St. Vincent de Paul

Switching gears: How I found my place in volunteering

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

A passion of mine for the last 13 years has been working with high school teens through my church youth group. During my last year as a student at ASU, I completed a youth ministry internship at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center on the Tempe campus. After that, I was released into the "real world" and went on to pursue a career as a youth minister. I spent the next six years coordinating youth ministry programs for two different churches within that time.

I loved my job and felt so fed by the work I did and the teens I encountered — which made my next step feel more like a step backward rather than a step forward. Almost exactly one year ago, I resigned as Coordinator of Youth Ministry for St. Vincent de Paul Church in Phoenix. Why? Well, mainly because I wanted more for the teens of St. Vincent de Paul. It wasn't that I felt inept to perform the duties of the job; I felt like I was being held back. And what was holding me back? Myself. I was afraid of burn out.

See, early on in my career I was made well aware of the high turnover rate for youth ministers. It's not uncommon for many to only last two years before they burn themselves out. This phenomenon was explained more fully in an article from the Catholic Sun in April 2007. At that time, I found myself nearing the end of my third year in the profession and being a mother to a 7-month-old baby girl. Having already passed the dreaded two-year mark, I felt good about what I was doing and where I was headed.