Volunteer finds peace and love at Bishop McVinney School

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PROVIDENCE — When Beverly Carson walked into Bishop McVinney Regional School last fall to complete a volunteer application, the first thing that caught her eye was a poster proclaiming peace and love.

Carson immediately knew that the busy urban school was where she wanted to share the skills and experience gained from more than 40 years of successful employment in the banking industry.

“Peace and love are my favorite words,” Carson says. “Love is the most important word to me. Without love, you can’t have peace.”

The Coventry resident learned from a friend that the school needed volunteers to help in the office and had previously visited Bishop McVinney School when she participated in a volunteer reading program a few years ago.

The opportunity to serve couldn’t have come at a better time, Carson said, adding that she was laid off from her job last year as an assistant vice president at a local bank and didn’t want to languish in the house and lose touch with the public.

“I’ve been out of work for a year,” Carson notes. “Right now, I’m searching for a job. When you’re job searching, it’s good to be somewhere that is peaceful.”

Volunteers at Bishop McVinney four mornings a week from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and performs myriad tasks, including filing, helping with registrations, keeping track of immunization records and consoling injured students who have suffered minor scrapes on the playground.

“It gives me a sense of purpose, “ Carson says. “To be not working gives you a terrible feeling.”

A member of the Greenwood Community Church in Warwick, Carson has been committed to community service for more than 20 years and has volunteered at the Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Samaritans, Rhode Island Community Food Bank and Rebuilding America, which recently recognized her as the national Community Crusader for the month of February.

Carson was featured in a television commercial aired on the Home and Garden Network, and received a monetary prize. She donated $1500 to Bishop McVinney School to be used to provide scholarship assistance to students who exemplify her example of making a positive difference in the lives of others by performing public service.

“I feel that we are here for a short time and if we don’t give back to the community and make a difference, we have wasted our lives,” she says. “I feel like I’m a grain of sand on the beach. Alone, I can do nothing, but together we can build castles.”

Carson lives with her son and his family, whose home recently sustained more than $50,000 damage in the recent floods that damaged many homes in the Pawtuxet Valley, and despite her misfortunes, has never lost her trust in God.

“Even though I have no job and no money, I am richer than most,” she says.

Deborah Pascale, the office manager at Bishop McVinney, describes Carson as “just amazing.”

“She is probably the most generous, down-to-earth person I have ever met,” said Pascale, adding that Carson always arrives with a positive attitude and “gets the job done.”

Carson said when she enters Bishop McVinney School, she is overcome by a “sense of tranquility and a feeling of belonging.”

“I never loved being anywhere more than I have at this school,” she says. “It’s kind of like being in heaven on earth.”