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Discernment Resources

Discernment Conversations

In Ignatian spirituality, discernment is a practice of paying attention to our thoughts, desires, and emotions, and reflecting on where they are leading you. It is a spiritual practice to help us navigate choosing between multiple seemingly good options.

No matter where you are in the application process, our alumni and staff are available to talk with you about your options. Whether you’re weighing different service programs, choosing between a meaningful gap year or grad school, or just totally unsure about what to do next, we’re here to help! 

Here are some folks available to talk. Read about their experience and expertise, and then click on the Schedule link to put a phone call or Zoom session on their calendar. 

1) General Discernment

What to do next? Are you unsure about the next chapter in life and how a year of service might fit in? Greg Carpinello is the Executive Director of JVC Northwest and can help you explore if a service-year program is right for you through the Ignatian practice of discernment. Prior to joining JVC Northwest in 2019, Greg worked at both Xavier University and Boston College where he helped accompany students through post-graduation discernment processes. 

2) JVC Northwest Insight

What is JVC Northwest like? Still trying to get a grasp on what service and community living with JVC Northwest is actually like? Meet with Chris Suriano from our Recruitment Team for a conversation about how JVs live out the four core values throughout their year. We’d love to talk about what makes JVC Northwest unique relative to other service year programs you might be considering, and walk you through what the interview and placement process is like. 

3) Service Interest Discernment

Where can I serve? Are you trying to make sense of our list of over 100 positions? Whether you are about to interview or you are working on your Service Interest Form later in the process, Sarah Jones can help. As Director of the JV Program, Sarah knows the ins and outs of the different types of placements and how the intentional matching process works. So schedule some time to ask your position-specific questions! 

4) Additional Year Discernment

What are the benefits and challenges of serving an additional year? Should I stay in my current locale or serve somewhere else? How should I prepare myself and my expectations to account for new community dynamics? Are you a current JV trying to discern if an additional year of service is right for you?  Schedule a time to speak with a JVC Northwest staff member to sift through all of your Additional Year questions!

Advice from a Former Volunteer

Kelsey Kraft
(Tacoma, WA ’20-21)

 I was first introduced to JVC Northwest through my university. I went to Xavier in Cincinnati, and JVC Northwest was a really common path that a lot of graduates at my school took, and I had heard a lot of positive things about the program. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted my life to look like after graduation. I thought about going to grad school but really wanted to see what it was like and get some experience in the field I was interested in. So I applied to JVC Northwest, JVC National, and also some jobs in the area. Ultimately, I wanted to challenge myself and expand my perspective and what I knew, because I had lived in the Midwest my whole life.  

When I was making this decision I went through a lot of stages of what I thought I’d be interested in. Honestly, after doing the initial interview with JVC Northwest I thought, ‘I don’t think this is for me.’ I was pretty intimidated by the initial interview but wanted to stick through it to see what opportunity I would get. The longer I sat with it, and when I read about Tacoma and the placement that I’d been offered, I think I just knew that it was the right decision.  

So I would say, be patient with yourself. Give yourself some time in making that decision and see things through. Don’t cut anything off early because I certainly would have missed out on an amazing, really formative, year of my life if I had done that.  

That’s my advice, and I think that goes with any path you might find yourself on, not just JVC Northwest. 

What Exactly Does Discernment Mean?

What do I do next? What does the world need? Is JVC Northwest a good fit for me? 


If you find yourself asking these and other questions about your life, read on!  

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had a lot to say about making important life decisions – what he called discernment. Here are some tips from Saint Ignatius:  


1. Pay attention to your heart’s deepest desires. Your deepest desires are a sign of God’s desires for you!  

2. Approach your decision with courage and generosity. The world deserves the best version of you.  

3. Talk to someone you trust. Seek the wisdom of mentors and friends who know and love you. Your campus minister can be a great resource. 


Check out the video to watch JVC Northwest Executive Director Greg Carpinello give a talk to prospective Jesuit Volunteers about the discernment process. 

Still discerning if a year of service with JVC Northwest is right for you?

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Upcoming Virtual Events

"JVC Northwest 101: Service and Community"

Thursday, April 7 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn about all that makes a year of service with JVC Northwest unique. We’ll talk about the opportunities available, what intentional community looks like, and dive into our values of social and ecological justice, simple living, and spirituality/reflection. There will also be plenty of time for Q+A. Register here. 

"How to Make Your Application Stand Out"

Wednesday, April 20 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn how you can position yourself to be a strong candidate for service with JVC Northwest. With one week left before the April 26 priority deadline, this will also be the perfect time to get a handle on each step of the application, interview, matching, and placement process. Register here. 

Where Are the JVC Northwest Recruiters Going Next?

Check out our upcoming recruitment events below. Don’t see your school or town on the list? Reach out to us at recruiter@jvcnorthwest.org to let us know you’d like us to pay your town a visit! 

Notre Dame | Info Session: Discerning Post Graduate Service | 6:30 PM | COffee House in Geddes Hall

Marquette | Info session (1-2) office hours (2-4) | Career Services Center – Seminar Room