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Extending the table: sheryl cherian

This Christmas Season, we invite you to “Extend the Table”. This is the theme our volunteers are exploring this year–to honor a spirit of radical hospitality in their service with those on the margins. As we share some of the ways they’re extending the table, we hope you’ll be inspired, too. We invite you to join in our efforts to extend the table to current and future generations of volunteers. Below, current JV Sheryl shares her service with Care Partners Hospice and Palliative, Hillsboro, OR.


What does “Extending the Table” mean to you?

I see this year’s theme of “extending the table” in two dimensions. Primarily, I think of the dining table, a place of nourishment, sharing, and human connection. I see it as a place where both basic and higher-order needs are met. To extend this table is to welcome more people to it—to hold a space for sharing, connection, and nourishment for those who may have been excluded. Secondly, I see the ‘table’ as a place where issues are discussed and decisions are often made; therefore, a seat at the metaphorical table is a position of power and privilege. Extension of the table, to me, means embracing the presence of new and different voices such that they not only feel welcome but that they also feel heard. After all, where is the meaning in a dinner invitation if there is no room to speak?

How are you extending the table through your year of service?

This year, I am very grateful to be serving as the Immigrant Community Outreach Coordinator/Hospice Volunteer at Care Partners Hospice & Palliative in Hillsboro, Oregon. In many ways, my role challenges me to find new and innovative ways to make hospice and palliative care services more accessible to immigrant communities in the Portland area. The goal of hospice is to help patients live as well as they can for as long as they can and to support families along the way.

I am engaged in outreach, which involves educational efforts for the broader community, but my major focus is to build partnerships and serve as a liaison between immigrant community organizations and Care Partners; in other words, my position requires me, primarily, to listen. Collaborating with our clinical staff, I also serve as a patient navigator and I am able to advocate for specific language and cultural needs surrounding high-quality hospice and palliative care for our families. As a hospice volunteer, I often sing and play ukulele, utilize my Spanish language skills, and am asked to simply be present with the immigrant families on our service. I come from an immigrant family myself, which often leads to opportunities for special connection. Each dimension of my role feeds my understanding of how to navigate the difficult work of extending the table to all. As a volunteer, I am charged to show up; through outreach and advocacy, I am challenged to translate my observations and learning into a more inclusive table. With death in the room, it is profoundly clear to me—now more than ever—that each person I meet so deserves to live, and to live well. The validation of human dignity is integral to hospice care, so it feels natural to be thinking about how to extend the table at the end of life. In my mind, this is the very least we can do for each other.

Extend the table to more volunteers and those with whom they serve

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Sheryl, far right, and her Aloha, OR community

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Upcoming Virtual Events

Get to Know JVC Northwest

Tuesday, September 28 | 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT 

Join us to learn all the basics about a year of service in the Pacific Northwest, including where you can serve, what you might do, and how to apply. Our Recruiter, Zayna, will also share her experience as a JV in both Alaska and Montana. Finally, we’ll open it up for an informal Q+A. 

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Wednesday, October 6 | 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT

How can you position yourself to be a strong candidate for JVC Northwest? We’ll share tips and tricks to help you navigate the application, interview, matching, and placement process. We’ll also leave plenty of time for Q+A.  

Zayna Abusada

JVC Northwest Recruiter

Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

Catch Zayna at an Event Near You!


9/8/2021Saint Mary’s College (IN)VirtualFall Career Fair
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9/20/2021University of Wisconsin-MadisonIn PersonPublic Service Fair
9/21/2021Whitman CollegeVirtualCareer & Internship Fair
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9/23/2021Xavier UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/29/2021Santa Clara UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair Bash
9/29/2021Fairfield UniversityVirtualFall Career & Internship Fair
9/29/2021DePaul UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair (Day 1 Only)
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9/30/2021Saint Martin’s UniversityVirtualInternship & Service Fair


10/5/2021Pepperdine UniversityVirtualCareers with Social Impact Fair
10/6/2021Saint Mary’s College (CA)VirtualCareer & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Loyola New Orleans/UNOVirtualJoint Fall Job & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Spring Hill CollegeVirtualBadger Career Expo Day 2
10/13/2021Gonzaga UniversityIn PersonPost Grad Service Fair
10/13/2021Ohio UniversityVirtualGovernment, Nonprofit, and Service Fair
10/16/2021Ignatian Family Teach-InVirtualBreakout Session and Exhibiting
10/18/2021University of DaytonVirtualBeyond UD Fair: Post Graduate Volunteer Programs