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
  • 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
  • Robert Callus
    Robert Callus
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Deborah Adewale
    Deborah Adewale
    St. Francis, SD
  • Courtney Kern
    Courtney Kern
    Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Benjamin Moses Hill
    Benjamin Moses Hill
    Andahuaylillas, Peru
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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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