JV PROFILES

 

Jesuit Volunteers are passionate women and men who have a commitment to social justice.

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.

 

  • All
  • JV Profiles
  • Previous Program Years
  • Tilly Rudolph
    Tilly Rudolph
    Baltimore, MD
  • Shannon Marcoux
    Shannon Marcoux
  • Hannah Coley
    Hannah Coley
    Punta Gorda, Belize
  • Brayden Weninger
    Brayden Weninger
    San Jose, CA
  • Kerrin McKenney
    Kerrin McKenney
    Berkeley/Oakland
  • Teal Trujillo
    Teal Trujillo
    San Francisco
  • Kristen Abbarno
    Kristen Abbarno
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Katie McClave
    Katie McClave
    Harlem, NYC
  • Anacristina Fonseca
    Anacristina Fonseca
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Alec Hartman
    Alec Hartman
    Nashville, TN
  • Nicole May
    Nicole May
    Managua, Nicaragua
  • Elee Shepherd
    Elee Shepherd
    Pohnpei, Micronesia
  • Bobby Tonnesen
    Bobby Tonnesen
    Chicago, IL
  • Mary Mikko
    Mary Mikko
    Mobile, AL
  • Giovanna Nelkin
    Giovanna Nelkin
    Austin, TX
  • Sarah Sleevi
    Sarah Sleevi
    Syracuse, NY
  • Matt Gatti
    Matt Gatti
    Detroit, MI
  • Renna Ayyash
    Renna Ayyash
    New York City (Harlem)
  • Ryan Pfluke
    Ryan Pfluke
    Nashville, TN
  • Danielle Schiestle
    Danielle Schiestle
    Washington DC
  • Garrett Rice
    Garrett Rice
    Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Ani Haroian
    Ani Haroian
    Tacna, Peru
  • Abigail Maristela
    Abigail Maristela
    Raleigh, NC
  • Ben Gooley
    Ben Gooley
    Santiago, Chile
  • Karla Burns
    Karla Burns
    Andahuaylillas, Peru
  • Giacobbe Byrd
    Giacobbe Byrd
    San Francisco
  • Brittany Anderson
    Brittany Anderson
    Mobile, AL
  • Jaclyn Paul
    Jaclyn Paul
    San Antonio, TX
  • Karl Koch
    Karl Koch
    Tucson, AZ
  • Meredith Cocker
    Meredith Cocker
    Camden, NJ
  • Jillian DeFina
    Jillian DeFina
    Scranton, PA
  • Jack Borkovich
    Jack Borkovich
    New Orleans, LA
  • Liz Connelly
    Liz Connelly
    Scranton, PA
  • Katie Athis
    Katie Athis
    Nashville, TN
  • Alyssa Perez
    Alyssa Perez
    Belize City, Belize
  • Michael Lank
    Michael Lank
    New Orleans, LA
  • An Bui
    An Bui
    Newark, NJ
  • Rhea Bautista
    Rhea Bautista
    Detroit, MI
  • Andrew Lynch
    Andrew Lynch
    Syracuse, NY
  • Rachel Krofcheck
    Rachel Krofcheck
    Andahuaylillas, Peru
  • Ryan Knott
    Ryan Knott
    Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Hannah Parry
    Hannah Parry
    Portland, ME
  • Carlos Sian
    Carlos Sian
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Christie Alonso
    Christie Alonso
    Tacna, Peru
  • Shane Garner
    Shane Garner
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Caitlin Healey
    Caitlin Healey
    Syracuse, NY
  • Ryan Majsak
    Ryan Majsak
    San Francisco, CA
  • Cami Kasmerchak
    Cami Kasmerchak
    San Jose, CA
  • Sean O’Malley
    Sean O’Malley
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Kharisma Goldston
    Kharisma Goldston
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Markus Creachbaum
    Markus Creachbaum
    Kansas City, MO
  • Teya Deleveaux
    Teya Deleveaux
    St. Louis, MO
  • Patrick Humpal
    Patrick Humpal
    Santiago, Chile
  • Jessica Donahue
    Jessica Donahue
    Minneapolis/Twin Cities
  • Olivia Pappas
    Olivia Pappas
    Boston, MA
  • Jace Prokupek
    Jace Prokupek
    New York City
  • Philip Ellefson
    Philip Ellefson
    Milwaukee, WI
  • Antonio Taiga Guterres
    Antonio Taiga Guterres
    Punta Gorda, Belize
  • Troy Thayer
    Troy Thayer
    Santa Monica, CA
  • Robert Callus
    Robert Callus
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Deborah Adewale
    Deborah Adewale
    St. Francis, SD
  • Athena Apostle
    Athena Apostle
    Berkeley, CA
  • Megan Elman
    Megan Elman
    Raleigh, NC
  • Courtney Kern
    Courtney Kern
    Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Veronica Solorio
    Veronica Solorio
    Tucson, AZ
  • Patrick Decker
    Patrick Decker
    Punta Gorda, Belize
  • Michael Fowler
    Michael Fowler
    Oakland, CA
  • Emily Hagen
    Emily Hagen
    Pohnpei, Micronesia
  • Benjamin Moses Hill
    Benjamin Moses Hill
    Andahuaylillas, Peru
  • Victoria Nguyen Hoang
    Victoria Nguyen Hoang
    Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Matthew Boughton
    Matthew Boughton
    Houston, TX
  • MC Larme
    MC Larme
    San Jose, CA
Tilly Rudolph
Baltimore, MD

Tilly Rudolph

Writing Teacher, TA, & Admission’s Assistant at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
Loyola Marymount University, Class of 2016


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you? Any fun facts?

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!


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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!


What did you get your degree in? How did you choose your college/major?

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).


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? If applicable, how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Shannon Marcoux

Shannon Marcoux

Teacher at Xavier High School
Fordham University 2016


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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..


What did you get your degree in? How did you choose your college/major?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? If applicable, how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Hannah Coley
Punta Gorda, Belize

Hannah Coley

Youth/Liturgical Coordinator at St. Peter Claver Parish
Loyola University Chicago, 2016


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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?


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? If applicable, how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Brayden Weninger
San Jose, CA

Brayden Weninger

Social Ministry Assistant/Case Manager at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
Regis University 2016

Fun Fact: Bad puns make her laugh.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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).


What makes you laugh?

My community! They’re absolutely hilarious!


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

What did you get your degree in? How did you choose your college/major?

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.

Kerrin McKenney
Berkeley/Oakland

Kerrin McKenney

Service Learning and Support Coordinator, Civicorps Schools
Stonehill College 2016
Major: English and Secondary Education

Fun Fact: Bad puns make her laugh.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing 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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

Education. That’s where it all begins. The more we teach love, the more we will see love.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Teal Trujillo
San Francisco

Teal Trujillo

Law Clerk, The Eviction Defense Collaborative
Saint Louis University 2016
Major: Psychology

Fun Fact: Is notorious for telling terrible (AKA amazing) dad jokes.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How did you choose your college?

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.

Kristen Abbarno
Los Angeles, CA

Kristen Abbarno

Youth Resource Coordinator at IMPACTO, Proyecto Pastoral
University of Dayton 2016
Major: Sociology and Psychology

Fun fact: Favorite book is Gone with the Wind.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

Charismatic and goofy, yet thoughtful and introspective..


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Katie McClave
Harlem, NYC

Katie McClave

Tenant Organizer, Tenants & Neighbors
Creighton University 2016
Major: Anthropology and Spanish

Fun fact: Loves dinosaurs, Disney, singing, dancing, and knitting


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Anacristina Fonseca
Brooklyn, NY

Anacristina Fonseca

Public Benefits and Housing Advocate, Make the Road New York (MRNY)
University of Portland 2016
Major: English


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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?


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Alec Hartman
Nashville, TN

Alec Hartman

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


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What activities were you involved in during college?

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.

Nicole May
Managua, Nicaragua

Nicole May

Youth Coordinator at Cantera
DePaul University 2016
Major: Peace, Justice and Conflict studies


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about?

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.


How did you choose your university?

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.

 

Elee Shepherd
Pohnpei, Micronesia

Elee Shepherd

Teacher,  Our Lady of Mercy High School 
Boston College
Major: Philosophy and Political Science


Who is your role model and why?

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).


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


How and why did you choose your majors?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college? 

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.

Bobby Tonnesen
Chicago, IL

Bobby Tonnesen

Program Assistant, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
Mount St. Mary’s University (the Mount for short) 2016
Major: Sports Management


What drew you to JVC?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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!


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Mary Mikko
Mobile, AL

Mary Mikko

Intake Assistant, South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program
University of Detroit Mercy 2016
Major: Criminal Justice


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


How did you choose your college and major?

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.


What activities were you involved in during college?

I was involved in University Ministry, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Student Government, Student Advisory Board for University Ministry, and the Pep Band.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Giovanna Nelkin
Austin, TX

Giovanna Nelkin

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


How would your family and friends describe you?

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.


Share a little about the moment you got your welcome call from JVC: 

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.


Which social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

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.


Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community:

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.

Sarah Sleevi
Syracuse, NY

Sarah Sleevi

Emergency Services Outreach Worker at Catholic Charities
Wheeling Jesuit University 2016
Major: Psychology
Fun Fact: She’s a new vegan who loves trying out wacky plant-based recipes!


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

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.


What sports, clubs, activities or organizations were you a part of in college?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

Matt Gatti
Detroit, MI

Matt Gatti

Floor Monitor and Supply Coordinator, The Pope Francis Center
The Catholic University of America 2016
Major: Politics
Fun Fact: The character Carl that Andy Samberg plays in one single episode of Parks and Rec makes him laugh.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Share a little about the moment you got your welcome call from JVC:

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.


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Renna Ayyash
New York City (Harlem)

Renna Ayyash

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!


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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!


What drew you to JVC?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

 

Ryan Pfluke
Nashville, TN

Ryan Pfluke

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement?

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!


How did you choose your major?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Danielle Schiestle
Washington DC

Danielle Schiestle

Pregnancy Center Program Assistant, The Northwest Center
Marquette University 2016
Major: Biomedical Sciences
Fun Fact: Llamas are her favorite animals


What drew you to JVC?

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.


Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community?

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!


What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

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.


How did you choose your college?

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.


What sports, clubs, activities or organizations were you a part of in college?

I was a part of Orientation Staff, Pi Beta Phi sorority, Hunger Clean-Up, Companions in Leadership, and Senior Challenge.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

Garrett Rice
Dodoma, Tanzania

Garrett Rice

Teacher/Counselor, St. Peter Claver High School
Regis University 2016
Major: English
Fun Fact: Has participated in musical theatre for the past seven years.


Share a little about the moment you got your offer from JVC?

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!


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement?

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).


How did you choose your major?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did it lead you to consider JVC?

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.

 

Ani Haroian
Tacna, Peru

Ani Haroian

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.”


Share a little about the moment you got your offer from JVC?

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.


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

Abigail Maristela
Raleigh, NC

Abigail Maristela

Paralegal, Battered Immigrant Project
Xavier University 2016
Major: Psychology and Sociology
Fun Fact: She’s been to five continents.


What makes you laugh?

Oh, the usual– Loca the Pug videos, my grandparents, and bathroom humor.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

Ben Gooley
Santiago, Chile

Ben Gooley

Pastoral Ministry and English Aide, Colegio Lecaros
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University 2016
Major: English Creative Writing


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement?

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.


What was your most inspiring experience in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

 

Karla Burns
Andahuaylillas, Peru

Karla Burns

Pastoral Assistant, Parroquia San Pedro
College of the Holy Cross 2016
Major: Chemistry
Fun Fact: She’s a huge prankster and loves seeing someone’s reaction when something happens that they least expect!


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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!


Share the moment you got your offer call from JVC?

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.


Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community?

Having spontaneous dance parties!

Giacobbe Byrd
San Francisco

Giacobbe Byrd

Case Supervisor, Friendship House
Georgetown University 2016
Major: English and Government
Fun Fact: Knows a great deal of the Hamilton soundtrack by heart.


What makes you laugh?

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]).


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Tell us something you’re looking forward to at your placement:

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.


How did you choose your university and major?

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.

Brittany Anderson
Mobile, AL

Brittany Anderson

Team Member, L’Arche Mobile
Stonehill College 2014
Major: Psychology
Fun Fact: Competed as a speed skater as a child. Think Apolo Anton Ohno!


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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?


How did you choose your major?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities or organizations were you involved in during college?

I participated heavily in Campus Ministry with retreats, service, reflections, choir, and ministry roles. I also danced on a hip-hop step team.

Jaclyn Paul
San Antonio, TX

Jaclyn Paul

Youth Minister, Seton Home
University of Notre Dame 2015
Major: Sociology
Fun Fact: Parks and Recreation and Friends make her laugh.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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!

Karl Koch
Tucson, AZ

Karl Gregory Koch

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

I hope they would describe me as curious. I consider curiosity to be the most important driving force in my life.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How did you choose your major? And how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

Meredith Cocker
Camden, NJ

Meredith Cocker

Arrupe Fellow, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School
Gonzaga University 2015
Major: Psychology
Fun Fact: Not uncommon to see fer falling out of her chair laughing about something one of her housemates said.


What drew you to JVC??

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities or organizations were you involved in during college?

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.

Jillian DeFina
Scranton, PA

Jillian DeFina

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


What drew you to JVC??

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.


What social justice are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your major?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Jack Borkovich
New Orleans, LA

Jack Borkovich

Resident Activities Coordinator, Project Lazarus
The University of Georgia 2015
Major: Microbiology
Fun Fact: Can quote every line in Remember the Titans.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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..


What social justice are you most passionate about?

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..


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Liz Connelly
Scranton, PA

Liz Connelly

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Katie Athis
Nashville, TN

Katie Athis

Street Outreach Case Manager, The Oasis Center
Seattle University 2015
Major: International Studies


What drew you to JVC?

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.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.

Alyssa Perez
Belize City, Belize

Alyssa Perez

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in our free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.

Michael Lank
New Orleans, LA

Michael Lank

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in our free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.

An Bui
Newark, NJ

An Bui

Youth Advocate, Covenant House
University of California, Los Angeles 2015
Major: English
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 makes you laugh?

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?


 What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


 What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.”


 What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Rhea Bautista
Detroit, MI

Rhea Cristine Bautista

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.


What do you like to do in your spare time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?  How did this lead you to JVC?

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.


 

Andrew Lynch
Syracuse, NY

Andrew Lynch

Community Health Advocate, ACR Health
University  of Michigan 2015
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Fun Fact: Kid President brightens every day of his life.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


 

Rachel Krofcheck
Andahuaylillas, Peru

Rachel Krofcheck

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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?


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


 

Ryan Knott
Dodoma, Tanzania

Ryan Knott

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


What drew you to JVC?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

My students – they are so willing to teach me about their lives and culture.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What is the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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.


 

Hannah Parry
Portland, ME

Hannah Parry

Food Programs Assistant Manager, Preble Street
Saint Joseph’s University  2015
Major: Philosophy
Fun Fact: Plans to go to medical school to become a physician after JVC (even though she studied philosophy in college)!


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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!


How would your friends and family describe you?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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?!


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


Why did you choose your college major?

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.


 

Carlos Sian
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Carlos Sian

Clinic Flow & Health Apprentice Coordinator, Casa de Salud
Saint Michael’s College  2015
Major: Biology
Fun Fact: Auditioned for Survivor two years ago and got a couple callbacks!


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your college/major?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Christie Alonso
Tacna, Peru

Christie Alonso

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


Why did you choose your major?

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.


What activities were you involved in during college?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


How would your friends and family describe you?

A gentle dancing spirit con corazón


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


 What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


Shane Garner
Los Angeles, CA

Shane Garner

Resource Specialist, St. Francis Center
College of the Holy Cross  2015
Major: English
Fun Fact: Doesn’t laugh too often


What drew you to JVC?

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.

 


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college?

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.


Caitlin Healey
Syracuse, NY

Caitlin Healey

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.


What drew you to JVC?

My strong Jesuit education at Fairfield drew me to JVC. The lessons I learned at Fairfield aligned well with the mission of JVC.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.”


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college?

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.


Ryan Majsak
San Francisco, CA

Ryan Majsak

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.”


How and why did you choose your college and majors?

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.


Cami Kasmerchak
San Jose, CA

Cami Kasmerchak

Assistant Director of Christian Service and Campus Ministry, Cristo Rey San Jose High School
Saint Louis University  2015
Major: Economics
Fun Fact: Bungee jumped off a bridge in South Africa during study abroad


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college?

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.


Sean O’Malley
Los Angeles, CA

Sean O’Malley

Family Self Sufficiency Case Manager, St. Joseph Center
Rockhurst University  2014
Major: Global Economics
Fun Fact: Makes a mean PB&J


What drew you to JVC?

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?


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Kharisma Goldston
Philadelphia, PA

Kharisma Goldston

Engagement Specialist, Bethesda Project
Le Moyne College  2015
Major: Psychology
Fun Fact: She is a twin.


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


How and why did you choose your college/major?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.

Markus Creachbaum
Kansas City, MO

Markus Creachbaum

Patient Assistant and Assistant Behavioral Health Case Manager, Kansas City CARE Clinic
John Carroll University  2015
Major: Biology
Fun Fact: huge Jurassic Park nerd; as a kid wanted to be a paleontologist.


 What drew you to JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.

Teya Deleveaux
St. Louis, MO

Teya Deleveaux

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


 What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Patrick Humpal
Santiago, Chile

Patrick Humpal

Red Apostolica Ignaciana
DePaul University  2015
Major: Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse
Fun Fact: Has a deep, undying love for the music of Ke$ha.


 What drew you to JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to JVC?

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!


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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!


What makes you laugh?

Stephen Colbert. The man is a satirical genius. I also tend to laugh at myself a lot!


What social justice issues are you most passionate about?

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.

Jessica Donahue
Minneapolis/Twin Cities

Jessica Donahue

Policy and Communications Coordinator, Alliance Housing Inc.
University of San Diego 2015
Major: Sociology
Fun Fact: Moved every few years during childhood, including to Japan, Hawaii, and four U.S. cities (her dad was in the Navy).


 What was the most inspiring experience you had in college and how did it lead you to JVC?

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!).


What did you get your degree in?  How did you choose your major?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about?

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.

Olivia Pappas
Boston, MA

Olivia Pappas

Family Outreach Coordinator, Red Sox Foundation & Massachusetts General Hospital Foundation Home Base Program
University of Scranton 2015
Major: Psychology
Fun Fact: The only time she has left the country was for an immersion trip to El Salvador in college


 Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


How and why did you choose your college?

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?

Jace Prokupek
New York City

Jace Prokupek

Tenant Services Assistant, Breaking Ground
Regis University 2015
Major: Marketing


 What drew you to JVC?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian peace activist, is one of my role models. She embraces her identity and motivates others to challenge the status quo.


What social justice issue are you most passionate about?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Philip Ellefson
Milwaukee, WI

Philip Ellefson

Refugee Employment Strategist at the International Institute of Wisconsin
University of Portland 15
Major: English
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.


 What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


How did you choose your major?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.

Antonio Taiga Guterres
Punta Gorda, Belize

Antonio Taiga Guterres

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


Who is your role model and why?

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.”


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college? How did those lead you to consider JVC?

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.

Troy Thayer
Santa Monica, CA

Troy Thayer

Family Support Specialist, Westside Children’s Center

Loyola University New Orleans ’15
Major: Biology; double minor in Mathematics and Chemistry
Fun Fact: Is applying to dental school; likes wake boarding, slalom skiing, and going out to the sand dunes to ride motocross

Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community.

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about and why?

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.


How did you hear about JVC?

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!


What clubs, sports, activities, or organizations were you involved in during college? And how did those lead you to consider JVC?

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.

Robert Callus
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Robert Callus

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


What are your plans for this summer?

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!


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about and why?

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.


Tell us something you’re excited about/looking forward to at your placement.

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Deborah Adewale
St. Francis, SD

Deborah Adewale

Religious Education Teacher, St. Francis Mission
Fordham University ’15
Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Fun Fact: Loves yoga


Can you share a little about the moment you got your welcome call from JVC?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community.

I would like to get to know my community by doing active community activities. I really hope to do outdoors activities, like hiking!


What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your college/major?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college?

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.

Athena Apostle
Berkeley, CA

Athena Apostle

Registered Nurse, Native American Health Center
Gonzaga University ’15
Major: Nursing
Fun Fact: Loves spicy food, drives a Subaru named Sharon, and made a video with roommates that was featured on Tosh.0


What are your plans for this summer?

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!


Who is your role model and why?

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.


Tell us something you’re excited about/looking forward to at your placement.

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Megan Elman
Raleigh, NC

Megan Elman

Paralegal with the Battered Immigrants Project of Legal Aid NC
Georgetown University ’15
Major: Foreign Service, Latin America and the Middle East
Fun Fact: Loves hiking and rock climbing, recently finished first half marathon

What are your plans for this summer?

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!


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about and why?

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.


What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your major?

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.

Courtney Kern
Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia

Courtney Kern

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


Who is your role model and why?

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.


Name one bucket list item you’re looking forward to crossing off with your community.

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.


Tell us something you’re excited about or looking forward to at your placement.

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Veronica Solorio
Tucson, AZ

Veronica Solorio

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


Can you share a little about the moment you got your welcome call from JVC?

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!


How would your friends or family describe you?

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.


Tell us something you’re excited about at your placement.

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.


How did you hear about JVC?

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.

Patrick Decker
Punta Gorda, Belize

Patrick Decker

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


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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..


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Michael Fowler
Oakland, CA

Michael Fowler

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


What makes you laugh?

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.


What drew you to JVC?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.

Emily Hagen
Pohnpei, Micronesia

Emily Hagen

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


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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!


What might people be surprised to know about you?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.”


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Benjamin Moses Hill
Andahuaylillas, Peru

Benjamin Moses Hill

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


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?

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.


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.

Victoria Nguyen Hoang
Dodoma, Tanzania

Victoria Nguyen Hoang

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


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What makes you laugh?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to JVC?

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.

Matthew Boughton
Houston, TX

Matthew Boughton

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!


Who is your role model and why?

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.


What social justice issues are you most passionate about and why?

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.


Tell us something you’re excited about/looking forward to at your placement.

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.


What did you get your degree in? How and why did you choose your college/major?

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.

MC Larme
San Jose, CA

MC Larme

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


What drew you to JVC?

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.


What is most rewarding about your JVC position?

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.


What do you wish other people knew about JVC?

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.


What was the most inspiring experience you had in college? How did this lead you to 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.

 

Who are Jesuit Volunteers?

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