The Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) is an organization of lay Catholic volunteers who dedicate at least a year of their lives to community service working with the homeless, abused women and children, immigrants and refugees, the mentally ill, people with AIDS and other illnesses, the elderly, children, and other marginalized groups. More recently environmental education and preservation placements have been added. Through retreats, a local formation team, and community living, volunteers are also immersed in the "four values" of JVC: spirituality, community, simple living, and social justice.
JVC operations in the United states are divided into five regions: the Northwest, based in Portland; the Southwest, based in San Francisco; the Midwest, based in Detroit; the East, based in Baltimore; the South, based in Houston. The international program is called Jesuit Volunteers International (JVI) and is based in Washington, DC. The program is affiliated with the Society of Jesus and operates in the United States, Peru, Bolivia, Belize, Nicaragua, Micronesia, Tanzania, Nepal, and the Marshall Islands.
The first Jesuit Volunteer Corps project began in 1956 when the first Jesuit Volunteers served in Alaska's Copper Valley at a boarding school for Native Alaskan children in a partnership between the Jesuits of the Oregon Province and the Sisters of Saint Ann. Since that time over 12,000 people have served as Jesuit Volunteers. There are currently over 300 volunteers.
In 2007, the JVC regions East, South, Southwest, Midwest, and International announced that they would be merging to enhance their ability to work together for fund raising and recruitment. JVC Northwest chose not to participate in the merge, meaning that it will become a separate entity. This is expected to have a small effect on the actual programming of the merged regions, as each region shall maintain a regional office that will coordinate volunteers for that region.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. served as a Jesuit volunteer at the Gesu School in North Philadelphia after graduating from the College of the Holy Cross.
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