Staff member gets CVA

Edwin Blanton, the Coordinator for Community Service and Engagement in Campus and Community Involvement at Trinity, successfully received “Certified in Volunteer Administration” credential on March 6 from the non-profit Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.

A select 1,100 individuals in the world have attained this credential, and it is the only one in the field of volunteerism that is recognized internationally. To achieve this, Blanton went through a complex application process that involved over a year of preparation and work. Blanton spoke on his experience with this year long process and how it feels to now have this highly sought-after credential.

Q: What did you have to do in order to apply for CVA approval?

BLANTON: “You have to apply to be part of the program. An exam was involved, one which is offered only once a year that I took in May, and I had until December to submit a portfolio for review. The exam had a two hour limit, and covered things such as terminology in volunteer management. The portfolio went through my philosophy on volunteer management and ethics and a case study of a volunteer program I had implemented. All that went to a committee that reviews the portfolio.”

Q: What was the most difficult part for you?

BLANTON: “I think the portfolio was not overly challenging, in that it wasn’t as big of a stress for me compared to the exam. It was more or less a time commitment. It was actually reading and studying for the exam that was most difficult, because I have never thought of myself as a great test taker.”

Q: Who determines whether your earn CVA approval?

BLANTON: “The portfolio is sent to the council for CVA that’s comprised of a lot of professionals, many from very large volunteer organizations.”

Q: Why did you personally want to earn CVA credential?

BLANTON: “I’ve supervised volunteers for being elite volunteers to professional, and trained Peace Corps volunteers— the one thing I didn’t have yet was CVA credential. I really wanted to have that. Very few people actually have it—only a handful of people in the San Antonio region. I really believe in volunteerism and having effectiveness in the world, which I why I aspired for this.”

Q: What can you actually do with this praiseworthy credential?

BLANTON: “More or less, I can put it after my name. It speaks mostly to our community partners—nonprofits and community agencies I work with. It just gives that extra little star to say this person has good understanding of volunteer administration.”

Q: What got you interested in volunteerism. Have you always had a passion for it?

BLANTON: “I was a business undergraduate, but got my masters in public administration to focus more on the nonprofit world and volunteerism. What drove me towards that goes back to how my parents raised me—with a strong work ethic and attitude that we all need to give something back to the world. I realized my true calling wasn’t business, and ever since then my life has revolved around volunteerism.”

Q: What does it mean to you to achieve this award?

BLANTON: “It was a goal that I’ve had, and I am really glad I did receive the certification. It was an affirmation that I do understand volunteer administration. I had to put a lot of time into it, but I believe you can always put a lot on your plate and do it well if you try to effectively manage your time.”

Blanton is one of the many contributors to Trinity receiving its fourth Presidential Community Service Award. From June 2010 to June 2011 Trinity students completed more than 60,000 hours of community service. Students have logged these hours by participating in adult literacy programs, Welcome Week service excursions and Service-Learning in Education among others.