Thank you for taking the time to show interest in the discernment of your family member or friend. Committing to a year of service in a potentially new community is a big step in a young adult’s formation and commitment to live for others. Jesuit Volunteers exist around the world, and your family member or friend will live in solidarity with hundreds of others who make a similar commitment. Many JVs find their time with Jesuit Volunteers to be transformative and nourishing and they continue on their journey after the program. Below is some advice for how to best support your family member or friend as they discern their participation in the program or take part in the program.
The JVC program is a great place to gain professional work experience and hands-on learning about social justice and non-profit work. JVs are placed full-time at a social justice organization where they will be an integral part of that workplace’s team. JVs will be trained according to their placement’s policies in order grow professionally and be an asset to the organization.
JVs benefit from a wide range of support throughout the program. JVs receive support in their faith formation through ongoing spiritual direction and retreats. JVs also receive peer support from living in community with program participants as well as being connected to local mentors. The JVC coordinator also provides ongoing resources and guidance through visits to the JVC community and connecting with workplace supervisors to ensure placements are running smoothly.
JVs are provided with room, board and a small stipend to encourage simple living and awareness of privilege. All JVs are encouraged to live within their stipend and refrain from extra spending or accepting monetary gifts in order to stay true the spirit of the program. The life skills that JVs learn about living within a budget and sharing resources can be carried on throughout their lifetime.
Health and Safety are a major concern for JVC. All JVs will have provincial health-care coverage or be asked to arrange their own private health coverage. JVs also receive training about mental and physical health concerns, and are encouraged to share any potential concerns with JVC support people. In terms of safety, JVs are encouraged to use common sense and reasonable caution in any situation. Crime and instability are aspects of living in low-income areas, and JVC does its best to find safe living situations for its participants. JVs will also be provided with the emergency contact information of the JVC leadership.
Living and bonding with the JVC community is a big priority for JVs throughout their time with the program. While living simply JVs may also not have the same access to technology that they had prior to the program. For these reasons, please allow for some time between communications with your family member or friend. We ask that JVs refrain from long visits away from the community, but visits from family members and friends are a great way for JVs to share the experience with you. Visits should take place after the JVs have had a chance to bond with each other. Providing a listening and understanding ear to JVs in the program is a great support as they encounter many challenges throughout their year. Ask JVs about their placements, community life, or their daily routines. Sending a hand-written letter or a community care package are also creative ways to stay in touch.