Quaker Voluntary Service
Quaker Voluntary Service is an 11-month experiment, living at the intersection of transformational spirituality and activism. Young adults work full-time in professional positions at community based organizations addressing a wide range of issues, while living in a cooperative house and worshiping with, and being mentored by, local Quakers. Fellows receive housing, transportation, food, support for health and wellness (including access to health insurance if needed), and a small stipend, while engaging in regular self-led workshops and retreats that allow for continuing education in social justice, faith, and community building topics.
QVS partners with agencies and organizations that offer direct support to marginalized individuals and communities, and that strive to transform unjust systems. Fellows will be placed by QVS after a process of mutual discernment with the Fellow and the cooperating partners as to the gifts and interests of the Fellows and the needs of the community and organization, and interview process. QVS seeks to facilitate work through service that will lead Fellows to deeper understanding of underlying structural oppression through meaningful work involving learning & growth. QVS Fellows will have direct experience of answering that of God in others through real relationships with real people.
Grounded in Quaker faith and practice, QVS Fellows will engage in regular worship both within the QVS community and with local Friends meetings and/or churches. Through these relationships, QVS Fellows will give and receive ongoing spiritual support and nurture. They 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. They will be encouraged to share deeply with one another about their diverse understandings of Jesus in the Quaker movement and in their own faith journeys. QVS interns will also have the opportunity to network with and be supported by a wider community of Friends and Friends institutions during their year of service.
Through simple, communal living, Fellows learn to care for self and others. In addition to their service placements, QVS Fellows will share living space, meals, care for the home, and all aspects of day to day life. They will construct a "community covenant" – an agreement guiding interactions in the house, using Friends worshipful discernment practices. Connections to the local Friends meeting or church and to the wider QVS Network offer support to this process in a variety of ways. Through participation in intentional community and programming, QVS supplies and supports Fellows with tools and practices they will use the rest of their lives.
At the heart of the year is a deep emphasis on reflection. In regular one-on-one meetings with a spiritual nurturer, in a structured group setting with housemates, through practices such as journaling, 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, and encountering "The Other." Fellows will learn to hold both outward and inward challenges up to the Light, and to articulate how their perspectives may change as a result of these experiences. Throughout the year, Fellows will find resources in the witness and experience of Friends both past and present. Particular attention is given in these exercises and relationships to places of stretching or challenge as the Fellow's 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 on this journey for the long haul.
We have service houses of 6-8 Fellows in four service cities.
Atlanta, GA | Boston, MA | Philadelphia, PA | Portland, OR
Living four core values: Community, Service, Transformation, and the Quaker Way. An experiment in faithfulness in the Friends' tradition. An opportunity to find your gifts, and to help change the world.