This year’s JVs come from 26 states and the District of Columbia and represent 109 alma maters from across the U.S. They come with a diversity of educational and professional experiences, each bringing a unique background and perspective to their positions
Click on the photos below to view our current Jesuit Volunteers’ profiles.
Assistant Program Coordinator, Wagner’s Youth Facility, Belize Central Prison
Gonzaga University, 2015
I was pretty set on some form of post grad service. And I had a really life giving experience in a men’s small group my senior year when applying to different service programs. I think the combination of being able to serve in places where it’s needed, and the element of being able to grow deeper in my own spirituality, to ask questions about what I really desire in life really solidified JVC for me. Also I’m all about the community.
I’m always itching to go rock climbing! I got hooked in college and had fun times at our local rock climbing gym on Friday nights throughout college. I love the quirky and odd community around the sport, and the combination it brings of good friends, adrenaline, being outdoors, and technical skill. If anyone knows of any rock climbing in Belize let me know!
I’m in love with a magical land called Moab, Utah. I took a trip down my sophomore year spring break and have been back a few times since then. On my second visit, we took a hike to Corona Arch, and met a few guys who had set up a giant rope swing off the top. After watching them try it a few times they offered us a chance to give it a go. After a lot of hesitation I decided to give it a go. IT is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life! For a more complete understanding of what it’s like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B36Lr0Unp4
Really bad and lame dad jokes!
I did JVC in Washinton, DC for a year and worked for Miriam’s Kitchen, a social service agency serving the chronically homeless population of DC. I’m a huge advocate for the homeless population, and for the basic humanity that can be shared in a simple conversation. This year, learning a lot more about youth justice.
Mechanical Engineering. I really enjoyed the community I felt at Gonzaga, and I was really good at math/science and enjoyed it.
I was an Adventure Guide for Gonzaga Outdoors, our college’s outdoor club/organization. I led mountain bike, hiking and show shoe trips.
Paralegal, Legal Aid of Western Missouri
University of Notre Dame, Class of 2016
Reading! I read so much in college, but now I feel like I have so much more free time to explore the various subjects I want to study independently (perks of no internet!!). I also love cooking, especially anything with chickpeas.
My community members! Even if I had a tough day at work and come home upset, one goofy joke from them can completely turn my day around.
Ending the death penalty and hyper-incarceration, creating equal opportunities for all women, and advancing LGBTQ rights.
I work with low-income survivors of domestic violence in divorce, custody, and order of protection cases. The most rewarding part of my job is getting to speak with clients daily about their particular situation and helping them navigate the legal system, which can be complicated and unwieldy. It’s particularly exciting when we get the legal outcome our client wants, by returning their child to them or getting them a restraining order.
JVC comes with an amazing community– not just the community you live with, but a wide network of FJVs, support people, staff and friends. The Kansas City community could not have been more welcoming to my community members and I. It feels like I’ve entered into a big family of people who are so kind to us, despite us being strangers. I’ve never experienced that level of unconditional support and kindness from total strangers, and experiencing it in our JV community has been a highlight of my year.
Writing Teacher, TA, & Admission’s Assistant at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
Loyola Marymount University, Class of 2016
I think I was led to JVC and that my time as a JV is leading me somewhere, too. Our house is named after Clare Furay, a Baltimore JV from the 90s who was struck by car and passed away during her time as a JV. In her reflections, she said, “Myself, I am eternally grateful that God’s path took me to Baltimore. I can’t tell you when I figured out that I was leaning on faith with my whole weight.” I agree with Clare; when I look back to figure out what exactly drew me to JVC and Baltimore, I can’t really pinpoint one person or experience. I can only be in awe of how trusting in what is greater than me has somehow brought me to be right where I’m supposed to be.
I have played the piano for eighteen years. I also carpool to my work placement every day in what I have named the “Jesuit Mobile,” with a Jesuit scholastic, regent, and novice!
My housemates Jon, Codie, & Jas make me laugh. We have a quote wall (inherited from the previous community) where we write down all the funny things we say, and all it takes is walking over to it to read something one of them said to get me laughing about it all over again.
Since I come from a family of educators, I feel quite passionate about education, especially the integration of arts into education. Playing the piano has taught me skills such as self-discipline, patience, and creativity, which I have seen translated from the practice room into the classroom and other areas of my life. I think if more kids had the chance to explore these different skills and ways of thought at school, the possibilities of personal growth and expression would be endless.
Being able to work with students in every single grade at Cristo Rey Jesuit means I get to share in the everyday lives of my students. When a student comes to me and says, “Ms. Rudolph, I just got accepted to college!” or “Ms. Rudolph, I got an A on my test!” or whatever little piece of news they want to share, it transforms the most ordinary moments of my day into moments where I share in the joy of another. I feel like I’ve been adopted into a family with three hundred and fifty little brothers and sisters!
I have a degree in Piano Performance and a degree in English Literature. I find discovering out-of-the-box interpretations while playing the piano or reading exciting. I originally went to Loyola Marymount University as solely a piano major, but my secret craving for discussing literature turned my English minor into a double major, which eventually turned into another degree. And now, here I am working as a Writing TA and teacher as a part of Cristo Rey’s English department (and I even get to play the piano for our choir, too).
It’s difficult to pick just one inspiring experience I had, but some of my most inspiring experiences were when I was able to travel to Rwanda, Tanzania, Jamaica, and Tijuana on a number of different faith-based immersion trips with our Campus Ministry. In these experiences, I came face-to-face with not only cultures and peoples I had never known before and learned so much from, but also with a number of complex issues surrounding immersion experiences: volun-tourism, the dangers of a single story, the complicated intersections of the service of people and the service of funds, and so many more. Having conversations about these different issues lead me to really think about being in JVC, a place where I know I could continue having these sorts of conversations in my own country.
Hispanic and Youth Ministry Associate at the Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile
Gonzaga Univerity 2016
Major: English and Secondary Education
Fun Fact: Bad puns make her laugh.
Initially what drew me to JVC was a JV community in San Diego that I met while on an immersion trip to the border wall. They really challenged me to see JVC as more than a ‘gap year,’ but a year that would challenge almost every aspect of what I believed in. Now, as I look back I can see that they were correct. And what has been really intriguing to see is the dismantling of the privilege that surrounds me. I didn’t think very much about my privilege when I applied, but now that I look back dismantling my privilege was the one aspect that I really needed to challenge myself on.
One of my community-mates introduced me to hand-lettering and water coloring and I haven’t looked back since! Our walls are now decorated with my various attempts of being artsy yet reflective as I continue “improving” my technique. I also really enjoy reading albeit slowly, playing banagrams, finding embarrassing pictures of my community-mates and posting them in our house. Honestly, anything that allows me to get to know my community-mates more and on a deeper level is what I enjoy doing during my free-time.
I cannot speak for my friends or family but I would like to think that they would see me as a source of comfort and someone they can come to for support and guidance. I try to make it a point in my day to see those around me as unique creations from a loving God, who simply relishes in the presence of others, who in return loves them amidst their brokenness, and whom you always step away feeling a little bit lighter and with a little more hope. I hope that’s how my loved ones would describe me.
Race and how we can best accompany diverse groups rather than to force them to assimilate to one culture has been a very prominent component of my work. As race issues, hate crimes, and derogatory behaviors towards diverse groups began sweeping the nation I was forced to step back and think “Am I doing the most to represent, respect, and support my diverse upbringing?” The answer was no. I had assimilated to the world around me without contributing my own life and experience because I didn’t want to be categorized as “different”. Thankfully I have come to understand that different is beautiful and what the world needs. With JVC, I work with families who have just immigrated to the US and also with teens that were born in the states and I have noticed that there exists this disparity between the two groups. Knowing what it is like to live on what seems like a balance beam of trying to decide which culture and people I belonged to I have made it a point to help the young adults I work with in recognizing that they belong to both and that they are needed, now more than ever, to bridge these gaps between cultures..
My position is brand new this year meaning that I am the first JV this placement has ever had. My placement and I had to work and be open with each other on how we would accomplish what needed to be done together. At first the gravity of being the first JV really took a toll on me because I feared that I really wasn’t qualified for the job and that I was failing those I served because of my self-doubt but those feelings eventually led me to seeking a deeper connection with God, my supervisor, and my community-mates to where I wasn’t afraid to express my fears and ask for guidance. Now, whenever a hiccup happens I’m no longer judging myself and my abilities but I’m more apt to take a step back, ask for help, and face the problem head on.
How I chose Gonzaga University is a very funny story actually. My aunt was a College Success Foundation Prep Advisor who took a group of students to different colleges around Washington State and she came back from a particular trip to Spokane, WA and told me to apply to Gonzaga because it is one of Washington’s best schools, had a great basketball team, and that it was very “Harry Potter-esk.” She had me at Harry Potter-esk and I couldn’t have been more grateful for my obsession with Harry Potter at the time because it led me to the best four years at an institution that molded me into someone I am very proud to be. Go Zags!
I had the opportunity to travel to Zambezi, Zambia the summer after my sophomore year. While I was there I became very close to a teacher who very graciously let me teach her class. We would sit together afterwards over biscuits and coffee. One day she told me, “You and I are very different and come from very different places but I already love you because God loves you”. She is a simple woman who lives a simple, yet hard life as one of 27 teachers for a school of 900 students. I She set this motion inside of me that allowed me to share my story with those I traveled to Zambia with, students at Gonzaga, and now my community-mates. Her name is Mrs. Melody and we still keep in touch. Her care, love, and impact on me ignited this fire within me to do the same for others which is essentially what JVC strives for in their volunteers, to engage in the stories of others and accompany each other to a more just world. That was what Mrs. Melody did to me and what I hope to do for the people I serve within JVC and beyond.
Being a Service Learning intern for Gonzaga’s Center for Community Action and Service Learning really set the foundation for what I wanted to be involved in at Gonzaga and beyond. Additionally, I was an orientation, campus ministry retreat, and service immersion trip leader, a member of Gonzaga’s Comprehensive Leadership Program, I studied abroad in Zambezi, Zambia through which I became an intern for Zambia Gold, which is a student-run organization that exports fair trade goods from the Northwestern Province of Zambia. I was also the co-founder of MAPs, the Multilingual Assistance Program that paired non-English families with students fluent in the language they needed assistance in when they visited Gonzaga’s campus.
Teacher at Xavier High School
Fordham University 2016
I really just enjoy spending time with people. Here in Chuuk, the pace of life is very slow, so I have ample opportunities to build relationships with my coworkers, community mates, and students. I spend a great deal of my free time playing cards on the porch, stargazing on the roof, and embarrassing myself on the volleyball court.
I have a drawing of Blessed Mother Teresa hanging in my office. It is a constant reminder that, although I want to dedicate my life to fighting systemic injustice, the way that I treat individuals on a day-to-day basis is equally important. Mama T is the perfect role model for caring for each and every person as if they were the most important person in the world, and I try my best to emulate that.
As a teacher who lives on campus at a boarding school, I spend a great deal of my day and evening with my students. I studied International Political Economy, which allowed me to learn about the cross-section of politics and economics as they affect our globalized world. That has, by far, been the most rewarding part of my job..
I studied International Political Economy, which allowed me to learn about the cross-section of politics and economics as they affect our globalized world. Since foreign intervention and neocolonialism have played such a huge role here in Chuuk, I have found that my knowledge is incredibly helpful in my Pacific Literature class and in understanding Micronesia’s unique economic situation.
My most inspiring experience in college was my semester in Pretoria, South Africa with Fordham’s Ubuntu program. Those five months of service-learning, living in community, and trying to learn a new culture were the driving force behind my decision to apply to JVC International. After that experience, I couldn’t imagine not serving abroad for a more extended period of time.
Youth/Liturgical Coordinator at St. Peter Claver Parish
Loyola University Chicago, 2016
Music. Both listening to music and creating music have always been essential parts of my communal and spiritual life. It has been incredibly life-giving and fun to harmonize with my community of four and to explore different artists, songs, genres. Many songs and artists have taken on new meanings for me as they are now associated with new/different people, experiences, emotions. In times when I find it hard to articulate my emotions or thoughts, I often find myself coming across a song and saying “Yes! This is it…this is how I’ve been feeling for the past three weeks!” One song that has really resonated with my being and growing here in Punta Gorda is “Dark Side of the Moon” by Chris Staples. It’s a kind of hand-me-down tune of sorts for volunteers here in PG.
Much of my spiritual experience as a volunteer thus far has been navigating my personal femininity in new and creative ways, whether that be through poetry, literature, music, prayer, or conversations with other females, young and old. I feel like for the first time in a long while I have been given the space and permission to question “who I am as female” and “what my role is as a female in the Catholic Church”, thanks to some pretty grace-filled and passionate women in my life. I am fiercely inspired and awed by the strength and grace of all the prominent female figures in my life…my mother and my two younger sisters, my female friends, my female professors at Loyola, female social activists, and my female community mates to name a few. Christine Lore Webber’s “Mother Wisdom Speaks” certainly speaks to the incredibleness and miraculousness of the female identity that is dynamic and strong.
I think awkward dance moves are absolutely hysterical, whether they take place in spontaneous dance parties or on the dance floor! Our Youth Group team here at St. Peter Claver Parish recently hosted a fair of sorts for PG’s youth to come together and learn about our Youth Group for the year. We gave the kids space to play Just Dance towards the end of the evening. Let’s just say some kids got really into it. I certainly saw some side of their personalities that I’ve never seen before! I joined in, of course.
My past eight years of Jesuit education have certainly transformed my sense of identity as a woman of faith, as well as my understanding that “seeking of social justice” can and has to be vocational. I am navigating and growing in to my new identity of being a volunteer, and it has required an exciting and challenging level of vulnerability, humility and flexibility that has never been required of me to this extent or in this particular wary. This experience required of me an openness and willingness to hollow myself from past experiences and expectations so that I can be filled more wholly. In short, every day has presented its own set of challenges and joys. Be open to the reality and possibility that your expectations will shift according to the desires and needs of other people and of God. This vulnerability and willingness to loosen one’s grip on personal expectations and control requires an immense amount of trust and patience in one’s self and in God, Mother Earth, Allah, etc.
One particular reality and issue that has become more and more present in conversation, on my mind and in my heart are the inherently connected issues revolving around environmental rights and the rights and agency of indigenous peoples, both back home in the states and throughout Central America. There is a connection, a spiritual and historical connection, between Maya communities here in Belize (especially in my Toledo “the Forgotten” District – what does this name suggest?) and the Native American communities back home. Although the justice issues for each of these communities are incredibly complex and different, there is a spiritual connection among the social, political, and environmental violence that each have and continue to experience. Lord I pray, what is my spiritual, social and physical place within these particular systems of injustice as a female volunteer of European descent?
At Loyola, I had the opportunity to travel to the small community of Taize, France on three separate occasions with other Loyola students under the guidance and mentorship of my choir director, a talented individual who is passionate about both the music and pray of Taize but also the simplicity and rhythm of life in this French community of Brothers and Sisters. Taize was an essential part of my weekly prayer life throughout the past four years, and I interestingly enough find it to be an almost daily aspect of my prayer life as a volunteer here in Belize. Its meditative and simplistic nature and welcome falls seamlessly into the rhythm of my days, and it calls me to attentiveness in the present moment…attentiveness to God’s presence. Throughout my discernment process for JVC, I relied on the spaces that Taize provided me to have essential conversation with God and my own heart to find a sense of peace, direction and desire. It was during my experiences in France that I was able to begin these larger conversations and reflections of vocation in a simple space dedicated to spiritual formation and community.
Social Ministry Assistant/Case Manager at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
Regis University 2016
Fun Fact: Bad puns make her laugh.
I like to cook and to adventure outdoors. Cooking for my community is an opportunity for me to unwind and care for myself and others—filling my heart and our bellies all at the same time! I also love to hike, so I take a lot of walks around our neighborhood and the city streets surrounding my placement site. Time spent meandering outside (even when I can’t escape all the way to the mountains) is an opportunity for me to ground myself and to revel in the vibrancy of all that surrounds me.
My supervisor, Sharon. As the Director of Social Ministry at the Cathedral, this woman is a force to be reckoned with! She’s a tirelessly passionate leader, devoted mother, brilliant mentor, and fiercely compassionate nurse—basically, she’s unstoppable. Sharon is an exemplary model of the genuine, strong, grounded, and committed Mover and Shaker that I desire to be in this world.
My nickname in Casa Pedro is “Mama B,” which is definitely fitting of my caring, passionate, hard-working and loyal nature. My community would tell you that I love to cook for them, drive them around in my massive white work van, and genuinely do have endless love in my heart for them, my friends and family, and my “Homies at The Window” (clients at work).
My community! They’re absolutely hilarious!
I feel strongly that the social injustices that plague our world are rooted in a simple disrespect for the dignity of each human being. I am passionate about acknowledging and honoring that human dignity, about treating all people with compassion, and living out the conviction that every person matters, regardless of his or her class, ethnicity, immigration status, criminal background, religious affiliation, age, mental and physical health, gender identity, sexuality, etc.
My position with JVC affords me countless opportunities to learn and to grow while working to support those who are experiencing homelessness and urban poverty in San Jose. From my peers and mentors, I’m learning how to more humbly, compassionately, and effectively serve. From my clients, I’m learning lessons of patience, commitment, humility, and strength of heart. And from my own being, I’m learning just how capable I truly am of being an advocate for change.
Every single day, my preconceived notions, habits and tendencies, and concepts of self, service and other are challenged in some of the most unimaginable ways. Through each of my triumphs and failings at work and in community, my coworkers, mentors, community members, and clients have privileged me with the exact grace and support that I set out to give to others this year. Through this gracious support, I have been able to learn and to grow in awareness and understanding, humility and compassion, and patience and courage both as an individual and as a person engaging in the service of others.
I graduated with a BA in Communication from Regis University. I chose Regis because of the opportunity it afforded me to learn, to grow as a whole person, and to engage deeply in the world with the support of a like-minded community driven by a commitment to living out the responsibility to be men and women for and with others.
Service Learning and Support Coordinator, Civicorps Schools
Stonehill College 2016
Major: English and Secondary Education
Fun Fact: Bad puns make her laugh.
I was drawn to JVC after seeing how much my sister was impacted by being a JV, even after her year was over. I have always had a passion for service and the week-long trips I did in college were never long enough for me. I wanted to experience being thrown into a new city and seeing how much of myself I could put into it.
I’ve been spending time outdoors a lot lately. There aren’t many hills where I’m from, so I’ve been trying to do as many hikes and see as many new things as possible.
My role models are my mom and my four sisters. They have shown me what it means to be a strong and successful woman. They support me and my goals whole-heartedly and I look up to them more than they know.
Education. That’s where it all begins. The more we teach love, the more we will see love.
Cultivating relationships with the students I serve is really rewarding. They are so impressive and inspiring. It takes time to build those relationships, but it is so worth it.
I love reading and writing. There’s so much we can learn from literature. My goal is to encourage students to discover how empowering it is to be able to write and have your voice be heard.
Service trips were the most influential experiences I had in college. They reminded me how important it is to step outside of my comfort zone, leave the safety bubble I was so accustomed to, and see life from a new angle. I saw similar opportunities with JVC.
Law Clerk, The Eviction Defense Collaborative
Saint Louis University 2016
Fun Fact: Is notorious for telling terrible (AKA amazing) dad jokes.
I like to paint copies of famous paintings. I am not the most creative but I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a perfect replica. For me, art has always been an outlet for self-expression, stress release, and creating beauty.
My role model is Jesus, which may sound cliché. This year of JVC has been about exploring the life of Jesus—not as someone who brought harmony and peace, but as someone who was a radical. He sat with sinners and did things that were very countercultural, which is something I am also striving to do as a Jesuit Volunteer.
Living in St. Louis during the riots in Ferguson greatly impacted my views. I was a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar at Saint Louis University and I understood that our world still battles racial inequality but I wasn’t aware of how much oppression exists in our systems. I am now passionate about fighting institutionalized injustice and providing equal access to resources.
The Eviction Defense Collaborative helps 6,750 tenants annually respond to their eviction lawsuits in San Francisco. Serving that many people makes for very busy days and not every client I help will be able to stay in their home. However on a macro level, my position helps to preserve the diversity of this city and mitigate the affordable housing crisis, which is pretty awesome.
I chose Saint Louis University because I wanted to attend a Jesuit university and explore a new part of the country (I am from the Southwest). I left college with many formative experiences, a degree in Psychology, and a love for BBQ.
Youth Resource Coordinator at IMPACTO, Proyecto Pastoral
University of Dayton 2016
Major: Sociology and Psychology
Fun fact: Favorite book is Gone with the Wind.
I enjoy time with my community, playing games, hiking, and soaking up the sun at the beach. I cherish quality time with those I love. I recently got into running; I ran a half-marathon in April and I am training for the LA Marathon in March (with two of my community-mates)! Running is therapeutic for me; it allows me to be with my thoughts.
Charismatic and goofy, yet thoughtful and introspective..
My position involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work coordinating volunteers of the after-school program, but the most rewarding part is the relationships I build with each of the kids. Seeing their smiling faces brightens my day.
I was unsure of a career when choosing a major. I knew I wanted to work with people (kids in particular), but wasn’t sure in what capacity, so I picked a major that would help me understand the intersectionality of interpersonal and intrapersonal relations.
JVC represents a lifestyle. My time with JVC and my placement in the Boyle Heights community in LA has changed my perspective. I have become more aware of how certain issues affect our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I spent nine weeks before my junior year living in community and serving the people of Salyersville, KY though The University of Dayton’s Summer Appalachia Program (UDSAP). A main focus of the trip is to foster relationships with the local kids and their families. We hosted a day camp and a teen center, and visited folks in a nursing home. UDSAP is centered on the pillars of the Marianist tradition, which are similar to those of JVC. UDSAP was my first true experience of faith in action, intentional community, service, and social justice. I fell in love with it all. After that experience, I knew I wanted to continue putting my faith in action while serving God and others.
Tenant Organizer, Tenants & Neighbors
Creighton University 2016
Major: Anthropology and Spanish
Fun fact: Loves dinosaurs, Disney, singing, dancing, and knitting
Although I don’t seem like an outdoorsy person, it was a huge part of my childhood. My dad taught my sister and I how to snow ski, sail, and kayak, and frequently took us on camping trips. I still love skiing, sailing, and kayaking.
The relationships I get to build. Every tenant has a different story, and I learn something new from everyone I meet. Seeing tenants achieve victories in the midst of some of their biggest struggles, and getting to celebrate those victories with them is the best part of my job.
The relationships I get to build. Every tenant has a different story, and I learn something new from everyone I meet. Seeing tenants achieve victories in the midst of some of their biggest struggles, and getting to celebrate those victories with them is the best part of my job.
Women’s rights. In college, I researched the influence of women’s social movements on the creation and implementation of laws against gender violence in Argentina. Now that I’ve been learning about and working in housing in New York City, tenants’ rights have also become a passion of mine, and I firmly believe that housing is a human right.
During the semester I spent in Argentina studying social movements and human rights, we did not only learn about social issues in the classroom, but also spoke to the people experiencing and fighting against those issues. Each student also had the opportunity to conduct an independent research project. The experience led me to consider JVC because after spending so long learning about injustices, I wanted to spend time contributing concretely to justice and working toward change.
Public Benefits and Housing Advocate, Make the Road New York (MRNY)
University of Portland 2016
Always: my mom, Lorenita, and my friend, Coito, because they marry truth and wonder in their understanding of the world. Currently: my co-workers because they are relentless hustlers. They’re as generous as they are smart and they won’t stand down in their dedication to justice.
I did a lot of growing up in a taqueria (the family business)! After school while my mom worked I sat in a booth with my Mexican Coca Cola and a book, and the regular customers were my friends. The taqueria was listed as my emergency contact until maybe a little too recently.
The warmth of a place like Make the Road. Baseline at MRNY is the understanding and practice that every single person in that space is welcome and worthy of belonging to one another. Not only does that feel really good but it’s the stuff that real and transformative political power is made of. Imagine what a feeling like that could do for our immigration policy?
I’m realizing that working for justice is about putting your pants on one leg at a time like everyone else each morning, and showing up. The JVC year is an opportunity to practice what is hopefully a lifelong commitment to this special form of ordinary devotion.
Racial justice. Because of my own story as a Latinx Mexican immigrant, and because it orients how I think about my family and loved ones almost every day. And because of the way race is so specific to who we are, and will be as Americans.
I had the opportunity to advise a group of high school students in creating a know-your-rights handbook on local laws and procedures in response to police brutality. Many students disproportionately witnessed or experienced negative encounters with the police because of their race and socioeconomic status. The handbook was a small step in trying to reclaim some power. Our students met and exchanged in dialogue with Portland Police and the Portland mayor, and it helped me understand how personal policy is, on both the making and receiving ends.
Education Coordinator, Room In The Inn
University of San Diego 2016
Major: Political Science and Theology
Fun fact: Born on National Hangout Day, which explains a lot about his interests
My dad. Despite working for a gang unit in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in a highly demanding job that often required him to work nights, he still managed to be at every one of my little league games where he was my coach. Along with being my father, mentor, and coach, I can also gladly call him my friend. And I am proud to be the son of Lt. Jerry Hartman.
I like to hang out with my community-mates, work out, watch Netflix, and call friends and family at home. These activities give me the space to internally and externally process my experience as my JV year goes on.
The ability to form relationships while growing and learning from my coworkers, as well as those that I serve at Room In The Inn. Learning from coworkers who have varying degrees of experience, as well as many individuals who are experiencing homelessness, has allowed me to have a much deeper understanding of homelessness and its underlying issues.
I wish people knew how large the JVC network is. Former Jesuit Volunteers are located around the nation and they continue to carry forward the mission of JVC, as well as support current JVs wherever they live.
I changed my major five times. I started out as an Electrical Engineering student. After a change of heart in career paths, a long trial process and learning, I decided to study the subjects (political science and theology) I was most interested in and see where they lead me.
I was a campus ministry retreat and immersion trip leader, bible study leader in Young Life, worked in USD’s Career Development Center as a Career Ambassador, played intramural sports, played club water polo for a year, was involved in my major’s honors society’s, and routinely hung out in my campus coffee shop or cafeteria.
Youth Coordinator at Cantera
DePaul University 2016
Major: Peace, Justice and Conflict studies
While I did apply to other volunteer programs, the sense of community ultimately led me to accept the invitation with JVC. I felt strongly connected with JVC’s four values in my previous service experiences and wanted the opportunity to explore them further. The emphasis on faith was important to me because it encourages us to not only engage in service, but to finding meaning in it. Finally, the community of staff, former volunteers and current volunteers are truly a family.
Music has always been important to me. I spend much of my free time listening to and creating music. Music holds a unique ability to connect us to one another. I enjoying sharing my music with others and the goofy sing-along sessions that follow.
To me, there is no better sound than that of children laughing…even if it’s at me. I am still very connected to my inner child. Their curious minds and simple lens with which they see the world warms my heart.
Through my experiences working at public schools in Chicago, I have seen the widespread disparity of funding among schools and the impact that has on the wider community. Each child is born with infinite potential and it is our job to ensure that they have the tools to live up to that and beyond, and education is the key that makes it possible.
DePaul is unique because it is Vincentian. The Vincentian Mission recognizes the importance of the dignity of all and of working to create a preferential option for those living on the margins. Located in Chicago, DePaul was the perfect environment to explore what this mission looked like in action.
Teacher, Our Lady of Mercy High School
Major: Philosophy and Political Science
My role models are my parents. My mom and dad are two of the most selfless, strongest, and smartest individuals I know. I could not be here in Pohnpei if not for them (if you are reading this: thank you, and I love you).
I enjoy running, cooking, listening to music, and spending quality time with people. Each of these fosters a healthy sense of well-being, because they help me express myself and create a space to feel connected to others.
I was originally interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, but after I took a service learning course with a philosophical and theological perspective, my soul found its match in areas of social justice, politics, and community service. I loved studying philosophy and political science together. Philosophy allowed me to think about why the political and social world are the way they are, but in studying political science, I thought about how they ought to be and how to make it possible.
As a high school English teacher, the most rewarding part has been the ability to talk with students about the social issues that are prevalent in their community, especially because I perceive this to be a significant time for the Pohnpeian people. I have tried to empower them to reflect on the abilities they have to address social issues now or in the future. I have faith that students I have met, and those that I teach will become the islands next generation of great leaders.
At BC I was involved in several service learning and immersion trips to different areas of the U.S., as well as a trip to Puebla, Mexico. Each one was an insightful experience which contributed to my overall purpose in life and here in Pohnpei.
Program Assistant, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
Mount St. Mary’s University (the Mount for short) 2016
Major: Sports Management
I was most intensely drawn to JVC’s value of simple lifestyle. I find living simply to mean more than just lessening material goods. Simple living can be so healthy for thought, prayer, conversation and much more.
Those closest to me would probably say that I am either acting based on some deep, existential train of thought, or being goofy and eccentric—two vastly different behaviors that make me, me.
I love humor that is witty or absurd. Pretty much any material written by Tina Fey, like 30 Rock or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Time with my community is full of witty, absurd jokes and there is never a dull moment!
JVC helps expand one’s perception of society and the world. My time with JVC has extended my comfort zone in such unique ways, and I enter spaces with a newfound sense of curiosity. It is amazing to have intentional conversations with community members about sensitive topics that the majority of society is apprehensive to delve into.
The simple value of presence. The elders I accompany express a sense of gratitude that is exorbitantly humbling. It is incredibly rewarding to experience how affirming human connection is. Especially because it is something I tend to take for granted at a young age.
Being a leader for the Outdoor Adventures Program at the Mount allowed me to witness an immense transformation in others and within myself, while using the outdoors as a catalyst for recreation and intentional growth. I led day trips and week-long expeditions for students in rock climbing, canoeing, caving, backpacking, teambuilding and more. I have seen innumerable paralleled layers that JVC and the Mount’s Outdoor Adventures program hold.
Intake Assistant, South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program
University of Detroit Mercy 2016
Major: Criminal Justice
I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, from Flannery O’Connor to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Nicholas Sparks. I also enjoy being outdoors. From getting lost in the woods to getting lost in a book, I enjoy time to myself.
The academic advisor from my first year of college. She has so much love for her students. I aspire to be like her and have the love for my job and community that she does.
Hearing the stories of our clients and the joy in their voices, along with seeing the relief in their faces when we are able to help them or direct them to other resources.
JVC is much more than simple living and sacrifice. It is about walking with those you are serving and sharing your story with those in your community. It is very rewarding.
I chose UDM for their location in the city and their vision to rebuild the surrounding area. I chose my major because I have always enjoyed the law and wanted to learn more about the enforcement aspect and how I can make a change.
I was involved in University Ministry, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Student Government, Student Advisory Board for University Ministry, and the Pep Band.
One year I was one of the coordinators for the first year students’ retreat and I worked closely with the JV that worked at UDM. Together the JV and I worked hard to put together a good retreat. It was then I realized that I wanted to do something more after graduation and from there I started to discern a year of service.
Case Manager & Group Facilitator – Saint Louise House (2016)
Floor Monitor & Volunteer Coordinator – Pope Francis Center, Detroit (2015)
Villanova University 2016
Major: Political Science and Communication
Fun Fact: In high school was voted Class Giggler which is still accurate today.
At 23 my mother left her home in Uruguay and started her life in America. Mother Goose, aka my mom, works as an advocate for migrant workers, raised my sister and me, and is working toward her general education diploma. She only has one serious flaw–passive-aggressively asking when my sister and me when she will be a grandma. On a more serious note, I aspire to be as strong, loving, funny, and wise as my mom.
I think that’s just a way to ask how I would describe myself, to which I would reply, “I’m a real hoot.” However, I asked my friends and family what they think of me and their responses were: Socially-conscious, laughs at everything, cries at everything, and has the biggest heart.
I was standing on the mezzanine of the Pope Francis Center, where I served my first year with JVC, when my program coordinator’s name popped up on my phone. After being told where I would be serving, I thanked my PC and got off the phone. My eyes filled with tears of joy and fear, I took a breath to calm myself, and then called my mom to tell her I was moving to Texas for my second year with JVC. It’s one of the defining moments of my life.
From the perspective of intersectional feminism, it’s not possible to discuss and critique any oppressive structures without looking at other structures because they’re all connected. I spend a lot of time discussing the white, heteronormative, male perspective that dominates media and education. I also discuss concerns around treatment of animals and our planet when looking at products we use and waste we produce.
Living in the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas, gives us ample opportunities to see bands live. However, I want my community to get invited backstage after the show or become good enough friends with a band that they give us VIP tickets. Something along those lines that will make for a good story.
Emergency Services Outreach Worker at Catholic Charities
Wheeling Jesuit University 2016
Fun Fact: She’s a new vegan who loves trying out wacky plant-based recipes!
It might seem strange but I love to walk through cemeteries. The atmosphere is so peaceful and I find it calming to read the names and dates on the gravestones. I also enjoy good conversation, classic novels, old movies, and singing Hamilton (and other show tunes) too loudly in the shower.
I find nothing more devastating than children around the globe whose basic needs are not met. During college, I served at an after-school program for inner-city youth which provides nutritious meals, tutoring, friendship, and fun activities. Working with these children for four years set my heart on fire and confirmed that I want to dedicate my life to serving youth.
I was involved in theater, student government, symphonic band, vocal groups, our social justice club, campus ministry retreats, service immersion trips and was a resident assistant my senior year.
Living in the Mother Jones House in East Wheeling during my sophomore and junior years at WJU molded me into a woman for others. Volunteering at an after-school program opened my eyes to the reality of what the youth in my Wheeling community are facing (obesity, domestic violence, financial instability, structural racism, and more). These experiences ignited a passion within me that I could not ignore, and I decided to do a year of service after graduation before starting an MSW program.
Floor Monitor and Supply Coordinator, The Pope Francis Center
The Catholic University of America 2016
Fun Fact: The character Carl that Andy Samberg plays in one single episode of Parks and Rec makes him laugh.
Dorothy Day has played an important role in my formation as a person. From her conversion to her humility and solidarity with the poor; her life has been an inspiration and challenge.
I love to run half and full marathons. Running long distances gives me the opportunity to be both active and contemplative as I process the events of my daily life.
I was getting ready for baccalaureate mass the day before graduation. That moment brought my senior year full circle. It marked an end to my time at CUA and the beginning of my experience as a JV.
I am excited for the humbling experience of playing a small yet vital role in meeting the most basic physiological needs of men and women experiencing homelessness in Detroit.
I led a service project through campus ministry in which we took leftover food from the cafeteria on Friday afternoons to men and women experiencing homelessness in Franklin Square, a large park in downtown D.C. It was beautiful to see so many students show up each week to form community with our brothers and sisters on the street. Friday food runs showed me the importance of good leadership at the intersection of faith and social justice.
Tenant Services Assistant, Breaking Ground
University of Michigan 2016
Major: Philosophy and English
Fun Fact: Very active in her university’s Tae Kwon Do club as an officer and instructor – she even won a few medals in tournaments!
Adventurous, intelligent, and someone with no “stranger danger.” I think they were probably more worried about me moving to NYC more than I am because of that.
I love writing because it is so rewarding. It’s therapeutic, artistic, and through it I learn a lot about myself. Keeping a journal is underrated; just ten minutes a day of writing can help you in so many ways!
Two friends from college who graduated before me participated in JVC and had amazing stories to share about the program. Upon more research, I knew JVC would be a good fit because I really appreciate JVC’s four values.
Most people would say that a double major in Philosophy and English is equivalent to a double major in unemployment, but I pursued these disciplines because they invited me to open my mind to different ideas.
I was involved with the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan. The experiences I had while working with incarcerated youth and adults allowed me to see the marginalizing effects our criminal justice system (and broader society) has on people. It allowed me a space to listen to the stories of inmates, and this led me to JVC because I wanted to continue to be a source of encouragement and help for people whom society has marginalized.
Street Outreach, The Oasis Center
Le Moyne College 2016
Major: Psychology with minors in Biology and Religion
Fun Fact: Loves creating characters in his head for stories – storytelling is a favorite pursuit of Ryan’s.
Two of my professors from college – women who had the passion in their fields that I want to have in all the work I do. Their compassion for others is something that I can only aspire to match.
I’ve had two heart surgeries for medical conditions I was born with. I try not to act like there was anything ever wrong with me, so when people find out about this, it tends to shock them.
I had a professor in college who was a JV in the past, and she turned me on to the program. Another professor told me it would be something she could see me doing. As these were two of my favorite professors, I took their advice and applied.
I’m really excited to get to know my fellow JVs and explore a new area. New adventures and places are some of my favorite things in the world, and exploring them with a new group of people sounds like a good thing to me!
I chose my major kind of as a fluke; I started a biology major and got shut out of needed classes. I checked out some electives and loved psychology more.
Becoming the president of Le Moyne’s LGBT+ club and using that platform to spread a positive image around the school. Realizing how happy my school was to help promote a positive LGBT+ image was amazing.
Pregnancy Center Program Assistant, The Northwest Center
Marquette University 2016
Major: Biomedical Sciences
Fun Fact: Llamas are her favorite animals
Coming from a Jesuit school, I was inspired to look for something after college that would be a fulfilling experience for myself, my faith, and my community. JVC provided me with an opportunity to combine my passion for social justice with a program that challenges me to live out my faith through action.
I’ve heard that the neighborhood we’re going to be living in holds a neighborhood clean-up the first Saturday of every month and I’m looking forward to joining in that effort with my community!
Health disparities. I believe that health is a human right. Health care and medicine have always fascinated me, and throughout my college career as I dove into the more social side of medicine I began to question why certain people receive health care while others do not. It’s hard to believe that people living in the same city may have a 15+ year difference in life expectancy due to their race or socioeconomic status.
I chose Marquette because of its Catholic, Jesuit identity. I toured the school and simply fell in love. Milwaukee is an incredible city and offered so many opportunities to college-age students willing to branch out and explore.
I was a part of Orientation Staff, Pi Beta Phi sorority, Hunger Clean-Up, Companions in Leadership, and Senior Challenge.
One of my most inspiring experiences at Marquette was attending the first ever Social Justice in Action conference. The conference allowed me to listen to all types of community partners and their experiences regarding social justice work, as well as learn how to be a better ally and how to explore my privilege. This happened as I was finishing the interviewing process with JVC and it left no doubt in my mind that I wanted to spend a year working to strive for a more just society.
Teacher/Counselor, St. Peter Claver High School
Regis University 2016
Fun Fact: Has participated in musical theatre for the past seven years.
I was at my work-study job at school when my Program Coordinator called and gave me the incredible news. I was so caught off guard I spilled my coffee on my papers and then proceeded to have a celebratory solo dance party. I then ran straight to my supervisor who was my reference for the application and told her. Great day!
I’m thrilled to work with the amazing students of SPCHS and learn from them each new day (and also beat them in soccer at lunch).
I pursued an English degree because of my love for creative writing and literature, plus the department at my college was incredible. I’m so excited to share my passion for reading and writing with my students.
Each semester I performed in an annual Concert for a Cause which started as a small open mic night my freshman year. With each new semester, the fundraising goals grew larger and the impact spread wider with each person involved. To blend my love for music and social justice was an incredible and memorable experience.
English Teacher, Miguel Pro K-12 School
Rockhurst University 2016
Major: Spanish Education
Fun Fact: Her name, Ani, is a ruined city in Armenia with the nickname, “City of 1,001 churches.”
I had just gotten home from a long day of teaching and sat down on the couch to do some grading. I received a call from an unknown number but was not thinking it would be JVC as I had returned from Discernment Weekend just a few days earlier. When I heard my Program Coordinator’s voice on the line I froze, but as he told me about my placement I felt a calming presence take away the fears and anxieties I had over the past few months. I took the weekend to think about it, but I knew instantly that God was calling me to accept this mission.
Developing relationships with the local community – that is where one can begin to understand the host culture in an effort to better serve the people of one’s host country.
As a teacher, I know the power each of us holds when we walk into the classroom. Solving the issue of inadequate education begins with each educator. The decision we make to put our students’ needs before our own will impact the educational system if we persevere.
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but it was my first Spanish professor at RU who helped me identify my passion for the Spanish language and my desire to share it with others—inside and outside the classroom.
I spent 10 weeks at a Jesuit secondary school in Gulu, Uganda before my senior year at Rockhurst. During this time I learned the meaning of accompaniment and of my desire to live a life of service in whatever community I am a part of.
Paralegal, Battered Immigrant Project
Xavier University 2016
Major: Psychology and Sociology
Fun Fact: She’s been to five continents.
Oh, the usual– Loca the Pug videos, my grandparents, and bathroom humor.
They would say I am wild at times and a bit of a prankster but balanced by a deep care for others; determined, contagiously passionate, brave, and loyal. Oh, and that I am always traveling.
Social justice is so integrated into the JVC lifestyle. I appreciate that, as a JV, I will be able to work for social justice at my placement and also live it out at home and everywhere in between. I’m grateful that JVC gives me the opportunity and support to live more intentionally and meaningfully. I am excited to grow, live simply, and in solidarity with my JV and Raleigh communities.
EcoJustice. I spent the summer researching climate-based migration and the human effects of climate change in Kiribati, one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change (here’s a small plug, look it up!). It’s so unfair that a country that does not contribute to climate change faces the direct effects, while the polluters keep on polluting with insufficient reprimands. Environmental injustice directly affects food and water security, public health, migration, race relations, power relations, education, and consumerism. It is also something that unites all of humanity.
I spent a life-changing semester studying in Cape Town, South Africa through Marquette University’s Service Learning program. In Cape Town, I discovered a passion for working with refugees and other displaced people. Living with 20 like-minded students fostered the social justice activist inside me, helped me be the best version of myself, and helped me do the best work for my clients. I am looking forward to having another supportive family through JVC while working with vulnerable communities.
Pastoral Ministry and English Aide, Colegio Lecaros
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University 2016
Major: English Creative Writing
Anything outdoors, particularly running and hiking, because nature inspires me. Nature is one of the places where I encounter God most because of all of the beauty it holds.
The four values of JVC drew me in because they are already ideas I value and I wanted to learn how to live them out even more deeply. I am excited in particular about the opportunity to walk with my community mates, to keep each other accountable, and to help each other become better people.
I have always been deeply rooted in my faith and I can’t wait to share that faith with others. I am excited to talk to the students about their faith and life experiences. I look forward to really getting to know them and their stories so I can better understand how to accompany them in their journeys.
During the last three semesters of college, I wrote a fiction novella about homelessness because I noticed how novels and short stories have impacted me. I wanted to share my passion about a social justice issue to inspire others to care more about the issue.
Pastoral Assistant, Parroquia San Pedro
College of the Holy Cross 2016
Fun Fact: She’s a huge prankster and loves seeing someone’s reaction when something happens that they least expect!
I really look up to women who empower each other. I would not be where I am today without these women that serve as my teachers, mentors, mothers, sisters, and friends. They are intelligent, kind, supportive, well-respected, loving, and generous. These women not only make things happen for themselves but share their gifts and talents with the world so that others can be the best versions of themselves.
I love Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. I worked at a scoop shop in Vermont for three summers and I still have all of the flavors memorized. The ice cream is not only delicious but it also addresses social justice issues while being socially and economically conscientious. It’s how I started to see a relationship between my money and its impact on my community. I guess you could say that working at a scoop shop contributed to my path toward JVC by sparking my interest in social justice issues and business ethics.
In one word: Adventurous. They would also tell you that I befriend strangers wherever I go and eat a lot of food. I am a foodie and love to eat!
I will never forget the feeling that came over me when I knew for certain JVC was the next step for me. At College of the Holy Cross I received my first Communion and then received my second Communion at JVC Discernment Weekend. I could see that as I was leaving Holy Cross, a place where I found my faith, God gave me this new opportunity to continue to explore and deepen my faith with JVC.
Having spontaneous dance parties!
Case Supervisor, Friendship House
Georgetown University 2016
Major: English and Government
Fun Fact: Knows a great deal of the Hamilton soundtrack by heart.
I love to (and am pretty easy to make) laugh. I am a huge fan of Comedy Bang! Bang! (both the podcast and the television show [but mostly the podcast]).
Going to concerts, especially seeing new and local musicians, is one of my favorite things to do in my free time. Music inspires my own creative pursuits and it’s also a great way to see different parts of a new city.
The opportunity to put the ideal of being a “person for and with others” into action. I have heard that saying throughout my 17 years of Jesuit education and have come to deeply value the philosophy that informs mission statements like it. At Friendship House, I will have the privilege to act upon this guiding phrase in the real world by being in solidarity with individuals at some of the most difficult times of their life. I look forward to serving them in the best, most empathetic way possible.
I chose Georgetown because it is a globally-minded institution that emphasizes the importance of using one’s acquired knowledge to give back to her/his community. The English and Government courses that I took both inspired me, and provided me with the tools to live out the school’s social justice-oriented mission through a combination of my words and actions.
Team Member, L’Arche Mobile
Stonehill College 2014
Fun Fact: Competed as a speed skater as a child. Think Apolo Anton Ohno!
I met a recruiter at my college and upon hearing about the way community, social justice, spirituality, and simple living meet in JVC, I decided I had to apply.
Anything artistic! I love to paint, take photos, knit, color, or collage. I feel at peace when I’m being creative and feel like I’m not fully myself when these aren’t a part of my daily life. I need that release.
My mom, Lisa. She is a strong, loving, funny, and dedicated woman. I strive every day to love with my whole heart like she does.
The most rewarding part of my position at L’Arche is community life. I come to work every day to see twenty loving individuals and I get to share my life and love with them. What could be better than that?
My degree is in psychology and it didn’t start off that way. I entered college intending to become a teacher and realized quickly that I loved getting to know people more than I wanted to educate them. Psychology is a combination of interaction and connection that provides the basis to work with individuals in a counseling or leadership position.
I participated heavily in Campus Ministry with retreats, service, reflections, choir, and ministry roles. I also danced on a hip-hop step team.
Youth Minister, Seton Home
University of Notre Dame 2015
Fun Fact: Parks and Recreation and Friends make her laugh.
I feel like I don’t have a lot of free time between work and community life in JVC! When I do find some free time, I like to read or spend time with people exploring new places. I also like to cook or bake new things.
An outgoing, caring person who has a unique laugh. My community members tell me that I ask a lot of questions when I meet people.
My work at Seton Home has grown my passion for working with children who are trying to navigate the difficult and complicated Child Protectives Services. In my experiences, these children are trying to find an advocate or have to be an advocate for themselves in a system that is set up for them to be numbers rather than people.
The most rewarding (and challenging) part of my JVC position is that I never have a day that I know completely what to expect. Working with teenage girls and babies all day leads to a lot of unexpected twists and turns which is fun, yet can be exhausting.
I wish people knew how diverse the people in JVC are. In my wonderful community, we have seven very unique, beautiful souls who each bring something to the table. The commonality between us all is our passion for social justice.
I had the opportunity to serve at a Children’s Home in South Africa through the University of Notre Dame’s International Summer Service Learning Program. I was tasked with teaching, tutoring, and playing with the children at the home. It opened my eyes to the difficulties that children have when they are unable to grow up in a ‘typical’ family structure. The experience led me to explore full-time post-grad service opportunities and JVC!
Garden Coordinator, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School
Xavier University 2015
Major: Philosophy, Politics, & the Public
Fun Fact: Coerces his community into doing yoga for beginners on our rooftop, much to the shock of the neighbors.
The prospect of living a year intentionally in a radically new environment. My younger self enjoyed many make-believe adventures, and now I have an opportunity to live that out as an adult. JVC is a chance to live outside myself, simply and progressively.
Gardening. Aside from being my job, I find it rewarding to spend time outdoors under the sun. Humans have fed themselves for thousands of years through manual labor, and I enjoy keeping in touch with that spirit.
I hope they would describe me as curious. I consider curiosity to be the most important driving force in my life.
Food justice. It’s fascinating to me how complex food systems evolve over time, and yet we can’t manage to distribute food equitably in the 21st century. I’m interested in the tension in providing affordable, healthy, and ethical food.
Discovering those students who genuinely enjoy spending time in the garden, even when that means pulling weeds in the Arizona heat. They remind me to hold on to that sense of childlike wonder.
I studied in the Philosophy, Politics, & the Public program. The interdisciplinary major appealed to my tendency to jump from topic to topic without covering the ground in between. The program instilled in me a desire to lead a life of civic engagement, and this challenge led me to JVC.
Arrupe Fellow, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School
Gonzaga University 2015
Fun Fact: Not uncommon to see fer falling out of her chair laughing about something one of her housemates said.
I actually had a dream about JVC which kick-started my process of applying, but I also had friends at Gonzaga who were applying and I liked the idea of having an opportunity to explore a new area of ministry while living with a group of people who were going through something similar.
Before JVC, I would have told you that I like to read, rock climb, and play guitar. Although I still like all of those things, I spend most of my spare time hanging out with my housemates and friends I’ve made this year. I love it because I’ve realized this year how essential relationships and conversation (and the opportunity to be silly) are to my happiness.
One who has come to mind a lot this year is Ryan Miller. He is the pastor of the church I attended during college. I admire that he is willing to explore challenging topics in church and that he is able to create dialogue around differing beliefs with grace, respect, and authenticity.
People who have met me this year might be surprised to know that in college I was working towards a career in Forensic Psychology–I even interned with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. But people who met me during college might be surprised to know that I’m headed in the direction of Campus Ministry now.
I recently finished directing the last of our five freshman overnight retreats, and that opportunity was the most rewarding so far. It was such a gift to watch the freshmen participate in activities which helped them to understand that their classmates all have unique stories and struggles, and to watch them begin to understand that they’re not alone.
My freshman year, I got involved as a mentor for a program called Eye to Eye and later became a student coordinator for the program. I was also involved in an improv group called Gonzaga University Theater Sports (GUTS) and I led and participated in retreats and small groups through University Ministry.
Volunteer Coordinator and Food Pantry Organizer, St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen
Neumann University 2015
Major: Psychology; Youth Ministry Minor
Fun Fact: I was a member of the Neumann University Field Hockey team
JVC allows me to put my faith into action in many different ways. Whether it’s through leading a spirituality night for my community or showing compassion to one of my clients, this experience has shaped not only my faith life but who I am as a person in ways I didn’t know were possible. There is no better way to find yourself than to lose yourself in the service of others.
I am passionate about feeding our hungry and homeless brothers and sisters. This world has more than enough food to feed everyone in it and the fact that there are hungry people infuriates me.
The most rewarding thing about working at the kitchen is the relationships I develop each day with both the volunteers and clients. I have never seen the face of God in people more profoundly than I do here; it’s truly an honor to be of service to them in any way possible. They have forever changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I was a psychology major with a double minor in theology and youth ministry. I knew at a young age that I wanted to help people, and through my time at Neumann my desire to be a psychologist shifted to becoming a campus minister.
Going on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi to follow the lives of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. During that experience I realized I wanted to become a campus minister and walk with other students in their faith journeys.
Resident Activities Coordinator, Project Lazarus
The University of Georgia 2015
Fun Fact: Can quote every line in Remember the Titans.
The late director at the University of Georgia Catholic Center: Father Tom Vigliotta, OFM. Father Tom had a fiery passion for justice that was tempered with an easy smile and a quick wit. In the spirit of his order’s patron, St. Francis, he took great delight in the joy of the Gospel that he found in nature and in all people. He set my heart on fire for others, and I would not be where I am now without his guidance. Our friendship reminds me to strive to erase the margins of society, and do so with joy and a good sense of humor. I’d like to think that he’s proud of the path I’ve chosen, but playfully rolling his eyes somewhere at the thought of me working in the spirit of the Jesuits.
My community is hilarious. We are constantly teasing each other about Beyonce and “small grease fires.” When people think about justice work, they often forget to laugh. I think this is a mistake. Inside jokes, ridiculous stories, and Chris Farley SNL reruns have become a pillar of my JVC experience and have kept me joyful in my work..
Equal access to healthcare is something I’ve grown passionate about this year. Being healthy ought to be a right, not a privilege. I’m witnessing what it means to be medically underserved, and what it looks like to not have access to healthcare, and I hope to help further fight this issue in the future..
Each of the residents at Project Lazarus has taught me something about myself, New Orleans, or justice issues. Developing these relationships, while learning and growing alongside the residents has been the best part of my JV year.
JVC not just for graduates of Catholic schools. JVC is not just for people who have been fighting social injustices their whole lives. JVC is not just for Catholics, or Christians for that matter. JVC is for the big-hearted and for the dreamers who refuse to accept the world for what it is and dare to do something about it. I’m fortunate enough to live in the shadows of giants in the New Orleans community, and I’m learning every day what it means to be a JV. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Community Health Program Assistant, United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
Santa Clara University 2015
Major: Theater Arts (with minor in Biology)
Fun Fact: Loves bad science jokes.
During my junior year at SCU I realized I was not ready to jump directly to medical school after graduation. I began researching post-grad opportunities and found JVC. It provided the perfect opportunity to spend a year living in an intentional space where I could serve others, travel, learn and be provided the support and encouragement I needed to figure out my next step.
I texted my dad this question and his response was, “committed, kind, smart, organized, joyful (except in the morning) and a little goofy sometimes.” Thanks Dad.
The TV shows New Girl & Friends always make me laugh. I also love when it is party day and the senior center below my office and they play the Cupid Shuffle.
I am most passionate about issues of access to and distribution of health care resources. My placement’s mission is “Bridging the Gap to Health & Wellness,” and every day we work to remove barriers that keep people from receiving the care they need. It has been overwhelming to recognize the quantity of barriers that our system creates. It has also been empowering, especially as someone intending to become a physician, to more fully understand where our systems are lacking and what solutions could exist.
It is not a year-long summer camp. I assumed JVC would feel like a year of camp or a never-ending retreat with rules and schedules and some “JVC police” holding me accountable. In reality my year with JVC has been what my community and I have made it to be. In some ways this is easier; in a lot of ways it’s the biggest challenge.
Street Outreach Case Manager, The Oasis Center
Seattle University 2015
Major: International Studies
I was drawn to JVC because of the stories of friends who have been JVs. They told me how challenging but rewarding their experience was. I now know how true that is.
Goofy, fun-loving, positive, people-oriented, independent, and stubborn. I have never noticed these traits more than when I began JVC. Being in a new city with completely new people has taught me so much about what I value and how people perceive my personality. I feel grateful for this new perspective on how I approach relationships.
Before starting this position, I don’t know if I would have said combating youth homelessness was my passion. Now, I know for certain that it is. Because of the wonderful people I have met in this position, I will always work to make sure youth have a warm, safe place to sleep at night.
I like to listen to music and explore my surroundings. Nashville is dubbed “Music City” so there is never a shortage of free shows and talented people around every corner. Nashville is also incredibly beautiful, so I like going on new running routes to explore my neighborhood.
It would take me pages and pages to write about the joys that come with each day. However, the part I enjoy the most is getting to know each person as an individual. It is too easy to label and lump into the category of “homeless young person” and forget about other aspects of their being in this world. The most rewarding part for me is building trust and creating a safe space for them.
Librarian, St. Martin de Porres Primary School
Loyola Marymount University 2015
Major: Theological Studies and Political Science
Fun Fact: Went to the Ellen DeGeneres show three times with friends, and because they danced so much, she now has a couch given to her by Ellen.
I was very motivated by my time spent in Argentina with the Casa program. After a semester of accompaniment and community living there, I knew JVC was exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. I am continuously inspired by the impact of JVC not only on the lives of the FJVs that I have met, but also in places like Chile where I had the privilege of visiting last year before applying.
I enjoy listening to music not only because I will never get tired of listening to Justin Bieber, but also because music can take you almost anywhere. I can hear a song and it reminds me of my semester abroad, or I think my best friend and I singing Karaoke in our room to Sam Smith, or of a dance video that my friends made when we were bored.
One person who comes to mind most is the moderator of our college service organization (the LMU Belles). Donna has been such a light in my life. She handles challenges that come her way with such grace and optimism; I feel honored to have been close to her during my time in college. I continue to be inspired by her love even here in Belize.
I get to be “Ms. Library Lady” to all of the students at St. Martin de Porres Primary School! Even though I don’t get to teach them in an official capacity, I have a lot of opportunities to engage them in learning. I get to help them become interested in learning about things that they would have never been interested in before. Our library is a great resource center, yet some of the best moments with my students are during break periods when we are just hanging out talking about music or their lives.
Site Coordinator, Harry Tompson Center
Boston College 2015
Major: Management and Leadership; Theology
Fun Fact: Huge fan of jokes about Star Wars and puns of any variety.
The specifically Ignatian combination of participation and reflection, of work and community life, drew me to JVC. I wanted to work in a social justice-oriented position, but the support of a community was an essential factor in my search.
I love to read. I split my time between science fiction or fantasy novels and theology works. I love the escape that fantasy novels offer, but most of my reading offers new perspectives for reflection on my own life.
Having ordinary conversations every day with people who come into the center. Often the conversations are about sports, or what festival is happening in city because New Orleans always has one somewhere. These conversations give a sense of community at work that keeps me wanting to go back.
I wish people had a better sense of how important the home life of JVC is. Living with six other people is very challenging and even more fulfilling. Coming home to love and support after work has been the bedrock of my JVC experience.
Studying abroad in the Philippines with Casa Bayanihan, a simple living, service learning program in the Ignatian tradition allowed me to connect with people, with whom I was living and serving, in a deep authentic way. The appeal of this possibility of authentic connection led me to choose JVC.
Youth Advocate, Covenant House
University of California, Los Angeles 2015
Fun Fact: Finds showering, brushing her teeth, and packing for travel incredibly tedious (but she wishes to thrive in society, so does take time [albeit not much]
to maintain good hygiene)
What really cracks me up are silly jokes or when someone just keeps on laughing. Did you know laughter is contagious? Ha ha ha HA! Did you catch it?
I am most passionate about LGBTQ+, race, social class, and mental health issues. These issues affect me in a personal way, so I’m striving to learn more and become a better advocate for myself and others, especially those who don’t have the opportunity and privilege to do so for themselves.
It is a challenging space to be in. It’s challenging if you don’t fit the status quo (Catholic, Jesuit College Alumni, White, Heterosexual, Middle Class), challenging if you and your community mates just can’t communicate, challenging to balance serving the homeless by day but returning to your comfy bed by night, challenging to be hundreds of miles away from home and your loved ones, and in many more ways. It encompasses so much more than what people typically assume of a “year of volunteer service.”
During my sophomore year I saw my Primary Care physician, and as she inquired about my health, I started to cry. With the most caring voice, she asked why I was crying as she handed me tissues, and I told her I get emotional when I talk about problems I have. As the conversation went on, she firmly looked in my eyes and told me that I deserve to be happy. That was the first time anyone had ever told me that, and it was cathartic. After that I started going to counseling and focusing more on my mental health.
This led me to JVC because I wanted to spread the message to all those I encounter that they deserve to be happy, especially those who have been told all their life that they are not good enough.
Community Involvement Coordinator, Neighborhood Service Organization
University of San Francisco 2015
Major: Architecture and Community Design
Fun Fact: Recently discovered she’s allergic to wool, which is a bummer because she is experiencing her first winter weather.
Trying and seeing new things is my most important self-care practice because there’s so much to learn about others and one’s self. I especially enjoy exploring Detroit because it is full of history and new opportunities. Detroit may not have the greatest reputation, but I’ve fallen in love with its unique characteristics.
Homelessness and gentrification. Housing is a human right and everyone should have access to a safe, affordable home. Instead of gentrifying the community, social and economic development should benefit the locals. Displacing people can destroy community, the livelihood and the richness of place present in the neighborhood.
The most inspiring experience was when I traveled to the Philippines for my architecture thesis and visited an informal settlement called Payatas. Payatas is known to be a garbage dump. During my stay, I realized the sense of community there is so strong, despite their living conditions. This experience has inspired me to take an asset-based approach when interacting with others, in which I learn from the community and build on the strengths they already have.
Community Health Advocate, ACR Health
University of Michigan 2015
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Fun Fact: Kid President brightens every day of his life.
I’m fortunate to call many people role models, but Trey Boynton has been on my mind this year. She is the director of the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs at The University of Michigan. Her example has imparted two essential lessons: positive leadership is essential to creating authentic, lasting change; and we should be able to discuss social identity as readily as we discuss the weather.
Most things make me laugh; my faith is deeply joyful. Our world is afflicted by deeply entrenched injustices, but whenever I interact with someone (even those I passionately disagree with), I cannot help but be grateful for them.
Equitable access to healthcare (including nutritious food and shelter) and educational opportunities are the only long-term investments that will create a better tomorrow. The lack of comprehensive sexual education illustrates the intersectionality of these issues: addressing the power and privilege historically present in sexual relationships would go a long way towards raising a generation that is confident in themselves and understands consent.
I love my position most of all for the people I work with. I’ve been so humbled by the stories entrusted to me and the selflessness of our amazing volunteers. I also get to educate the community about sexual health, tech literacy, and food access; I couldn’t ask for a better fit.
You are welcome in JVC whether you are deeply religious or do not practice any religion. Volunteers draw motivation from their faith, but each volunteer has a different experience in what “faith” means. I am personally not in JVC because of my Catholic upbringing, but rather a need to work for justice.
Teacher, Fe y Alregria School #44
University of Pittsburg 2015
Major: English Literature and Spanish
Fun Fact: Her eight year old sister, Rebecca knows best how to make her laugh.
My journey to JVC was a total accident. It was thanks to a good friend that I was even introduced to the program at all! I knew after reading more about the values, however, that this was exactly what I was looking for in a post-college program. I was most drawn to JVC by the commitment and approach to social justice. It is a holistic and realistic look at what social justice means and how it can be approached domestically and internationally.
I love to listen to podcasts. I follow three regularly but I’m always looking for a good new program to get into! I favor podcasts that focus on storytelling and sharing the experiences and points of view of a variety of people. I enjoy learning about paths in life that I might never have considered before, and being able to escape for an hour or so into someone else’s reality.
One of my biggest role models in the incredible Tina Turner. Ms. Turner faced a lot of adversity, but she never let anyone dull her shine and stop her from being the natural born diva that she is. She exudes a feminine strength and a “just try and keep me down, I dare you!” attitude that I admire greatly.
I used to want to be a dentist. Sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling. My one reservation is that I doubt I have the ability to tactfully interact with patients who don’t share my passion and dedication to oral hygiene. I imagine a lot yelling at kids with cavities and adults who refuse to floss. Probably not the best bedside manner, right?
Recently, I have become more passionate about prison reform and the country’s approach to prosecuting crime. As an intern in my local sheriff’s department I was exposed to a lot of realities and the experience sparked in me an interest to learn more about all aspects of our justice system. I am currently learning about exoneration projects that look at potential cases of mistrial for reasons of discrimination, corrupted evidence, or lack of reasonable doubt.
Teacher, St. Peter Claver High School
Marquette University 2014
Major: German, with a minor in Philosophy
Fun Fact: At age five won a contest to name the mascot of a minor league hockey team
JVC is a formational experience with spirituality and community at its core. I was drawn to this because other programs offer the opportunity to volunteer without these aspects. From my experience, these qualities in service and life make for a better, but often harder, experience that is much more rewarding and life-giving.
My students – they are so willing to teach me about their lives and culture.
Becoming part of a place and peoples’ lives. We JVs have the unique opportunity to integrate into the community and feel at home here in Dodoma. Just as rewarding is being shaped by my new home and friends with ideas and experiences I’ll always carry with me.
The life of a volunteer isn’t only hard work and sacrifice—however important that may be—it’s also a lot of fun! Sharing life with new people in a new culture is remarkably difficult but it also lends itself for the chance to share remarkable joy.
My service-learning semester in Cape Town, South Africa inspired and challenged me to look beyond myself and to work and learn for and with others. I sought to deepen my experience of culture and life with JVC’s international program and I’m grateful for the chance to have returned to the African continent to walk with and learn from people in a new way.
Food Programs Assistant Manager, Preble Street
Saint Joseph’s University 2015
Fun Fact: Plans to go to medical school to become a physician after JVC (even though she studied philosophy in college)!
At Saint Joseph’s University, community service is a common extracurricular activity. I met some of my best friends through service activities, and wanted to foster a similar community post-graduation. JVC was a way for me to jump start my professional life as a woman with and for others with a community of likeminded individuals.
Portland is a beautiful city, and its surrounding areas are spectacular. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my new state by hiking and camping on the weekends!
My friends and family would describe me as thoughtful and determined. My discernment process leading up to JVC was extended, and I have been dedicated to being the best I can be and giving the most I can give throughout this experience.
Food puns! I’ve never seen so much food in my life. Preble Street is armed with the resources to serve 1200 meals a day–do you know how mushroom that takes up?!
Every day that I leave work, I am satisfied knowing that I have fed hundreds of people going hungry in Portland. Although the work is physically and emotionally demanding, we provide a service that our clients literally could not survive without. It is rewarding to be able to work so closely with an issue I am passionate about.
I took the science classes required to apply to medical school, but I was passionate about philosophy as a unique discipline–one that forced me to think about human existence and the human condition, rather than just the scientific explanations of those phenomena.
Clinic Flow & Health Apprentice Coordinator, Casa de Salud
Saint Michael’s College 2015
Fun Fact: Auditioned for Survivor two years ago and got a couple callbacks!
My mom and dad moved to the U.S. from Guatemala when I was very young to provide me with opportunities that would’ve been difficult to seize in Guatemala. With very little money, no friends or family, and no knowledge of the English language, my parents moved to Rhode Island and began working long shifts at numerous jobs while arduously working toward learning English. Fast forward twenty-three years and my parents have accomplished what they set out to complete. They have successfully provided a private education for my younger siblings and me and they put me through college. My mom works as a healthcare professional in the NICU department of Women and Infants Hospital and my dad is also happy with his career. When I think of ambition, hard work, and positivity, my parents always come to mind.
Every day is different. Some days I may only interact with four patients and some days I do many blood draws, assist in procedures, provide harm reduction services to up to fifteen patients, and go non-stop for my entire shift. In addition, I enjoy working closely with clinicians because it allows me to explore which path in the medical field I want to pursue. Coordinating the University of New Mexico health apprentices is also a rewarding experience; their energy, ambition and motivation keeps our clinic running like a well-oiled machine.
I was a biology major with minors in chemistry and religious studies. In the midst of my college search, I wanted to attend a college that valued academic success, had a great biology program, and also valued service-based learning. I received a book award during my high school’s National Honor Society for Saint Michael’s College, and upon being accepted, decided to attend.
A couple years ago I began what is now one of my favorite hobbies–taking pictures and capturing moments that resonate with me. While some people like to journal about events, I do my “journaling” by taking pictures. It allows me to explore my artistic side and also allows me to capture incredible moments that can’t be described but only seen.
Teacher, San Jose Fe y Alegria primary school
Spring Hill College 2014
Major: Early Childhood Education
Fun Fact: Is her best self while dancing; it brings her profound joy and refuels her
My mom is a Spanish teacher and growing up my brothers and I would be her helpers after school. I’ve always loved working with the little ones, using creativity, and wanted a profession in which I could serve others. Being a teacher was the perfect combination of those things.
I taught Zumba classes weekly, was President of the Students for Life Club, a member of the SHAPE retreat team and served with the International Service Immersion Program in Kingston, Jamaica and Managua, Nicaragua.
I was inspired to accept myself and be my best self during my sophomore year in college. That spring, I lost all of my hair to alopecia universalis and since then I have grown. I have grown to love myself as I am, to embrace the flaws, and to be able to give in abundance from that.
My grandfather Reinaldo is the hero in my family. His courage and resilience is something I strive for. He was a political prisoner in Cuba and escaped to freedom on a small boat. He later risked being recaptured by returning to Cuba to bring my grandmother’s family to freedom. He was entregado a Dios and devoted to Our Lady of Charity, and it was exemplified in the way he lived each day.
A gentle dancing spirit con corazón
I’m most passionate about the pro-life movement and upholding the sanctity of life at all stages. I believe social justice begins in the womb.
Embracing the unknown and jumping into the uncomfortable is one of the most beautiful ways to encounter God. JVC provides an incredible formation that supports you in-country and fosters a glorious growth.
Resource Specialist, St. Francis Center
College of the Holy Cross 2015
Fun Fact: Doesn’t laugh too often
As I approached the midway point of my senior year, I sort of remembered that I needed to find a job after graduation. However, I really had no idea what I wanted to do (a stance my parents weren’t too eager to hear). Cue JVC – which offered me a yearlong opportunity to work a fulfilling job, grow in my faith and live in a loving community that challenges me every day.
Each member of my family presents something I strive for: My mother instilled in me the importance of having faith in something bigger than myself. My father showed me the importance of hard work, integrity and being true to one’s roots. My older brother is a better, funnier and shorter version than myself who taught me the importance of embracing people for their quirks and shortcomings. And my little sister inspires me each day to move forward despite setbacks and difficulties I may encounter.
My roommates would argue that it is the fact that I have the shortest commute to work, but in reality it is the ability to put names and stories to individuals in the homeless community. It can be easy to make broad, derogatory assumptions of how individuals find themselves homeless and I am thankful for the opportunity to more intimately understand the reasons people become homeless.
For two years I played on the varsity soccer team. I use the term ‘played’ lightly because I was most often found not on the field, but firmly rooted to the bench. After an early ‘retirement,’ I became much more engaged in service and campus ministry opportunities. I particularly enjoyed helping out in a local kindergarten class and participating in Spring Break Immersion trips.
Refugee Youth Worker, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County
Fairfield University 2015
Major: Politics and economics, with a minor in Spanish
Fun Fact: Syracuse is the farthest west she has ever been.
My strong Jesuit education at Fairfield drew me to JVC. The lessons I learned at Fairfield aligned well with the mission of JVC.
I love the beach because I find the ocean very peaceful and relaxing. I also enjoy reading and watching Gilmore Girls for the eighteenth time in a row.
The kids at my site placement make me laugh the hardest. Recently, we were in the car and “Hello” by Adele came on and they responded to the song by saying “hi” whenever Adele sang the actual word “hello.”
My students are easily the most rewarding part of my position. They are genuinely excited to be here in the United States and excited to be learning.
I was involved in the Kairos retreat program at Fairfield and was co-director of the program my senior year. Other activities included service-learning and volunteering with Head Start.
Law Clerk, Eviction Defense Collaborative
University of Notre Dame 2015
Major: Accounting and Psychology
Fun Fact: Was a member of the Men’s Boxing Club in college, participating in an annual charity boxing tournament to raise money to support the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh.
I really like exploring cities and doing outdoor activities. I love hiking because of the physical exertion and the eventual reward of an incredible view. Hiking also is a form of prayer for me, as I am able to appreciate the natural wonders around me and the God that created them. Luckily, the Bay Area provides for endless areas, neighborhoods, and parks to wander and appreciate.
Unlike the typical corporate jobs that I would have started if I hadn’t joined JVC, through my placement helping low-income tenants fight their evictions, I have the opportunity to make significant positive impact on others’ lives every day. The victories are wonderful and the defeats can be crushing, but the involvement allows me to feel intense emotions and put my whole self into my work. This is both a rewarding and challenging opportunity.
There are fantastic people involved with JVC. From my incredible roommates to the other West Coast JVs I met at Orientation, it is refreshing to see, as JVC’s mission statement says, “passionate young people…fostering the growth of leaders committed to faith in action.”
I went to Notre Dame because I loved its Catholic character, the strong academics, and the well-rounded student body. I picked accounting because it was a skill that I could apply to many different business jobs and studied psychology because I loved studying how the mind works and how it influences human behavior.
Assistant Director of Christian Service and Campus Ministry, Cristo Rey San Jose High School
Saint Louis University 2015
Fun Fact: Bungee jumped off a bridge in South Africa during study abroad
I spend my free time writing letters, exploring with my community, and reflecting. Writing letters has always been one of my most treasured pastimes. I think there is something about sharing thoughts with friends and family that we know will not reach them immediately. Exploring San Jose and Santa Clara with my community has brought about many bouts of laughter, some shared sighs, and plenty of stories.
Seeing the same 250 students walk through the doors each morning. We see each other at our best and at less than our best. We grow together, learn from one another, and slowly share our stories with each other. The opportunity to be a positive, enthusiastic, and passionate role model for the students keeps me coming back.
JVC is not just a year or two of service, but a chance to practice living with intentionality among a group of individuals committed to doing the same. After this year life will not “return to normal” for me. This year I plan to explore ways of living simply, building community, loving unconditionally, fighting injustices, and deepening my spirituality that will continue for the rest of my life. Completing a year in JVC is not the goal, but rather the catalyst. It is the chance for a beginning to a life lived in service of others.
Campus Ministry was a sanctuary on campus that allowed me to connect with spiritual mentors and other students in vulnerable and challenging ways. Participating in the International Student Ambassador program gave me the opportunity to welcome international students to campus, provide assistance in their time of transition, and create friendships. College was a time to explore, be adventurous, and try new things. With this attitude I found myself hosting a show on our campus’ KSLU radio station, joining the Jesuit Honor Society, and dancing on SLU’s Korean-Pop dance team Cherry Crush.
Family Self Sufficiency Case Manager, St. Joseph Center
Rockhurst University 2014
Major: Global Economics
Fun Fact: Makes a mean PB&J
The appeal of the JVC stems from my desire to use the knowledge and skills acquired at Rockhurst University for the betterment of others. I was drawn of the prospect of love and self-sacrifice being the focus of each day. JVC offers people an adventure rooted in deeds, intellect, community and social justice. What’s not to love?
My father. He loves unconditionally and has a simplicity of mind and heart that is contagious. My dad is always giving his time, money and thought to others, expecting nothing in return. He has blue collar humility, always quietly doing what needs to be done. If I end up being half of the man he is, I would consider that a satisfying life.
I have a particular interest in the economics of social justice issues. A year in JVC will help me understand social work and societal problems more intimately, in order to one day help enact prophylactic socioeconomic solutions. JVC is a vital first step in a lifetime of pursuing positive social change.
The focus on client stories. My clients are on the edge of self-sustainability and my job is to be a resource. If they need help with a college application, resume, or finding housing, I make sure my client has the proper resources. I have the fortunate position of being able to see real change in my clients, and it’s my responsibility to be part of a positive chapter in their stories.
I believe the four values are pretty straightforward once you stumble upon them. I wish more people in our generation could see the tangible value in a one or two year commitment to volunteering and pursuing social justice. I have found my true and best self when I am selfless, but it took an initial leap of faith. I know now that JVC will make me a better brother, son, husband, and businessman in the future.
Engagement Specialist, Bethesda Project
Le Moyne College 2015
Fun Fact: She is a twin.
My family would describe me as passionate because I become absorbed in the work I am doing. I often want to educate my family about the causes that I am working on, and they are never surprised when I have a new cause I want them to hear about.
Working with my clients and diving deeper into the four values of JVC. In my work, I have the opportunity to examine the causes of homelessness. It is important to get a deeper understanding where my clients are coming from and how their circumstances are different but might have led to the same outcome. It is a good feeling when a client is able to move into supportive housing.
JVC is about challenging yourself. The experience of being a JV is a process that is not easy or simple. As a JV community we often have to make difficult decisions together regarding how our house runs. JVC is a program that survives on community and commitment. It is both a rewarding commitment and a challenging process.
I chose LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY because of the atmosphere. The students and professors were so set on making me feel like a future dolphin when I first arrived on campus that I felt like I was always meant to be a dolphin. I chose my major because working with others has always been my passion. Psychology has taught me a lot about myself and others.
My role model is Maya Angelou. Angelou wrote, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” As a JV I am often faced with clients that have experienced many hardships. It is important to acknowledge how hardships can negatively affect us but also how we can learn and grow from them. Hardships do not break us; they strengthen us against future adversity.
Patient Assistant and Assistant Behavioral Health Case Manager, Kansas City CARE Clinic
John Carroll University 2015
Fun Fact: huge Jurassic Park nerd; as a kid wanted to be a paleontologist.
I was attracted to JVC because of the first word of its name, Jesuit. My transforming Jesuit education at John Carroll University allowed me to discern that there was only one post-grad service program out there for me. I also enjoyed the numerous placement options JVC had to offer around the country.
The summer after my sophomore year I lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation as part of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty internship program. I assisted St. Anne’s Mission in the organization of mission groups and events for local children. This rewarding experience planted the seed for me to ultimately join JVC.
The odd and awkward moments while living in community–there are many! These are already some of my favorite memories of my experience in Kansas City.
I am very passionate about access to healthcare. My placement allows me to work with this issue every day as I interact with a diverse group of patients who are seeking our exceptional care.
My role model is my Dad because without his hard work, constant support, and investment in my education I would not be a Jesuit Volunteer. I hope to emulate him as I work with the KC CARE Clinic to provide quality healthcare to those who are uninsured and under-insured in Kansas City.
Graduate Support Assistant, De La Salle Middle School
Xavier University 2015
Major: Strategic Human Resources Management
Fun Fact: Good puns and really corny Laffy Taffy-type jokes make her laugh
Coming from a Jesuit school, I wanted to continue to grow in an environment that focused on immersion and reflection for spiritual growth, cultivates awareness of my daily choices, and allows me to serve with others in a community for the pursuit of social justice. Also, several of the people that inspired me in college had nothing but fantastic things to say about JVC.
I live by the mantra “responding to every call that excites my spirit.” This includes trying new foods, supporting local coffee shops, listening to local bands, and capturing a city’s unique landscapes and architecture through photography. All of these things excite my spirit, help me to connect with people and eventually to fall in love with the city I am living in or visiting.
Being able to go through a process from start to finish. At my placement I work with 10 seniors supporting their college application process. Watching the students transition into the next step of their lives and knowing they are furthering their education to pursue their dreams is very rewarding.
As a Jesuit Volunteer, no matter where you go you are a part of a community of volunteers. The connections you make with other volunteers, former JVs, and other volunteer groups is incredible. You will meet people who have different experiences but share common core values. The support available is unbelievable as is the willingness to help us all create memorable experiences as JVs.
I was fortunate to be heavily involved with Xavier Alternative Breaks for all four years. Xavier Alternative Breaks is a program where students become aware of different social injustices. These experiences empowered and challenged me to understand my relationship with the community through direct service, education and reflection.
Red Apostolica Ignaciana
DePaul University 2015
Major: Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse
Fun Fact: Has a deep, undying love for the music of Ke$ha.
Knowing that I have been formed in the Vincentian tradition at DePaul, I wanted to experience a different charism of Catholicism. Naturally the Jesuits came to mind. I am beyond excited to dive into Ignatian spirituality and the Jesuit tradition to see how they complement and differ from the Vincentian tradition.
My junior year I lived in an intentional service and faith-based community called the Vincent and Louise House with nine other students. In many ways, it was like JVC but for undergrads and was one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. It gave me a taste of intentional community and at the end of it all I knew I wanted more. I wanted another experience of devoting myself to the tenets of faith, service and justice while living in intentional community. JVC seemed like the perfect next step for me!
I love anything related to music—from writing, to listening, to going to shows, music makes my soul come alive. I also absolutely love cooking. Not only is it relaxing for me, but there is something powerful about eating food that I made with my own two hands, especially when it is shared with someone! Hospitality and shared, communal meals are two important values for me!
Stephen Colbert. The man is a satirical genius. I also tend to laugh at myself a lot!
Prison abolition has close to my heart for years. At DePaul I had the opportunity to work with many youth who had experiences in the juvenile justice system and a few opportunities to work in prisons alongside some of the guys on the inside. These experiences and the stories and relationships I gained from them truly shined a light on the injustices of mass incarceration.
Policy and Communications Coordinator, Alliance Housing Inc.
University of San Diego 2015
Fun Fact: Moved every few years during childhood, including to Japan, Hawaii, and four U.S. cities (her dad was in the Navy).
During my junior year, I went on the Search Retreat offered by University Ministry. While the retreat was inspiring, what moved me the most was getting the opportunity to lead the retreat my senior year. This community at USD solidified by decision to do JVC, because I wanted to be able to continue forming my faith with people my age, and felt that the values of Search fit in so well with the values of JVC (maybe because Search was created with the JVC values in mind!).
I majored in sociology, with minors in ethnic studies and economics. Sociology helped me make sense of the world, and identify all of the social structures and dynamics that I had recognized from a young age without realizing it. Ethnic studies helped me examine these structures more critically with a racial lens. I added econ as a minor after realizing how important it was to grapple with what I was learning in sociology in terms of our current economy.
Just about everything. I laugh way too easily–often at my own jokes and myself. Being able to laugh has been so important to my overall wellbeing this year; to find the humor in the challenging parts of community and simple living.
Racial justice. Every aspect of our society, from housing to employment to the criminal justice system, is embedded in racist structures. Especially while working in social services this year, it’s impossible to ignore the brutal history of what has been done (and what still happens) to people of color in the United States. As a white woman, working for a racial equity requires acknowledging and divesting from my own privileges, which isn’t easy. My placement at Alliance Housing gives me the opportunity to work against racial inequality by advocating for and with our tenants, many of whom are people of color.
Family Outreach Coordinator, Red Sox Foundation & Massachusetts General Hospital Foundation Home Base Program
University of Scranton 2015
Fun Fact: The only time she has left the country was for an immersion trip to El Salvador in college
My role model is my Mom-mom. Mom-mom has overcome many obstacles while keeping her faith in God and loving others. She will always be there for me and has inspired me to be a better person.
Growing up, my Mom-mom emphasized the importance of helping our soldiers when they come home. This aligns perfectly with my JVC placement. Home Base Program is a multi-faceted facility for post 9/11 veterans and their families. It is now our duty to ensure these incredible men and women receive the care, means, and support they need to enjoy the freedoms they fought so hard to protect.
One of the most rewarding aspects is the people I work with: a mix of veterans, active duty personnel, and people with military connections. The passion they have for this organization is incredible.
I chose the University of Scranton for many different reasons, but the main reason I fell in love with the school was because of the community. The Scranton community pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone, saw potential in me I did not know was there, and challenged me to not only question but to change the world. Scranton quickly became my home and the foundation for my involvement with social justice efforts.
What do you wish other people knew about JVC?
JVC is so much more than just a year of service. It is a time of self-discovery, expanding your horizons, and developing relationships with others and your faith. It is a time to explore a new city, become confident in yourself and your abilities, and live in solidarity with others. Never again will you have so few responsibilities to be able to move to a new city and do a year of service. Why not take full advantage of this opportunity?
Tenant Services Assistant, Breaking Ground
Regis University 2015
I wanted to be challenged. Moving to a new city, working at a placement in Times Square, living in community with five strangers, and having to earn the trust of the neighbors in my building all present challenges, but I know I will grow from this experience.
Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian peace activist, is one of my role models. She embraces her identity and motivates others to challenge the status quo.
In my work at my JVC placement, I live out my passion for housing issues. I believe housing is the first step in overcoming numerous barriers for low-income individuals. Current programs to address homelessness are not creating enough affordable housing for the increasing demand.
JVC is not just for those who want to work in the nonprofit sector or want to serve in the name of the Jesuits. It is so much more than that. From my position, I have gained skills in conflict management, event planning and group communication, which will all transfer to any career I want to pursue.
What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during College?
I was really involved in student government for my four years in college. Being able to voice student concerns and plan community-focused events on campus were my main reasons to serve in student government.
Refugee Employment Strategist at the International Institute of Wisconsin
University of Portland 15
Fun Fact: Obsessed with the smell of books. Has an Instagram account (@book_smells) where he reviews the smells of old books as if he were reviewing fine wines.
I appreciate JVC’s commitment to simple living. Pope Francis has stressed the Christian obligation to denounce what he calls the “throwaway culture,” and I think he’s right on. Especially as the planet begins to suffer from the consequences of climate change, we can no longer afford to consume at the rate we have been.
JVC is full of joy. Friends and family sometimes act as if I’ve taken some sort of solemn oath in joining JVC, thinking that being a passionate person means being a serious person. But some of the most important aspects of living in community are goofy things like dancing to Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” while doing dishes.
In third grade, I decided I wanted to be a poet when I grew up, and since then my fascination with language has grown and grown. By the time I graduated from high school, I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up (I still don’t), so I decided to study the thing that fascinated me most: English.
So far, I have been most impacted by the trips to the airport to pick up refugees who have just arrived to the U.S. It is a huge honor to be one of the first Americans to welcome a family to their new home after they’ve waited years to build a new life in the U.S. It’s an exciting time to be working with refugees because the influx of Syrian refugees in Europe has sparked a global conversation about how best to serve displaced people. It’s cool to know that I may be meeting some of the 10,000 Syrian refugees President Obama has promised to welcome in 2016.
Director of Retreat Ministries, St. Peter Claver Parish
Loyola Marymount University ’15
Major: Health & Human Sciences
Fun Fact: Likes journaling, garden gnomes, and going on adventures
I have a lot of role models and mentors in my life but one that comes to mind is a man named Tyrone. He ran the food pantry for the homeless community in Hollywood I served with for the past twenty years. He is one who always stood for justice, humility, solidarity, and putting love into action. Before I left, he told me, “the homeless don’t get a day off, so neither will I.”
My friends and family would probably describe me as someone who tries to find meaning in everything, loves having deep conversations and reflections, sharing stories, being outside hiking, reading, and writing. My faith is also very important to me and a big part of my life.
I went to Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Course. It’s taught me a lot about gratitude, intentionality, and leadership.
During my time at LMU, I served as president of Magis Service Organization, an all-male service organization built upon the Jesuit ideal of the greater glory of God and is founded upon the principles of service, spirituality, and diversity. Magis has been an environment that has constantly challenged me to focus on my character rather than my reputation and has challenged me to stand up for what I believe. This environment of intentionality and growth to become men and women with and for others led me to JVC.
I hope to learn how to live simply and depend on myself to wake up in the morning, not a white mocha iced coffee with a shot of espresso.
I am very passionate about diversity, as my mother’s family is Latino. I feel like I can connect bridges between the Latinos and Caucasians because I am from both communities. Previously, I have attended multiple Latino summits, and I have taken multiple diversity courses throughout high school and university.
While I attended a Jesuit college preparatory school and university, JVC was always present in the community; however, it was a Jesuit in training who was a close friend, professor, and mentor who recommended I apply for this program. I wanted to make a difference throughout my year off between undergraduate and dental school, and I believe that this is my best possible option!
I ran varsity cross country for my first two years of university, and was the captain of my college swim club for my final two years. I helped officiate the swim club as an official varsity sport this upcoming year. While I studied abroad in England at the University of Birmingham my senior year, I ran cross country and played water polo. Throughout my college career, I participated as a jazz and classical trombone performer, Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity founding father, student mentor and founder of First in the Pack (first generation college student mentor program), National Communicator for the Resident Hall Association, Hope Lodge volunteer, Loyola Ambassadors (Tour Guide), Pi Mu Epsilon (Math club), Loyola American Chemical Society student affiliates, Diversity Club, Gospel Choir, and National Eagle Scout Association member. These activities gave me the leadership and social skills I needed to get involved with a positive year-long volunteer experience.
English Teacher, Loyola High School
University of Notre Dame ’15
Major: Pre-medical Sciences and Theology
Fun Fact: Has a twin, won a 5lb. chocolate bar as a kid
The summer before I leave for Tanzania is actually pretty busy! First, I am sitting in Noosa, Australia, on the last few days of a tour of the country with the Notre Dame Folk Choir. I’ll have some time at home before JVC Orientation in July, but then right after I will be spending a month living at the Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend, Indiana, as a summer volunteer. Until I leave in December, I will be substitute teaching and working the after-school program at my old elementary/middle school, anxiously awaiting my time with JVC!
Perhaps this is cheesy, but I think my role model would be St. Martin of Tours. Martin was a soldier in France until one day on a march he saw a beggar on the side of the road. He dismounted his horse, cut his cloak in half and presented half to the beggar. That night, he had a dream of Christ wearing that same half of the cloak and when he awoke, the cloak was fully intact again. He left the military and became a priest and then a bishop. Martin reminds me of the importance of the corporal works of mercy in our mission to see the face of God every day.
I’m finding myself more and more passionate about environmental justice. It started out as small acts of sustainability, like using a metal reusable water bottle or reducing electricity usage at home. However, I took a very interesting class on the ethics of public health that dealt immensely with the dangers of environmental injustices and the implications on the world that made me frustrated and I felt I had to do something. I still have a lot to learn, as I strive to contribute to the fight against global climate change.
Learning Kiswahili. Language is such an important window into a culture and I am so humbled at the opportunity to share in this communication and relationship with others in this way.
I participated in a program at Notre Dame called the International Summer Service Learning Program, where I was placed in a rural village in Uganda doing HIV/AIDS work in a clinic. I was living at a mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross and I loved the community. It was a hugely formative experience and it confirmed in me my desire to serve and work internationally long-term. There were a number of factors within this experience that led me to JVC, but one of the biggest was being in a community centered on Christ.
Religious Education Teacher, St. Francis Mission
Fordham University ’15
Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Fun Fact: Loves yoga
I was at work. After stepping out to take the call, once I heard that I had been accepted to my placement, I was speechless. I dropped to the floor and all I wanted to do was scream. It was amazing.
My mom is my role model because she is strong and resilient. She raised my sisters and me by herself and she always encourages our dreams and motivates us to be our best selves.
I would like to get to know my community by doing active community activities. I really hope to do outdoors activities, like hiking!
I got my degree in Psychology and Philosophy. I chose Psychology because I really liked it and it let me explore my interest in human behavior. While I did not really do well in my intro Philosophy classes, I liked what I was learning. So, I decided to take two more classes and they blew me away by challenged me in a whole new way.
Being the president of the Black Student Alliance was one of the most inspiring experiences in my college. Taking on such responsibility showed me that I could take on the responsibility to lead such an amazing club.
Registered Nurse, Native American Health Center
Gonzaga University ’15
Fun Fact: Loves spicy food, drives a Subaru named Sharon, and made a video with roommates that was featured on Tosh.0
This summer I am studying for my nursing board exam that I will take in July. I am also planning to run a few races, spend time with my friends and do a little bit of traveling around Washington. The most exciting part of my summer will be helping my sister plan her wedding!
My parents are my biggest role models. They have taught my sisters and me the importance of hard work, unconditional love and service to others. I would not have made it through life’s ups and downs without their continued support and guidance.
I am looking forward to working with a diverse group of patients at my clinic and expanding my knowledge base as both an RN and as an advocate for the vulnerable. I am also so excited to meet my fellow community members and build relationships with them within our new living environment.
My service immersion trip to St. Louis, Missouri during my freshman year was the first time I had worked directly with the homeless population and it opened my eyes and my heart. These individuals represent some of those pushed to the margins of our society. After this, I decided to become involved with the Homeless Outreach group on campus in order to get involved with these issues in Spokane. Through this organization, I found out about JVC and how I could do service for a year as a nurse.
This summer I am in my hometown of Buffalo, NY working at my mom’s office, studying for the LSAT, running, and finally taking the time to read for pleasure. I just finished a 10-day road trip up Route 1 in California; it was the perfect graduation gift to myself. My boyfriend and I traveled from San Diego to San Francisco, and it was great to experience new cities, visit with relatives, and camp in Big Sur! I’m perhaps most excited to live in Boston for three weeks. I’ll be nannying for my six-year old niece. She’s the most fun person I know, and I’m excited to spend some time with her, my brother and his fiancé!
When I asked my roommate how she would describe me, I was told: vivacious, meticulous, and caring. Vivacious: I love to get to know people and fully commit to whatever adventure or activity I try. Meticulous: I’m detail-oriented, almost to a fault. I pride myself on working incredibly hard and fully committing to my projects. Caring: I care about the people around me. I love getting to know a few people really well, sharing experiences, and prioritize being with my loved ones.
As is fitting for my placement, I am incredibly passionate about immigrants’ rights. I became interested in immigrants’ rights through service, internships and academic courses during college; the parallel national debate over comprehensive reform added fuel to my interest. In particular, I taught ESL in my hometown the summer into my sophomore year of college. Realizing that there was an immigrant population in the city I grew up in was a huge wakeup call and really pushed me into the immigration debate and other social justice issues.
I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service, majoring in Latin America and the Middle East. I chose my major, because it allowed me to take courses I was interested in and gave me the flexibility to and assurance that I would make the major work for my interests, not the other way around.
Teacher, Akoyikoyi School
Creighton University ’15
Major: Social Work; minor in Spanish
Fun Fact: Attended the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and witnessed a very long and confusing curling match
My role model is my Mom. She is constantly looking for what can be done for everyone else and hardly ever uses the word “I” because she is completely selfless. She shares my passion for social work and solidarity with marginalized populations. I wouldn’t have applied for JVC without her support.
I am looking forward to snorkeling a lot with my community! I have only done it once before so crossing it off as a more regular and intense experience will be a great opportunity.
I am extremely excited to work with children K-3 at Akoyikoyi School because this is an age group I have not worked with in a few years, as my most recent experiences have been with adults. I am also looking forward to the opportunity to be immersed in another culture and language, and hopefully meeting and forming relationships with the families of my students in the surrounding villages.
The most inspiring experience I had while at Creighton was my semester in the Dominican Republic. I learned the beauty and utter despair of walking beside another in solidarity, and I realized the difficulty of acknowledging one’s privilege. I also was lead to some of the most fulfilling and diverse relationships I have, and learned the importance of humility and gratitude. This broadening of my world view lead me to JVC because I wanted to continue to learn and grow, as well as commit to an organization that valued both service and justice.
SNAP Application Assistant and Community Educator
for Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Santa Clara University ’15
Major: Sociology and Ethnic Studies
Fun Fact: Was co-chair of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano Aztlan (MEChA) at SCU
I was in class waiting to get an essay back from my professor and saw a number I didn’t recognize. I listened to the voicemail on my way out of class then flipped out and couldn’t listen to the entire message before calling my parents!
My family would definitely say I am the loud spontaneous one who is always up to something. They would also say I am a person who isn’t afraid to speak my mind and makes sure everyone in the family is doing what they have to do.
I am looking forward to being so close to the border and being able to foster my passion for immigrant rights, while also developing my passion for food justice.
I went on an immersion trip to Oakland, CA with Santa Clara University. We met up with the current JV’s who were placed in the East Bay area and got to hear about their experience first-hand.
What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your college/major?
I chose Sociology and Ethnic Studies because I wanted to learn about the history of people of color that is often left out in mainstream education.
Director of Retreat Ministries, St. Peter Claver Parish
Mount St. Mary’s University ‘13
Major: Psychology, Minor in Theology
Fun Fact: Was a student leader in St. Mary’s University CRUX program leading outdoor adventures trips in backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing,
caving, and high/low ropes course
I spend most of my free time hanging out with my neighbors and friends in Punta Gorda. Our house is smack dab in the middle of a vibrant community and many of my neighbors are close to me in age. This has allowed me to delve deeply into Belizean culture, as we share mutual investment in each other’s lives and interests. My friends accompany me as I travel to various Mayan villages and I have seen their work firsthand in the school, hospital, on the farm or at sea..
Even as a freshman I knew I wanted to do international service post-graduation. It was a matter of finding the right program for me. After extensively researching JVC, Peace Corps, YAGM and Rostro de Cristo, it was evident that JVC had everything I was looking for – it was structured around intentional community and there was a central emphasis on integration and social awareness. JVC also claims a pioneering history and a large FJV network which were motivators for me.
Experiencing life in 30 unique villages. I am often traveling through the jungle of southern Belize as I lead retreats for some 500 students and teachers in village schools. I have had the distinctive ability to engage in new cultures and diverse ethnic traditions, including Mayan, Creole, Mestizo, East Indian and Garifuna. I have also gained many professional skills that will aid me as I look to continue my education as an FJV.
I wish people knew that JVC at the core is a formational and growth-oriented program. My pre-JVC thoughts about international service where that I was going to a developing country to help alleviate someone’s suffering or injustice. I now understand that my experience in JVC is about accompaniment and self-growth. My time as a JV has been about self-discovery and self-acceptance. Both my JVC and local communities have loved me and challenged me, and this is by far the greatest benefit of this program.
Program Assistant, Native American Health Center School-Based (UFSA/Life Academy)
Georgia Institute of Technology ‘13
Major: Finance, Biology
Fun Fact: Enjoys iced coffee and Excel spreadsheets; is an Additional Year JV
Being surrounded by friends. Some of my happiest memories from college are just sitting in Georgia Tech’s library at some ungodly hour, enjoying the presence of wonderful people.
I was drawn by the chance to live and work with a group of like-minded individuals who also want to have a positive impact on the world around them. Unlike some other service programs, JVC’s community tenant put me at ease –if things ever got stressful, the community around me would be able to provide support and solidarity. The idea of getting to be part of something far bigger than myself helped me hope that the cumulative effect of my actions with other JVs could generate a tangible difference in the world.
People who recognize irreconcilable injustices and then work to alter them, not for simply their own sake but for everyone impacted, are people I strive to live up to. I can think of no better individual who exemplifies this than Mahatma Gandhi.
I get to use the skills I gained in math and science while at Georgia Tech, and use them to have a positive impact on the students I get to help. For example, I may be trying to creatively explain a math problem or come up with a tangible example while covering a science topic. It’s rewarding to use the experiences I was blessed to receive on a daily basis.
1st Grade Teacher, Pohnpei Catholic School
Westmont College ’14
Major: Liberal Studies, History Concentration
Fun Fact: Spent a semester traveling to 12 different countries in Europe
I was drawn to JVC by the draw to community and spirituality. I am a better teacher and volunteer because I live in a supportive community. We are able to smile together, laugh together, and navigate the challenges of cross cultural living together. Westmont College helped form and shape my faith – the most important part of my life. I knew I wanted a volunteer program with that same emphasis on spirituality.
Here in Pohnpei, we spend a lot of our free time playing games together, reading, going to waterfalls, or taking walks. It’s actually a relief to not have a cell phone or be so connected to technology. We live simply in a culture that runs on the casually slow “island time,” and it’s really beautiful. Some of our favorite games are Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan!
For how much I love routines and plans, I also love spontaneous adventures. There’s nothing better than the rush of adrenaline that comes from skydiving or traveling to a new country or saying “yes” to joining God on a wild adventure bigger than yourself.
I love having the chance to mold every part of a child. I teach reading and math and science, yes, but more importantly I try to teach my students to be kind and compassionate human beings. I also love teaching my students language that will stay with them the rest of their academic career. We talk a lot about how mistakes are good because you can learn from them and how our brains are getting bigger because we are “working harder to get smarter.”
I wish more people in the Protestant church knew about JVC. I’m a Protestant Christian and love having the chance to work with a Catholic organization. We are all one body in Christ, no matter our denomination, and by working with Jesuit priests, different orders of nuns, and a Catholic school I better understand the Catholic faith.
Teacher, Fe y Alegría
Brandeis University 14
Major: Latin American and Latino Studies; Peace, Conflict
and Coexistence Studies, minor
Fun Fact: Worked as a baker in college at the neighborhood bakery
God. When you really get to the heart of it, that’s the answer. I was drawn by an interest in justice outside of the US. I was drawn by the desire to enter deeper into the Catholic faith, to build an adult relationship with God. I was drawn by the desire to learn what I can live without, to learn how to cut the excesses from my life to live better and have more room for people.
I like to make music. I grew up in a house that appreciates music the way Peruvians appreciate food. I’ve played violin on and off for 10 years now. It’s a great source of fun as well as a good companion in difficult times. My sister and my father also play instruments (viola and guitar) and playing is a fun way to spend the afternoon together. I’m hoping to write some music these next two years and record it when I get home.
If I can only answer with one person, then I pick my grandmother Nancy Gilbride Hill. She is one of the strongest women I know (the first female mayor of the town of Waterville, ME). Nannie knows what she believes and defends her beliefs articulately and passionately. She taught me to stand my ground and to speak up. Nannie is loving. She maintains a personal relationship with 10 grandchildren spread across 3 states. One of the things I respect most about her is her ability to apologize when she thinks she is in the wrong, a rare humility. Nannie taught me how to drink, how to eat a lobster, and that it is always the right time for ice cream. I hope that I can emulate Nannie’s quick wit, passion, love, energy, and sharp mind in my own adult life.
I wish people understood simple living better. It’s something I’m only coming to a decent understanding of now. Simple living isn’t playing at being poor. I think it is more about setting aside distractions that get in the way of a rich and fulfilling life. It’s exchanging worldly wealth for spiritual/emotional wealth. Simple living is about being with people instead of being with things.
Educator and Guidance Counselor, Dodoma Jesuit Communities
Villanova University 13
Major: Humanities and History; Peace and Justice Studies, minor
Fun Fact: Won a years’ worth of diapers in a crawling contest – claiming Albertsons’
Grocery Store’s “Fastest Baby of the Year” Award
Most importantly in my life, my big sister has been my role model in all things fashion, mannerisms, sports, cooking, baking, DIY crafts and disliking the color pink. Within the past few years, however, my discovery of Japanese-American political activist Yuri Kochiyama has made her a HUGE inspiration for my desire and passion to work towards social and racial justice. Kochiyama held Malcolm X’s body in her arms when he was assassinated. However, I am most affected by her ability to recognize the interconnectedness of racial issues and demand for positive social change. The world, especially young Asian American women like me, needs more female Asian role models like Yuri Kochiyama and my sister.
JVC equally values work and building relationships. Meaning that free time spent sitting and sharing stories with the parish workers as we crack open G-nuts (peanuts in the US) or enjoying the company of a “mama” as she sews my tailor-made outfit are as valuable — if not more, in my opinion — to my two year experience in Tanzania as lesson planning, teaching, or sitting in staff meetings.
People who crack themselves up. Nothing brings me more joy than watching someone gasp for air because they were laughing too much at their own awful, non-coherent joke.
My engagement in courses on multiculturalism dramatically made me aware of personal and systemic societal conflict in the US and on-campus. I was so inspired by my fellow classmates and professors during those moments of raw dialogue and emotion. There was a time when we were asked to draft and perform a monologue about our own racial fears. I shared my fears, resentment and embarrassment of my own race with tears of hurt and hatred of white privilege running down my face. It was incredibly cathartic and powerful. In that moment, I resolved to never lend satisfaction to white privilege, to be proud of who I am.
Asylum Coordinator, YMCA International
Michigan State University ’14
Major: International Relations
Fun Fact: An avid science fiction fan –say the words “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” and he’s there!
I have a multitude of Saints and heroes who inspire me. Some of them are obvious: Jesus, Gandhi, MLK Jr., and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Others are less well known: Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who used his diplomatic privileges to save countless Jews from the Holocaust by handing out protected passports to neutral Sweden. There are incredible tales of his bravery and compassion, but he died in a Soviet prison before he could be recognized. His selflessness, nonviolent and heroic actions strike a chord within me.
I am most passionate about the plight of civilians caught in wars or being persecuted in their own country. The ones who have done nothing but being who they are and where they are, and for that they suffer. I believe it is the responsibility of everyone who has the necessary privilege to speak for the voiceless and defend the helpless. If you are a Christian, “Love thy neighbor” should not be a suggestion but a duty.
I am excited to work with a group of displaced peoples. In Houston I will be working with asylum keepers. I have learned that asylees (different than refugees) are already outside of their country and cannot return because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Working with asylees will give me a chance to see an important side of international displacement.
I received my BA in International Relations from Michigan State University. In high school I contemplated a number of different ideas for a career: from archaeology to journalism. International Relations was the natural fit: I was born in the US but have dual citizenship from British parents; and I grew up moving from one African country to another as my father worked in agricultural development. I hope to use that major to work with refugees or as a conflict mediator.
Rape Crisis Advocate, YWCA of Silicon Valley
University of Notre Dame 14
Major: Psychology; Public Service, minor
Fun Fact: Loves bad puns, Telephone Pictionary, and unfortunate typos
The fact that it strives to develop the whole person. I liked the emphasis of awareness and growth. It seemed like a supportive yet stretching way to spend my first year out of college. It was going to be formative — JVC sends you to a new place with new people and a new job. I am into exploring, and JVC supports that.
The learning. Learning to let go, learning to enable people to take what they need, rather than imparting my natural human desire to be needed and to be helpful into situations where my “helping” is not what’s best for the other person, learning to ask for help, learning to be cool with the process. It’s okay to be unfinished.
Your JVC year is not just a year out of your life. Not just a year spent living in a way you’ll never experience again. It’s a year living to uncover the things that challenge you and the things that make you whole, and to weave them into your life beyond your year in JVC.
My summer in NYC at a Cristo Rey high school in Harlem. I was placed through a Notre Dame service-learning scholarship program. I loved getting to know the students and seeing their progress through the summer. Their personalities were so raw and authentic. They kept it real. It was the first time I had ever been excited to go to work every day. Through JVC I get to experience a similar mix of direct work with people and spirituality.
76.5% of JVs identify as female
23.5% identify as male
83.2% of JVs are 21 or 22 years old
16.8% are older, and all are under 35 years old
80% of JVs identify themselves as Catholic
84% of JVs identify themselves as White/Caucasian
6.7% as Hispanic or Latino
6% as Asian or Asian American
3.3% as African American or Black
<1% using another race/ethnicity
14% are first generation college students
11.3% have a family member who served as a Jesuit Volunteer