You have had some time with the JVC Covenant. Now, it is time to go deeper. There are 3 aspects of life as a JV in the material world that you’ll undoubtedly face and have to make some intentional choices about: Money. Technology. And fostering intentional relationships.
By taking time to reflect on three specific challenges below, volunteers remain mindful of the place their individual decisions have in the bigger picture of work for justice.
Critical reflection on daily choices helps Jesuit Volunteers have a better sense of the bigger picture of JVC’s mission. While volunteers, may not always see the fruits of their labor, their choices have implications for themselves and many others. By living intentionally, volunteers take daily action toward creating a more just world. This is “where the rubber meets the road” in terms of living out the four values.
These three specific challenges are worthy of discussion and reflection as you discern your participation in JVC. We’ve laid out what those three challenges typically mean for Jesuit Volunteers below:
1. Living within the personal stipend
JVC expects volunteers will not spend beyond their personal stipend during their service experience. This expectation is not to impose austerity, but to help volunteers experience a greater sense of solidarity with those they serve on the margins whose limited income is not a choice, but a lived reality.
When volunteers practice living within their personal stipend, those monetary limitations invite volunteers to re-examine their priorities. This invitation extends to more consistent and thorough reflections on the impact of how volunteers allocate their resources, as well as how JVs go about their purchase decisions as a community. A lesson and practice that as consumers of goods and services in the material world, will impact you as a former volunteer of our program for the rest of your life.
Think about how you see yourself spending the stipend, and then think about how you would go about making life choices around choosing where to purchase goods and services.
2. Being present to community
In JVC, community provides volunteers with the support necessary to engage in the difficult work for justice. While living in community, JVs commit to both formal and informal time together. This can look like sharing resources, or perhaps the practice of maintaining open communication with one another.
Despite the challenges of living with unknown people, it is important that volunteers establish the relational foundation they will need throughout the year. For this reason, JVC asks that Jesuit Volunteers think and discern what might ordinarily feel like small and individual choices, like hosting or receiving out-of-town visitors, or leaving community for individual trips. During JVC, these decisions actually impact the community in both small and big ways that those considering our program should reflect about further prior to signing the covenant.
When thinking about your place in a JV community: How do you plan/hope to participate in creating intentional community; and how will you continue to invest in that community, during challenges and/or in circumstances where you don’t want to?
3. Technology and conveniences
Jesuit Volunteers are expected to remain conscious of their use of resources. This expectation extends to conscientious use of technology. Technology might mean how many times a JV does laundry a week, how they wash their dishes or if they’re constantly trolling and/or scrolling through social media.
JVC recognizes the value that technology brings to connecting networks and people in community. Nevertheless, it also sees that conveniences can have a de-humanizing effect on an individual and community. In a world where technology is a resource that creates increasing disparity between those of with varying amounts of wealth, it is fundamental for volunteers to weigh how they spend their time engaging in online networks, watching TV, or texting and staring at a screen rather than calling.
It would also be amiss to leave out the energy-saving benefits associated with how and when we chose to use technology. Even more so when gauging and examining our environmental impact as individuals and as a JVC community.
Each volunteer should commit time to reflecting on the following: How do you see yourself using technology and your time and how does that line up with the values of simple living and building community?
Are you looking to live and work with those in need to build a more just and hopeful world? Give us one intense year, and we’ll give you a sense of purpose to guide every year that follows.