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The Jesuit Volunteer Experience

The Jesuit Volunteer Experience

Jesuit Volunteers are invited to engage in one or more years of full-time volunteer service with local organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. JVs serve alongside and accompany communities, while reflecting on social structures and cultures that contribute to inequity, in order to co-create a more just and equitable world. Jesuit Volunteers live together in community, serving in both urban and rural locales across Alaska, Idaho, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. 

Jesuit Volunteers are invited to engage in one or more years of full-time service with local organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. JVs serve alongside and accompany communities, while reflecting on social structures and cultures that contribute to inequity, in order to co-create a more just and equitable world. Jesuit Volunteers live together in community, serving in both urban and rural locales across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. 

JVC Northwest is an AmeriCorps program, meaning that we are part of a network of over 75,000 volunteers serving across the country. Our AmeriCorps partnership comes with great benefits for our JVs, including a $6,495 Education Award.

JVC Northwest is an AmeriCorps program, meaning that we are part of a network of over 75,000 volunteers serving across the country. Our AmeriCorps partnership comes with great benefits for our JVs, including a $6,495 Education Award. 

JVC Northwest is an AmeriCorps program, meaning that we are part of a network of over 75,000 volunteers serving across the country. Our AmeriCorps partnership comes with great benefits for our JVs, including a $6,895 Education Award. 

A Year Guided by Core Values

Life as a Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps member is rooted in our four core values of community, simple living, social and ecological justice, and spirituality/reflection. While everyone’s JV year can vary greatly depending on their unique perspectives and life experiences, here are some general guidelines to what immersion in the four core values may look like:

Community

Jesuit Volunteers (JVs) live in inclusive, intentional community, where all genders, sexual orientations, cultural identities, faith backgrounds, abilities, and economic statuses are welcomed and celebrated. JVs live with three to seven other JVs in a simply furnished house or apartment provided by JVC Northwest. In community, we learn that our lives are interdependent, we have a responsibility to others, and we come together to support one another. Each JV community meets weekly for one community gathering, one spirituality/reflection gathering, and one household business meeting. Everyone shares cooking and cleaning responsibilities.

Social & Ecological Justice

JVs work for peace and justice by being aware of how attitudes and behavior affect others. Being aware urges us to change the attitudes and structures which create poverty, perpetuate oppression, and destroy ecological systems. Solidarity demands that we create change by working alongside people who suffer the effects of social and ecological injustice. We affirm the interconnectedness of life by making efforts to reduce our impact on the Earth. JVs live out this value each day, many through their service placement involvement, and within JV communities through practices like limiting the use of resources, being intentional about how money is spent, transportation choices, choosing to compost, staying educated, and more.

Spirituality/ Reflection

JVs bring to community life a rich diversity of spiritual backgrounds and belief systems. This diversity challenges JV communities to practice reflective listening and conversation in order to deepen and broaden their wonder and appreciation of the myriad ways spirituality can connect us to each other and to the Earth. JVs live out their spiritual values by participating in and facilitating weekly community spirituality/reflection gatherings, and by participating in three retreats throughout the year. The cornerstone of the JVC Northwest year is having the on-going time and space to reflect on one’s transformative service experience.

Simple Living

Simple living is an invitation to live more intentionally and to choose presence and mindfulness over the noise and clutter of a mainstream, capitalist lifestyle. Simple living allows JVs to more fully connect with the communities they serve alongside and to more intently focus on relationships over objects. For some, this is a new concept that can be challenging and rewarding. Though many forms of technology have evolved in recent years from luxury to necessity, many JVs choose to take a critical look at their relationship and habits with technology, and challenge themselves to be more intentional about their interactions with it. JVs may bring musical instruments and other personal items, but are asked to limit the number of possessions they bring to allow for a new outlook on the community and world around them. JVs are asked to not bring personal vehicles unless their placement requires one and to discern what technologies they need during their year.

Benefits

In addition to a rewarding year of service, there are many tangible benefits that Jesuit Volunteers receive throughout their experience. Also, the overwhelming majority of JVs are also AmeriCorps members, which means they receive even more benefits like an additional living stipend and money towards school or student loans.

All JVs receive food and housing, basic medical insurance and additional health costs, commuter expenses (e.g., bike, bus pass), and a monthly stipend of $100. AmeriCorps members receive an additional living allowance as determined by each locale’s cost of living. 

The cost of transportation home at the end of the year is also provided. Each JV is responsible for their own initial transportation costs to Portland, Oregon for Orientation at the start of the service year.

Our AmeriCorps members also receive the Segal Education Award upon successful completion of their service year. This can be used towards future tuition or to pay back qualified student loans. For the upcoming 2023-24 service year, the Education Award is $6,895.

Prior to service, all JVs come together near Portland, OR for a weeklong orientation at the beginning of August. At orientation, JVs engage in training sessions and workshops dedicated to learning about JVC Northwest, our organizational values, the logistics of being a volunteer, and other important issues related to volunteer service and community life, including diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. 

Technical training specific to each JV position will be administered on the ground by the partner agency during the first few weeks of service in August. 

JVC Northwest is proud of our reputation for providing a strong network of support to JVs. Each JV
receives individual support from:

  • A Program Coordinator who visits each community twice a year and is on-call for on-going
    support
  • Local support people who are typically former JVs and members of the Jesuit community
  • Two formal regional retreats providing JVs opportunities to gather, connect, and reflect
  • A large network of former JVs involved throughout the year and beyond

JVs invest hundreds of hours during the year into developing hard and soft professional skills. This intense service experience with a partner agency often opens up new career networks and vocational pathways that remain available long after the end of the service year. For those considering grad school, the practical experience gained as a JV lends real world knowledge to draw upon during your graduate studies. Jesuit Volunteers go on to become teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, social workers, artists, ministers and so much more. Many JVs even get hired at their partner agency upon completing their service year! Service opportunities include: 

  • Community Organizing 
  • Disability Services 
  • Disaster Services 
  • Domestic Violence Support/Prevention 
  • Education 
  • End of Life Care 
  • Environmental Advocacy  
  • Financial Services 
  • Food and Hunger Assistance 
  • Health and Health Education 
  • HIV/AIDS Case Management 
  • Housing and Homelessness Services 
  • Immigration Services 
  • Legal Services 

Many people become JVs to make a difference in the lives of others. Along the way, JVs often discover that they are the ones being transformed by service. Being a JV raises your consciousness of the poverty, oppression, and injustices facing our communities. The experience is challenging on emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels and is often referred to by former JVs as one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Our volunteers transform into lifelong agents of change within their spheres of influence where they continue to work for a just and equitable future. 

After their year of service, JVs become part of a nationwide network of more than 8,000 Former JVs (FJVs) from the Northwest, and thousands more who have served around the country. Many FJVs stay or return to the cities in which they served and become part of the larger JVC Northwest community, connecting with both current and former JVs in the area. Retreats, socials, and other gatherings occur regularly, creating a close-knit FJV community. Through various city-based listservs, FJVs can meet other FJVs in their area, share job postings and resources, post about events, and locate housing opportunities with fellow FJVs. The invaluable FJV network connects and encourages service-minded individuals to remain rooted in the four values of JVC Northwest. 

Get To Know Us

Got a question about life as a JV? Ask a Recruiter!

Jackie Rojas (she/her)

jrojas@jvcnorthwest.org
971.299.4137
Schedule a time to meet.

Joseph Miscimarra (he/him)

jmiscimarra@jvcnorthwest.org
503.449.0526

Attend one of our Virtual Events!

We regularly host information sessions to give you a better sense of what life as a Jesuit Volunteer is like. Want to be notified of upcoming events? Join our email list. 

Discernment Roundtable - Tuesday December 6

 6:00pm ET / 3:00pm PT

Led by Greg Carpinello, Executive Director of JVC Northwest, this roundtable will 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-grad discernment processes. Register here.

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JVC Northwest's AmeriCorps Partnership

AmeriCorps is a federal program that provides grants to organizations like JVC Northwest to help support volunteer service. 

Thanks to our AmeriCorps grant, nearly all of our Jesuit Volunteers are also AmeriCorps members, meaning they are eligible for the additional benefits listed below. 

These JVs are automatically enrolled in the AmeriCorps program upon acceptance to JVC Northwest. No additional application is required! 

AmeriCorps Benefits: 

  • An additional modest living allowance on top of your Jesuit Volunteer stipend 
  • $6,895 AmeriCorps Education Award to be applied to future education or to pay back qualified student loans 
  • Student loan forbearance for qualified loans 
  • Access to mental health counseling 24/7 
  • A nationwide alumni network of more than one million members 

Each year, a handful of Jesuit Volunteers positions are not part of the AmeriCorps program. This is usually because the position requires a level of political advocacy that is beyond the scope of the federal grant. JVC Northwest staff will be transparent with applicants during the interview and matching process about any potential placements that are not eligible for AmeriCorps benefits. 

To be eligible for AmeriCorps, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legal permanent resident of the United States. Note: If someone does not meet the eligibility requirements for an AmeriCorps position, JVC Northwest will still work with you to find a suitable non-AmeriCorps JV position. 

To learn more about our AmeriCorps program, visit the AmeriCorps section of our Frequently Asked Questions (includes information about the AmeriCorps Education Award, loan forbearance, eligibility, and more).  

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! 

10/13/2022 
Notre Dame | Info Session: Discerning Post Graduate Service | 6:30 PM | COffee House in Geddes Hall

10/17/2022
Marquette | Info session (1-2) office hours (2-4) | Career Services Center – Seminar Room