefully see some of our new friends at the SVdP National Assembly in Baltimore!

“YCP was truly life changing where I was able to experience community and the Vincentian Spirituality,” said Tina Tacati, Vincentian with the St. Eugene Conference in Brownsville, TX. 

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