Become a QVS Volunteer
We are pleased to share that we have accepted all of our 2014-2015 Volunteers.
We will begin accepting applications for 2015-2016 on January 1st, 2015.
QVS has houses of service running in Atlanta, GA; Portland, OR; and Philadelphia, PA. All three projects are under the spiritual care of Friends meetings and churches. Please check out our locations pages to find out more information about each city. QVS is open to young adults who are interested in living in intentional Quaker community, experiencing Quaker worship and process, and openly engaging questions of faith and service in the world. QVS volunteers live together in simple community, immersed in Quaker spiritual practices. QVS volunteers are placed in full time positions in agencies and organizations that offer direct support to marginalized individuals and communities, and that strive to transform unjust structures. Volunteers receive shared housing, living expenses, food and transportation allowances, a small personal stipend, health insurance and training and support from QVS.
Who Should Apply?
QVS welcomes applications from young adults at least 21 years of age, who are US citizens, and who are self-motivated, mature, and stable. Volunteers should want to grow in the areas of spirituality, justice, community, and simplicity/sustainability. Volunteers often find themselves in new and unexpected situations, so flexibility, openness, and a sense of humor are essential.
QVS is open to persons from all spiritual traditions. However, there is a strong expectation that you will engage in regular Quaker worship and practice, so volunteers who are not Quaker should be interested in exploring and learning about this faith tradition. QVS does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race, creed, culture, disability, economic class, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Because of the nature of the work and community life, applicants are requested to be in good physical and emotional health.
What will the QVS experience be like?
QVS is still a new organization, and as such, you have the opportunity to be part of the design of the program and the building up of this organization. The experience in each city will be similar, with differences based on the nature of the city and the local Quaker community.
The heart of the QVS Volunteer experience will be based in living four core values: Community, Service, Transformation, and the Quaker Way.
Community: Through simple, communal living, Volunteers learn to care for self and others. QVS Volunteers will share living space, meals, care for the home, and all aspects of day to day life. You will construct a “community covenant” – an agreement guiding interactions in the house, using Friends worshipful discernment practices. Connections to a local Friends Meeting or Church, and to the wider QVS Network offer support to this process in a variety of ways. The lessons learns through participation in intentional community will stay with Volunteers for the rest of your lives.
Service: QVS volunteers will work full time in local nonprofits, schools, and other social service agencies. We know that the word “service” can bring to mind negative associations with charity or paternalism. This is not what QVS means by service. QVS will partner with agencies and organizations that offer direct support to marginalized individuals and communities or which strive to transform unjust systems through support and advocacy. QVS seeks to facilitate work through service that will lead Volunteers to a deeper understanding of underlying structural oppression through meaningful work involving learning & growth. QVS Volunteers will have direct experience of answering that of God in others through real relationships with real people. Examples of service opportunities that will be available to QVS Volunteers include local schools, work with immigrants and refugees, work to alleviate poverty and homelessness, work with adults and children with developmental disabilities, prison reform and advocacy, work for food justice, and more. All of the current site placement organizations in which Volunteers are placed are listed on each city’s page of this website under locations.
Transformation: At the heart of the year is a deep emphasis on reflection. In regular one-on-one meetings with a spiritual nurturer or spiritual care committee, in a structured group setting with fellow Volunteers, and in many informal ways, Volunteers will find both the space and the supportive context to engage difficult questions that arise through the inevitable crossing of boundaries of perceived difference. Particular attention will be given in these exercises and relationships to places of stretching or challenge as your spiritual understanding shifts and deepens to engage the injustice, inequality, privilege, and suffering that is an inevitable part of work for social justice and to learn skills to sustain them you this journey for the long haul. In other words, you should enter this year with an expectation of growing, changing, and being transformed!
The Quaker Way: Grounded in Quaker faith and practice, QVS Volunteers will engage in regular worship both within the QVS community and with local meetings and churches. Through these relationships, QVS Volunteers will give and receive ongoing spiritual support and nurture. You will be exposed to and participate in a variety of Friends worship, business and discernment practices as well as learning more about Quaker history and theology. You will be encouraged to share deeply with one another about your diverse understandings of Jesus in the Quaker movement and in your own faith journeys. You are not required to be a Quaker to participate in QVS, but you should come prepared to deeply engage in Quaker worship and practice, and be genuinely open to sharing your spiritual journey with others.
QVS participants are asked to raise at least $2,000 before and throughout the year, a figure comparable to other yearlong volunteer programs. This contribution will cover a portion of the Volunteer’s living expenses for the year. We believe this contribution will help deepen the participant’s commitment to the program and allow more people to be part of the QVS work and vision by supporting Volunteers. You are required to have a portion but not all of the money raised before the year begins.
Some suggestions for fundraising:
- Ask your monthly meeting/church for support
- Ask your yearly meeting or regional church body for support
- Send a letter to family member and/or close friends asking for support
- Look for potential grant opportunities in your community
- QVS Board members will be happy to assist you in developing fundraising strategies, and no one will be turned away due to failure to raise the $2,000.