Thinking About Becoming a Jesuit Volunteer?
Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest seeks applicants with maturity, openness, and flexibility. JVC Northwest welcomes persons of every ethnicity, origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender expression, and economic status. Applicants should be 21 or older and have a college degree or applicable work experience. Applicants cannot be married, and we ask that applicants’ marital status not change during the service year. Jesuit Volunteers are committed to community, social and ecological justice, simple living, and spirituality/reflection.
JVC Northwest volunteers serve people living on the margins of society in 19 communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, in both rural and urban areas. JVs serving in the Northwest have the unique opportunity to explore the incredible natural beauty and rich cultural diversity of the Pacific Northwest!
Service begins in early August, when all volunteers join together in Oregon for Orientation, a week-long introduction to JVC Northwest. This is an exciting week with opportunities for JVs to meet their housemates and experience what it truly means to be a part of JVC Northwest. While JVs are responsible for traveling to Orientation, JVC Northwest provides transportation to each volunteer’s community at the end of Orientation.
The entire JVC movement began here in the Northwest in 1956, when a few volunteers helped build and teach in the new Copper Valley School in Copper Valley, Alaska. The program soon expanded beyond AK, and in the 70s and 80s, our program inspired the opening of five regions of JVC (Midwest, East, Southwest, South, and one international region), each an independent non-profit.
In 2007, all JVC regions decided to join together as one central program in Baltimore. However, after a long Ignatian discernment process, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent and locally-based to best serve our local and regional communities. JVC Northwest and JVC are now sister organizations that recruit alongside each other but now have different missions and opportunities for their volunteers. Learn more about the differences here.
JVC Northwest has been the catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the U.S. Peace Corps.
JVC Northwest and JVC based in Baltimore are two separate organizations. They vary in three primary ways:
- Types of placements/locales: JVC in Baltimore offers many large urban placements in the U.S., while JVC Northwest offers a bit more variety of locales. We have a number of large urban centers, but offer a wider variety of small cities, towns, and rural and remote locales. This means there are also more opportunities to serve with Indigenous communities, specifically in Montana and Alaska.
- Ecological Justice: JVC Northwest has incorporated “ecological justice” into our core values, so there is a concentrated focus on this throughout the year. Ecological justice shows up both in the types of placements we offer, as well as in the resources we offer JVs and the challenges and lifestyle choices JVs take on during the year.
- AmeriCorps: JVC Northwest is an AmeriCorps program, which offers a significant benefit to our volunteers and agencies. This partnership means almost all of our JVs are also AmeriCorps members and are eligible for the $6,495 AmeriCorps Education Award at the end of the year, which can be used to pay back qualified student loans or pay for future education. AmeriCorps funding also cuts the cost in half for an agency to host a JV, so more agencies and smaller locales can now afford to have JVs that couldn’t before our partnership with AmeriCorps.
One of the ways JVC Northwest is distinct from other service programs is the incorporation of spirituality into the experience. JVC Northwest is rooted in the Ignatian tradition of faith-directed service. JVC Northwest was co-founded by the Jesuits, who continue to support and fill an integral role in the on-going success of the program. JVs come from a variety of faith backgrounds and commit to sharing their traditions while finding common ground through service and the mission, and incorporate faith into their everyday lives and desire to work for justice.
The service opportunities available through JVC Northwest also differentiate us from other service programs in a few ways:
- Cross-cultural opportunities: Our program offers a number of cross-cultural opportunities, so JVs may be serving in Alaskan Native, Native American, or Spanish speaking communities, as well as in urban and rural settings.
- Diverse types of service: The types of service JVs engage in ranges from social work, education, health care, legal work, advocacy and community organizing, as well as working with people experiencing mental illness, disabilities, homelessness, and domestic violence.
We are also different in that we provide a great amount of support to JVs throughout the year. Support can come from each volunteer’s direct community, from local support people, the JVC Northwest area director, three retreats, and the large network of former volunteers. From the moment you become a JV, you are linked to the largest network of former volunteers serving in a faith-based program in the country. The quality of support and involvement from former JVs is unrivaled by other programs. Many JVs gain relationships with like-minded individuals that last a lifetime!
¿Hablas español? ¡Tenemos un puesto para ti!
Muchos de nuestros voluntarios trabajan con la comunidad latina, usando diariamente su habilidad de hablar en español. Busca los puestos ubicados en las ciudades siguientes para más información: Yakima, Gresham, Wenatchee, Hood River, Portland, Hillsboro, Boise, y Seattle. ¡Piensa en la oportunidad de usar tu español aquí en el noroeste!
As staff we do our best to match applicants with a position that will utilize their strengths, challenge them to grow, and meet the needs of the partner agency. We ask our applicants to consider diverse types of placements and to be open to a number of possibilities, as their openness to go where the need is greatest helps us make the best matches and increases applicants’ chances of receiving a placement.
JVC Northwest is rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition and guides our mission and vision. Whether Catholic or of another spiritual tradition, Jesuit Volunteers must be open to sharing their stories and hearing others’ stories as well. Jesuit Volunteers often draw inspiration and direction from the traditions of the Jesuits, whether or not they were already familiar with these traditions, but also seek to explore their spiritual lives in other ways.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, sought to integrate a life of prayer with active work and service. Ignatian spirituality is realistic; it invites us to become more deeply aware of our experiences in everyday life, discovering the Divine in all things. As we do this, we become more conscious of God’s presence with us and more aware of how we might act in a God-centered way, especially in service to others. Like Jesuits, Jesuit Volunteers are called to where God, people, and places will best be served.
JVs are given opportunities to learn about and share elements of Ignatian Spirituality during three retreats, weekly community gatherings, and optional spiritual direction sessions. As founders and supporters of the JVC Northwest, the Jesuits provide support and act as resources to many JV communities.
Your chances of being accepted are very good if you meet the basic qualifications, are committed to living all four values for a year, and are flexible about where you may go and what service you will provide. Submitting your application as early as possible is recommended. Each application is carefully screened by a JVC Northwest staff member to make sure the applicant is well motivated, emotionally stable, and understands the commitment to JVC Northwest. The service agency ultimately chooses the best qualified applicant for each particular position.
Your agency will provide the training needed for your specific position. This often includes a general orientation to the agency, shadowing staff members, learning protocols, and informational trainings throughout the year. Trainings vary by agency. You will also receive regular on-site supervision to get feedback and continue to grow in the position. JVC Northwest retreats and support people may provide ideas and resources which can further inform the service you provide at your agency.
While most of our placements do not require special skills, there are some placements that do. Several teaching positions require certification; Spanish competence is helpful or required in many placements. Registered nurses and persons interested in legal positions are also needed for a few placements as well.
JVC Northwest is not able to assist applicants in obtaining the appropriate legal documentation.
Because of the challenge inherent in the JVC Northwest program, we do not encourage applications from persons who would have the additional task of adjusting to English language and U.S. culture. We do recognize, however, the special relationship between the U.S. and its geographical neighbors, and so welcome inquiries from Mexican and Canadian citizens who speak sufficient English to function well in both a placement and JV community, and who have the appropriate immigration status to sustain a year-long volunteer experience in the U.S.
Applicants from foreign countries must file for all appropriate legal documentation (visa, green card, etc.) at an early stage of the application/screening process, and be confirmed before the applicant is matched with a placement.
This is a year to ask questions, try new things, and to be challenged, by looking honestly at choices you make and building awareness about how your life impacts others. This includes exploring and evaluating patterns of consumption, privilege, and personal bias. You will be encouraged to challenge yourself, as well as to be open to receiving encouragement and feedback from your area director, community members, and support team.
Volunteers commit to one full year of service, beginning with Orientation the first week of August and concluding in the end of July. Current volunteers are welcome to apply for an additional year with JVC Northwest! You can read more below about what that process looks like.
JVC Northwest currently receives federal grant funding through AmeriCorps. Every JVC Northwest AmeriCorps member who successfully completes a year of full-time service is eligible to receive an Education Award. The 2022-23 Education Award will be worth $6,495.
While the vast majority of Jesuit Volunteers are AmeriCorps members, some JV positions are not eligible for membership due to federal guidelines specific to their service provided at the placement.
See the AmeriCorps FAQs for more information.
Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JV EnCorps) engages women and men ages 50 and older in a transforming experience of volunteer service and spiritual growth. Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps members (JVEs) commit to a year or more of significant service in their local communities and to JVC Northwest’s four core values. Visit the JV EnCorps page to learn more.
Equity at JVC Northwest
At Orientation we provide LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual, two-spirit) Awareness Training for all JVs. We also have a mentorship program provided by Former Jesuit Volunteers (FJVs) and JV EnCorps members for JVs who identify as LGBTQIA2S+. In addition, as part of JV Identity Groups, you can join the GayVC group, where you can receive support and build strong relationships with other JVs and staff who identify as LGBTQIA2S+. As part of our respect for gender identities, we practice pronoun use in our own organization as part of introductions, and ask JV communities and our partners to do the same. We recognize many cultures and languages have genderless language, and welcome individuals not sharing pronouns if it is not a practice in your culture.
At Orientation, we provide trainings to all JVs on Intercultural Skills for Equity, along with a Navigating White Spaces training for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) JVs. We also have a mentorship program provided by Former Jesuit Volunteers (FJVs) and JV Encorps members for JVs who identify as BIPOC. In addition to our Spring and Fall retreats for all JVs, we also have two annual BIPOC-only retreats. And as part of JV Identity groups, you can join the BIPOC, Interracial, Mixed Race, White Passing group where you can receive support and engage in meaningful conversation with other JVs who hold similar identities.
We welcome JVs who identify with any religion, or who are nonreligious. What we ask of all JVs is the willingness to engage in respectful and open-minded dialogue about spirituality, and to commit to a practice of reflection. JV communities switch off leading weekly Spirituality Nights, which provide opportunities to express your own spirituality, lead others through a reflection or spiritual experience, and learn about other faith perspectives. In addition, as part of JV Identity Groups, you can join the Non-Christian group where you can process the year through a non-Christian lens with other JVs.
We have a mentorship program provided by Former Jesuit Volunteers (FJVs) and JV EnCorps members for JVs who experience ability/disability. In addition, as part of JV Identity groups, you can join the Ability group which is designed for people with the experience of physical, mental or emotional distress including chronic illness, different physical, intellectual, or developmental abilities, and experience managing their mental health. This is designed as a supportive space for JVs to become resources for each other throughout the year, and to experience peer support for understanding and navigating accommodations and self-advocacy. JVC Northwest staff can assist with making reasonable accommodation requests at your service site or in your community and JV home. We also support service and emotional support animals, though we cannot mandate that partner agencies allow emotional support animals to be at service with JVs. Let us know if you plan on bringing a service or emotional support animal or if there are accommodations you’d like to request.
An important part of our work to be an anti-racist organization is examining and dismantling characteristics of white supremacy culture—in JVC Northwest’s history and present experience with volunteers. Throughout the program year, white JVs participate in a White Accountability Group throughout the year. This is our only required meet-up group, focused on learning about whiteness and its role in creating and perpetuating systems of oppression. White JVs are encouraged to be already engaging in their own learning before entering a year of service with JVC Northwest.
Our application for the 2022-23 service year is now open here. The first priority deadline to apply is January 11, 2022.
A complete application includes the following:
- Short autobiographical essay (2 pages)
- Short answer questions
- Three references
- Submit completed application; applicant will receive confirmation once application is complete (including all references)
- JVC Northwest staff determines who will be offered interviews on a rolling basis; applicant interviews with a former JV via phone
- If accepted, staff will work with applicant and JV program team to determine the best position match for each applicant
- Generally within two weeks of being interviewed, accepted JV is matched with a position and agency
- Applicant is offered a few days to decide whether to interview with the agency
- JV interviews with agency within one week
- After the agency interview, JV has one week to decide to commit to the agency and position for the JV year. The agency also decides if the JV interviewed is a good fit for their position.
- Once the JV and agency have decided each other is a good fit, then the application and matching process is complete!
JVs interested in an additional year should complete the Additional Year Application. If applying from JVC, JVs should request that their original JV application be transferred to our office. As part of this application, JVs will need to submit essays and references from two community members, their program coordinator, and their site supervisor.
Feel free to contact the JVC Northwest office at 503-335-8202 or reach out to our Recruitment Manager, Chris Suriano, at email@example.com.
Interviews are conducted over the phone with a former JV and generally last one to one-and-a-half hours. We encourage all applications to reflect on the questions provided in the Discernment Packet prior to their interview.
No, volunteers do not need to pay or help fundraise to be a part of JVC Northwest. Thanks to generous financial support from government grants and private foundations, as well as thousands of individuals and former volunteers, we do not require volunteers to contribute financially to be a Jesuit Volunteer. Many JVs’ family and friends have also made donations to JVC Northwest to contribute to the program and support the JV during their service year.
As a JV, you may qualify for student loan deferment, forbearance, or income-driven repayment plans. Check with your lending institution to determine if you qualify and what steps need to be taken to make this possible. Non-AmeriCorps positions usually have a different process for forbearance than AmeriCorps positions. It will be important to explain to your lending institution that you are going to be involved in full-time service and receive a minimal living stipend. If needed, JVC Northwest can send a verification letter to the lender after the start of the service year. For JV AmeriCorps members, there is also an opportunity to receive an AmeriCorps Education award to help pay student loans. For more information on ways to reduce and postpone student loan payments, AmeriCorps forbearance and the Segal Education Award, see the AmeriCorps FAQ.
Yes, JVC Northwest currently offers the AmeriCorps Education Award to most of our Jesuit Volunteers who successfully complete the full year of service. The few positions that are not AmeriCorps eligible:
- provide service not funded by AmeriCorps, such as ministry or advocacy, or
- are simply not eligible due to the limited amount of funding.
AmeriCorps will offer up to $6,495 for a full-time award. Upon successful completion of the service year, the award can be used to pay existing student loans or put towards tuition at an approved U.S. college or graduate school.
See the AmeriCorps FAQ for more information.
JVC Northwest provides each volunteer with a monthly living allowance to cover basic costs of living such as housing, utilities, and food. Each community pools their monthly living allowances to cover these shared costs. Volunteers also receive a $100 monthly stipend for personal expenses.
Health insurance is provided to JVs beginning the first day of Orientation and for the duration of the service year. Co-pays and prescriptions can be covered by JVC Northwest up to a certain amount. This basic insurance does not include dental or optical coverage. JVs can also choose to remain on an existing plan they may already be on.
Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest began its direct partnership with national service through a National Direct AmeriCorps grant in 2010, and was awarded a re-compete grant in 2013, 2016, and 2019, all of which reflect a three year grant cycle. The majority of our placements are AmeriCorps positions. JVC Northwest AmeriCorps members receive a $6,495 education award upon successful completion of a year of service. Members receive a living allowance which funds their housing costs, food, utilities, transport to and from the service site, medical co-pays and deductibles and other costs incurred during the year. Future funding is conditional upon government appropriations and a successful grant award.
How do I know if my position qualifies as an AmeriCorps placement?
Most of our positions qualify for AmeriCorps. Some positions are not eligible for AmeriCorps because they are advocacy and/or ministry positions, and some positions will be non-AmeriCorps due to the fact we have a greater number of opportunities for full-time service than we have AmeriCorps funding for positions. Under the “Where We Serve” section on our website, there is a list of position descriptions; click on the details section to see if a position is an AmeriCorps position or a non-AmeriCorps position.
During the selection and placement process, JVC Northwest staff will be transparent about what positions are and are not AmeriCorps positions before offering you a placement.
What is the AmeriCorps living allowance?
The living allowance is an amount of money set by AmeriCorps that full-time AmeriCorps members receive during their year of service. The living allowance for the 2021-22 service year is $16,000.
What is the living allowance used for?
The intent of the living allowance is that it be used for living expenses incurred by the member during the service year. Before JVC Northwest became an AmeriCorps grantee, our individual partner agencies paid for the living costs of the JVs. By becoming an AmeriCorps grantee we were able to substantially reduce the costs to our partner agencies and ultimately serve more people in need. The living allowance is used to cover housing costs, food, utilities, transport to and from the service site, medical deductibles and co-pays and other costs incurred during the service year. JVC Northwest offers to cover the cost of the monthly insurance premium on a basic medical plan. While the housing cost is a set amount, the JV AmeriCorps member will cover their share of the communal cost of food, utilities and other community-incurred costs with the living allowance. The monthly cost of living may vary, e.g., utility bills, especially in Alaska, can be quite high in the winter months. At Orientation, we will discuss how to adhere to our core value of simple living in light of receiving the living allowance.
How do AmeriCorps members receive the living allowance?
JVC Northwest distributes the living allowance according to AmeriCorps guidelines. The AmeriCorps member receives the allowance in equal amounts over a period of 10, 11 or 12 months, depending on where the member is serving.
Is the living allowance taxable?
Yes, the living allowance is reported as income and the appropriate federal and state taxes and withholdings apply.
Do all JVs receive a living allowance?
No. JVs whose positions do not qualify for AmeriCorps do not receive an AmeriCorps living allowance. Instead, JVC Northwest covers all of the community costs and insurance co-pays and deductibles up to the out of pocket maximum (in addition to paying the monthly insurance premium). JVC Northwest will not reimburse any costs that are not covered by the insurance policy. JVs who do not receive a living allowance receive a monthly personal stipend of $100.
What options are there for managing payments of my federally qualified student loans during my service year?
Historically, it was common practice for individuals engaged in national service to make forbearance requests for federally qualified loans and request that the National Service Trust pay the interest that had accrued on these loans at the year’s end. Now, there are a greater number of options for managing federal loans, including repayment plans options that could amount to $0 monthly payments based on the limited income JV/AmeriCorps members receive. Income-driven repayment plans may be desirable to those actively engaged in national service, because they can work along with the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
The PSLF program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their federal Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full time by certain public service employers. Please note: interest still continues to accrue on income-driven repayment plans, and there currently is not the same opportunity available as with forbearance to request the National Service Trust to repay the interested that has accrued during the service year.
For more information about different types of repayment options:
For more information about public service loan forgiveness:
What are my options for managing payments on non-federal loans or federal loans that do not qualify for national service forbearance or income-driven repayment plans?
Non-federal (i.e. private loans) have extremely variable options for reduction and postponement of payments for loans based on the policies of the loan servicer. It is important to check in directly with your lender/loan servicer to see what options may be available to you prior to your service year. Upon request, JVC Northwest can write letters to lenders verifying your term of service and your income. JVC Northwest cannot help with student loan payments that may come up in your service year.
It is also important to take into consideration that not all types of federal loans qualify for the same options for forbearance, deferment, and income driven repayment plans. Once again, it is important that you contact your lender/loan servicer to know what options are available to you with your loans prior to beginning your service year. For example, Perkins loans options vary by lender and Parent PLUS loans are federal loans, but they are in parents’ names. Lenders will look at parent borrower’s ability to pay when considering requests for Parent PLUS loans. In other words, your participation in a national service program and limited income will not qualify your parent for a reduction or postponement of payment with your lender.
Who is my lender/loan servicer?
Your lender is the organization that made the loan initially; the lender could be your school; a bank, credit union, or other lending institution; or the U.S. Department of Education. Your loan servicer is the company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a student loan on behalf of a lender. If you’re unsure of who your student loan servicer is, you should contact your financial aid office or, for federal loans, you can look it up in My Federal Student Aid.
Can I get student loan forbearance as an AmeriCorps member?
Individuals in approved AmeriCorps positions are eligible for forbearance for most federally-guaranteed student loans. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) cannot approve or disapprove forbearance requests. JVC Northwest can only verify that the JV AmeriCorps member is in an approved national service position. Only the loan servicer can determine a person’s loan’s eligibility for forbearance. If a person does receive forbearance, CNCS will pay the accrued interest AFTER the person successfully completes their term of service. If you have student loans, it is important that you check with the lender to see if they will allow forbearance because of national service.
What is the difference between forbearance and deferment?
- Forbearance – A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced based on certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. If a person does receive forbearance, AmeriCorps will pay the accrued interest AFTER the person successfully completes their term of service.
- Deferment – A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. “Certain conditions” are more specific than those generally required for forbearance.
For more information on federal forbearance and deferment see: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/deferment-forbearance
If my lender does grant forbearance, how does this happen?
The accepted JV AmeriCorps member can apply for loan forbearance after they are officially enrolled in the My AmeriCorps Portal online, after the JVC Northwest Orientation in August. Most members apply for forbearance through the My AmeriCorps website.
What is the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a benefit that AmeriCorps members receive upon successful completion of their term of service. This education award can be used to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, to pay for educational training, and to repay qualified student loans. You can make payments from your award in full or in part, and you can take up to seven years after your term of service has ended to use your award. There are general terms that guide the use of the award and a process to follow to access your funds. The award is subject to taxes. (Note: The award cannot be applied to private loans or parent plus loans. For a list of eligible loans see: http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/ed-award/list-eligible-loans)
How much is the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The Education Award for full-time service for the current 2021-22 service year is $6,345. For the upcoming 2022-23 service year, the Education Award will be worth $6,495.
Is the Education Award taxable?
Yes! Individuals incur tax liability for the year(s) in which they use the award. For this reason, many people decided to not use the entire award within a single year. AmeriCorps will send you a 1099 Miscellaneous Income Form if this amount is $600 or more. Please be sure to notify and send this form to anyone who helps with your taxes. Failure to report this miscellaneous income in your taxes will be followed up on by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and may come with additional fees. AmeriCorps is a federal agency and reports the use of these funds directly to the IRS. Note: Any interest AmeriCorps pays on loans that were put into forbearance during the service year is also taxable. You can request to have this interest paid at the same time you get access to your Ed Award upon successful completion of the service year.
What are the requirements to receive an Education Award?
The JV AmeriCorps member must accrue 1700 hours of qualified service, satisfactorily complete mid-year and end of the year performance evaluations along with site supervisors, and satisfactorily fulfill commitments as outlined by the member contract.
Is there a limit to the amount of Education Awards an individual can receive?
Yes. An individual may not receive more than the aggregate value of two full-time awards. Upon acceptance in the JVC Northwest AmeriCorps Program, please let program staff know if you have already been awarded the equivalent of more than one full-time service Education Award. This will help with the enrollment process.
How can I use the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The education award can be used to repay qualified student loans and to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education and training programs. You can find comprehensive information on using the Ed Award at https://americorps.gov/members-volunteers/segal-americorps-education-award, including more on what kinds of loans can be repaid with the Ed Award. A person has seven years to use the award and it is taxable. You do not have to use it all in one year. This site also gives information on whether or not one might be able to use the award in nontraditional ways, e.g., buy a computer.
For more FAQs on the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award: