1. The GSV Network
The GSV network is uniquely strong; we have a huge network of support that extends across the country and around the world. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have been serving women and children for almost 200 years. They have a unique “Good Shepherd” approach to the care they give. During your GSV year, you will interact with our staff, support people, fellow GSVs, alumni of the program, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and the staff at your placement site. This network of people will act as a personal, spiritual, and professional guide for you both while in the program and after you complete GSV.
2. Just Love
“I was not possessed of great talents, but I loved, and I loved with all the strength of my soul.”- St Mary Euphrasia
GSV’s unique approach to social justice is to just love. We believe that real change starts with relationships. We encourage volunteers to love others despite their backgrounds, and to love in a way that is constructive and just. GSV is a place to love people in all aspects of life including at service sites, in community, among friends, and with family.
3. Inspire Zeal
Zeal is an integral part of the global Good Shepherd Mission. Often times, service through GSV ignites a fire within volunteers to make the world a better place. GSV provides the space for volunteers to act on their passions through serving others with generosity and positivity. Volunteers are inspired by the founder of the Good Shepherd Sisters, St. Mary Euphrasia, who said, “It is not enough that you love them, they must know that you love them.” Zeal is love in action.
4. Personal Growth
GSV is an invitation to challenge yourself while in a safe and supportive environment. There is no doubt our site placements require volunteers to test their limits while they work in high-need, heavily underserved areas. Each placement site offers various opportunities for professional supervision and trainings throughout the year. Additionally, all four values, simplicity, social justice, community, and spirituality, provide unique challenges that allow volunteers to step out of their comfort zones and into a new lifestyle. The GSV experience does more than just help you get to know the realities of women and children in need; it helps you get to know yourself and understand your impact on those around you. You will emerge from this challenging journey a better roommate, friend, family member, partner, and employee.
5. Small in Size
Our small size offers a personal approach and a true opportunity for community and lasting relationships. Volunteers have regular opportunities to engage with one another throughout the year as they process and reflect on their experience together. Additionally, GSV staff makes it a priority to regularly check in with volunteers individually and as a community throughout the course of the year to insure volunteers are well supported and to help foster growth.
6. Unique Programming
Throughout a volunteer year GSV hosts a variety of programmatic events to support volunteers. GSVs starts the year with a weeklong orientation and then there are four weekend long retreats throughout the year. These retreats offer an opportunity to get away from day-to-day work and reflect on the Four Tenets: simplicity, spirituality, social justice, and community. Volunteers explore the mission and support each other through shared experiences and challenges. Additionally, GSV uses its large support network to provide opportunities for GSVs to attend workshops and conferences on topics such as resume and cover writing skills, self-defense training, tour the United Nations, human trafficking and many more!
7. GSV Benefits: Health Insurance, Housing, Transportation
How many employers will offer you these benefits? GSV will make sure your basic needs are covered and offer you opportunities to focus on your overall growth as a person. In addition, GSV provides about $200/month stipend for food and basic living expenses.
8. Simple Living
During a year of service with GSV you will have the opportunity to live a simple lifestyle. Living on a modest stipend, decluttering your lifestyle, and being mindful of technology are just a few ways volunteers may choose to embrace this tenet during GSV. This nontraditional approach allows a volunteer to experience value in things outside of material possessions. As former GSV Emily describes her experience she says, “I learned with GSV to distinguish between wants and needs, and that I can easily draw happiness from things completely unconnected to material goods and consumption.” Volunteers are challenged throughout the year to discover the value in themselves and their relationships with others.
9. Faith Sharing
GSV provides a platform for conversations about faith and spirituality through community nights and programming. While we are a Catholic organization, founded by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, we welcome those from all faiths. The diversity in beliefs and practices among GSVs allows volunteers to challenge one another and grow in their spirituality both individually and as a community. Each spring, GSV hosts a weekend long retreat focused on fostering spirituality. We also offer the opportunity for volunteers to meet with a spiritual director monthly, if desired.
10. A Lifetime of Memories
GSV will introduce you to other caring, friendly people who are energetic about service and social justice. A post-graduate volunteer year is different, exciting, challenging, and rewarding – a truly unforgettable experience.