Thirteen Saint Louis University alumni recently embarked on a year of full-time volunteer service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) and its sister organization, the JVC Northwest.
|Five SLU alum have been accepted into JVC Northwest. Submitted photo|
The recent graduates selected to join the corps and their areas of service are:
During their time as Jesuit Volunteers, they will be dedicated to living simply and working for social justice in a spiritually supportive community of other JVs working with people who live on the margins of society.
"I sincerely believe that the Jesuit Volunteer Corps serves as an extension of the overarching mission of Jesuit institutions of higher learning in forming men and women who, in the words of Fr. Kolvenbach, S.J., 'perceive, think, judge, choose, and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed,'" said Ben Smyth, a campus minister with SLU's Office of Campus Ministry. "It was really my introduction to the Jesuits and the Jesuit world." Smyth was with JVC Northwest in 2003-2004 and served on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington. Following his service, he began graduate work with SLU and the Aquinas Institute of Theology.
Based in four core values -- social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality -- JVC offers volunteers an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. The JVC consists of five independent regional volunteer corps that merged in 2009. JVC Northwest remained independent.
Established in 1956, JVC Northwest is a non-profit organization that recruits, places and supports volunteers living in communities across the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
"Jesuit Volunteers allow local organizations to provide more services and have a greater impact within their communities, particularly in these difficult economic times," said Kevin O'Brien, president of JVC. "As a former JV myself, I know the transformative effect of full-time service. In addition to the valuable services they provide, this experience will open their hearts and minds and change their perceptions of the world around them. It's inspiring to welcome a new generation of women and men who want to work for justice and peace."
"Our JVs will be making a big impact for the people and habitats they will be serving this year," said Jeanne Haster, executive director for JVC Northwest. "They will participate in transforming the communities where they serve and they will forever be transformed."
The SLU graduates join nearly 340 JVC volunteers and 141 JVC Northwest volunteers in nearly 70 communities across the country. Volunteers work at hundreds of schools, health clinics, legal clinics, parishes, and nonprofit organizations to provide essential services, saving them a combined estimate of $6 million each year, in comparison to the cost of salaried employees.
About the Jesuit Volunteer Corp
Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. For decades, Jesuit Volunteer Corps has worked in collaboration with Jesuits, whose spirituality the volunteers incorporate in their work, community, and prayer life.
More than 250 grassroots organizations across the world count on Jesuit Volunteers to provide essential services. During their one to two years of service, volunteers integrate Christian faith by working and living among the poor and marginalized examining the causes of social injustice.
JVC offers volunteers an experience that will open their minds and hearts to live always conscious of the poor and committed to the Church's mission of promoting justice in the service of faith. Learn more at the Jesuit Volunteer Corp website or on their Facebook page.
About the Jesuit Volunteer Corp Northwest
As a national direct grantee of the Corporation for National and Community Service, most of the JVC Northwest volunteers receive the AmeriCorps Living Allowance and Education Award. Volunteers live in urban and rural locations in communities of four to eight volunteers.
This year, the JVs will work with more than 100 partner agencies across the region in many areas involved in critical service: Advocating for refugees, nursing in community clinics, teaching in schools on Native American reservations, assisting in shelters, organizing community garden projects and many more important works.
Throughout their year of service, JVs focus on four core values: Social and ecological justice, simple living, spirituality and community.
For more information, visit the Jesuit Volunteer Corp Northwest website or the JVC Northwest blog.