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What is Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps?
JV EnCorps (JVE), a program of JVC Northwest, recruits and supports volunteers 50 and older in part-time, meaningful service positions where they have a direct impact on people living on the margins. JVE was created to meet the needs of the growing number of retired people or those moving into retirement who seek:
- to remain vital and active,
- meaningful work benefiting society,
- a supportive spiritual community, and
- personal meaning and fulfillment.
Those in this transitional “encore” stage of life often ask themselves, “What now?” They may wonder about their next steps, how they can live out their faith more deeply and continue to make a difference in the world. Many also long for a kindred community with whom to share the transformative journey. JV EnCorps can help to support the fulfillment of these longings.
Click on a question below to read more.What's required?
JV EnCorps members commit to:
- Volunteering for ten months of part-time service (5 – 10 hours weekly)
- Attending monthly gatherings with other JVEs for community-building and support
- Participating in three group retreats (orientation, mid-year, closing)
- Engaging in a personal discipline of prayer, meditation and/or reflection and a willingness to seek spiritual guidance during this journey
- Striving to live out JVC Northwest’s guiding Core Values: Community, Simple Living, Spirituality and, Social & Ecological Justice
- Making financial contributions to the program according to their abilities
- Simple living
- Social & ecological justice
JV EnCorps members (JVEs) commit to ten months of part-time volunteer work. JVEs provide valuable direct service to partner agencies working with people who are economically poor or marginalized. They volunteer in non-profits that address social, educational and ecological issues that prevent people from living fulfilling lives and impact the quality of community life. Others volunteer with agencies working for systemic change against unjust structures.
The kind of service JV EnCorps volunteers provide includes:
- assisting in food pantries and hospitality centers for those with food and housing insecurity
- helping mentor and tutor refugee, immigrant and disadvantaged children
- accompanying people who have experienced domestic violence, people recently released from prison, women working in prostitution
- attending people in hospice care
- providing health and wellness care for people with no insurance
- assisting non-profits promoting fair wages, raising concerns for the environment, educating people about ecological and social injustices, etc.
JVEs lend their skills and talents to crucial community needs, while opening themselves to new works, new skills, and new insights. Members find that volunteering allows them to use their wisdom and skills earned over a lifetime to make a difference and engender a sense of purpose. The volunteer service also provides an energizing source of hope, support, and community. Most JVEs agree that their lives are enriched by both the volunteer work and the ongoing sharing and interaction with the JVE community.
“I’ve never done anything in my life where I felt more like I belonged than my volunteer work. They could do without me; I’m not sure I can do without them. I’ve been planted there for me, to gain something, to learn something.” ~ JV EnCorps member
Members can choose to continue their existing volunteer commitment that fits with JV EnCorps service goals of serving those who are economically poor or marginalized or addressing social, educational and ecological issues, as long as that position meets the minimum volunteer time commitment. JV EnCorps staff can also work with those who need placements to find a match based on the JVE’s interests, skills and goals. JVC Northwest has been placing talented, committed volunteers in the community since 1956 and has developed an extensive network of partner agencies. JV EnCorps will draw on those relationships to find opportunities that fit with the JVE’s interests while providing impactful and meaningful service experiences.
JV EnCorps is grounded in the Catholic Ignatian tradition, developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). We also value and welcome those whose spiritual journey is influenced by other traditions and practices. We believe that richness in community comes from the sharing of diverse spiritual beliefs and practices.
The communal and spiritual aspects of the program are what set it apart from other volunteer opportunities. Transformation occurs for JVEs when they serve others and take time to reflect and share with each other about their service experiences.
Spiritual growth and transformation are fostered through:
- reflective reading and writing
- JV EnCorps retreats
- peer support and sharing during monthly JVE gatherings
- personal discipline of prayer, meditation, reflection and/or journaling
- accompaniment by a spiritual director is strongly encouraged
JV EnCorps members are invited to reflect on the meaning and purpose of their lives through the lens of JVC Northwest’s core values: community, simple living, social and ecological justice, and spirituality. The program draws on the wisdom and expertise of local Jesuits, as well as lay people well-versed in spiritual formation and practice. JV EnCorps supports and encourages a life of intentional service and contemplation, inviting participants to a deeper awareness of and connection to God in everyday life.
“The work I do as a volunteer is a way to manifest God’s love for me and to express that love to all the people I serve.” ~ JV EnCorps member
St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits, was a 16th Century Basque soldier who experienced a profound conversion and transformation after being wounded by a cannon ball. During his recuperation he began to focus on the movement of spirit and how paying attention to consolation and desolation can help people discern their best choices. He believed that looking at our actions and contemplating them prayerfully could lead to changing our behaviors and, ultimately, to transformation. He developed a spirituality, a way of proceeding, that included ongoing reflection through such tools as the Examen, imaginative prayer and other exercises to help people become contemplatives in action. Ignatian Spirituality, as it is now known, has been used widely by people of many faith traditions to help them listen to God’s deepest desiring for them and for the world.
In addition to the focus on spiritual growth and transformation, creating an intentional community built on shared values makes JV EnCorps different from other volunteer programs. JVEs do not live together; rather, a cohesive, supportive community is formed in the following ways:
- Monthly gatherings with other JVEs for community-building, support and reflective sharing
- Three group retreats (orientation, mid-year, closing)
- Opportunities for additional group social, spiritual or service activities
- Supporting each other in our efforts to live out the guiding Core Values of JVC Northwest: community, simple living, spirituality, and social & ecological justice.
“I have been touched deeply by having the opportunity to meet and interact with a truly exceptional group of people. I know that my life will be enriched not only by the volunteer work I am doing each week but also by the continued sharing and interaction with my fellow JVEs.” ~ JV EnCorps member
JVEs are asked to commit to a one-time or monthly good-will monetary contribution according to their financial ability to help defray costs of the retreats, meetings and other expenses. In addition, JVEs are expected to pay the costs of transportation to and from their volunteer commitments, community meetings and retreats as well as the cost of spiritual direction.
Still Need Help?
Feel free to contact the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest office at (503) 335-8202 or e-mail email@example.com.
For more information about the JVE program in Portland and Bend, OR, contact JVE Program Manager, Karen Beal, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the JVE program in Seattle, WA, contact JVE Seattle Program Coordinator, Helen Pitts, at email@example.com.
Visit the JV EnCorps blog to read updates and reflections from current JV EnCorps members and staff.
Life as a JVE
Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps members (JVEs) commit to ten months of service and monthly meetings and retreats with other JVEs. They are guided in this work by JVC Northwest’s four values: community, simple living, social & environmental justice, and spirituality.
Specifically, the JV EnCorps experience includes:
- Ten months of part-time volunteer service (5 – 10 hours weekly) with a non-profit organization beginning in September and ending in June. Schedules vary, depending on the needs of the agency and the volunteer, and many JVEs choose to work in more than one agency or continue their volunteer work through the summer months.
- Monthly JVE community meetings, plus three retreats during the year.
- Commitment to personal spiritual growth and development through reading, reflection, prayer, meditation, journaling or other regular spiritual practice. Regular meetings with a spiritual director or guide are also encouraged.
- JVEs are welcome to continue in the program for more than one year.
Where We Serve
JVEs work for social and ecological justice, alongside those who are marginalized in our society, including people who experience poverty, hunger, disabilities, and abuse. They provide direct services and serve as advocates for more systemic change. JVEs often choose to work in an organization that can utilize their skills and experience, or they may decide to explore and develop new skills, perhaps in projects unrelated to previous job experience. Some JVEs volunteer at community sites where they have already volunteered for some time, or sites that they have found recently, and which fit our mission as described above. Others volunteer in new settings which JVC Northwest staff members have helped them identify.
JV EnCorps locations:
- Portland, OR
- Bend, OR
- Seattle, WA
The types of service include the following
- Promoting social & ecological justice
- Refugee services
- Food security, housing, workplace readiness
- Services for people who struggle with homelessness, mental illness, addictions
- Education, mentoring, and more
A community of peers: JVEs are fifty or older, bringing a rich variety of experiences, perspectives, and curiosity to the wider community and to one another. They are a spiritually focused group invested in one another’s growth and success, with a shared commitment to the transformative impact of Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps.
Dynamic community partnerships: JVC Northwest has served the people and lands of the Pacific Northwest since 1956 in partnership with local organizations familiar with community needs. JVEs have an opportunity to make profound, lasting contributions where needs are great. They can apply their professional and personal skills and talents to the work of a service site, while meeting new populations, learning new skills, gaining new insights, and growing in wisdom and effectiveness.
Greater awareness of God’s presence and action in their lives: Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest was founded in the spirit and tradition of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). The founder of the Jesuits is St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose spirituality – or way of living out his faith in God – invites us to become more deeply aware of our experiences in everyday life, discovering the Divine in all things.
JV EnCorps is grounded in this Catholic, Ignatian tradition. Like JVC Northwest’s Jesuit Volunteer program, JV EnCorps values and is welcoming to those whose spiritual journey is influenced by other traditions and practices. We believe that richness in community comes from the sharing of diverse spiritual beliefs and practices. Participants in JV EnCorps are invited to reflect on the meaning and purpose of their lives through the core values of community, simple living, social & environmental justice, and spirituality.
Making a difference: JV EnCorps members embrace both the challenges and the gratification of working with people who are marginalized by society. They draw hope from working with others to solve difficult social and ecological problems. Witnessing injustice transforms the JVEs, inspiring them to live in solidarity with the people and places they serve. JVEs can apply their professional skills and talents to the work of a service site, while simultaneously trying new work, learning new skills and opening themselves to other perspectives. They witness the transformation of individuals and communities, assisting people to become actively aware of the societal and environmental injustices that exist in their lives, neighborhoods, and country.
Thank you for your interest in applying to become a JV EnCorps member! Applications are still considered if received past the due date, depending on the current size of the JVE group. For entry to the program past the deadline date, contact the JV EnCorps Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application deadline for JVE in Portland and Bend is extended to August 31st. However, Seattle is no longer accepting applications for 2014-15.
When applying with the paper version, please print and mail completed applications to:
JVE Portland and Bend, OR:
P.O. Box 3928
Portland, OR 97208
JVE Seattle, WA:
JV EnCorps Seattle
2442 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107
Apply for Another Year
If you are interested in applying for an additional year of JV EnCorps, please call us at 503-335-8202 or e-mail email@example.com.
When does the program begin?
The program begins in September with an orientation retreat and completes in June with a closing retreat. Applications for the upcoming service-year will be available and accepted beginning in mid-January and are due by June 30th. Applications received after the due date are still considered depending on the current size of the JVE group.
Following interviews and acceptance into the program, agency site placements will be arranged throughout the summer so that JVEs can begin their service work in early September, following Labor Day. Some JVEs enter the program already engaged in a specific site placement in which case they may be volunteering throughout the summer months.