“Vocation is the place where the world’s greatest need and your greatest joy meet.” This quote by Fredrick Buechner describes the desire that many of us as humans have. We desire for our days to be filled with what gives us joy, what brings us life, and what ultimately aides in helping make the world a better place. Before I did JVC, I did not know if that was possible to attain in my life.
I knew that I loved people and desired to work with people, but that was the extent of what I knew about my vocation. However, the moment that I stepped onto the campus of Nativity Prep Academy, I tasted what true vocation is like and could be.
I had no desire to be a teacher before doing JVC. Yet, through the support and encouragement of my JVC supervisor Elijah, who is the principal at my school, and the staff at Nativity Prep Academy there was a noticeable change. The dialogue with my community over rice and beans also helped. I began to realize that God has made me to be a teacher.
Now, I am in my third year of teaching at Nativity, and I love my job more than when I did when I started. Even though this season of teaching looks different, the vocation that I know God has called me to is still the same. JVC's value of simple living has propelled my ability to adapt to the struggles of distance learning. The perseverance that comes with simple living has also been monumental. Because JVC instilled in me that community is integral to our lives, I desire to continue to create a community with my fellow educators and students even though we are not present in person.
The desire for justice that JVC allowed me to cultivate keeps me asking questions to make sure that during this time each and every one of my students is receiving a fair and equitable education. My spirituality that was cultivated during my volunteer year keeps me going and reminds me that our world is in the hands of a loving God, and it gives me peace as I try to navigate the uncertainty of the world today.
Jennifer Washle is a teacher living in the beautiful city of San Diego. She was a Jesuit Volunteer in 2018-2019 in San Diego, and she worked as a religion teacher at Nativity Prep Academy, a tuition free middle school for students who will be first in their families to graduate from college. She has been blessed to continue her work after her volunteer year at Nativity, and she has now moved into the role of Social Studies teacher for the 6-8 graders. She is also currently attending Point Loma Nazarene University to pursue her teaching credential and masters in teaching. She currently lives with 2 other former volunteers and enjoys spending her time at the beach and soaking in as much of that California sun as possible!