Social Justice. Simplicity. Community. Spirituality.
Good Shepherd Volunteers is dedicated to honoring the Sisters of the Good Shepherd core values of individual dignity, mercy, reconciliation, and zeal for those suffering injustice, oppression and alienation by practicing the 4 Tenets of GSV: social justice, simplicity, spirituality, and community, during their service year.
Social Justice: Through their Good Shepherd Volunteers placements, volunteers are encouraged to become agents of engaged compassion through their own deeper understanding of systemic challenges in our world. Most young adults who join Good Shepherd Volunteers want to be a part of solving injustices in our world. By listening to and working with people at traumatic points in their lives, volunteers gain experience and start to see the connection between their work and systematic injustices. While you shouldn’t expect to fix the problems you’ll encounter in only one year, don’t underestimate the impact that your compassion and attention has on those you’ll be working for.
Spirituality: Good Shepherd Volunteers inspires volunteers to explore their personal faith journey and to respond to the call to “just love”. GSV was started by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who live their life committed to the mission and vision of their foundress, St. Mary Euphrasia. Her simple calling to just love and embrace the word is just as critical in today’s world as it was nearly 200 years ago.
Our program commits to the tenet of spirituality from a belief that all people are spiritual, and that we live our best lives when we choose to love ourselves and others. We welcome volunteers from all religious backgrounds (or no religious background). Our hope is that you use this year to explore your spirituality and share that experience with your community. While the majority identify as Catholic or Christian, the individual beliefs and practices vary from person to person.
Community: Volunteers live in an intentional community where they provide support to one another, share their experiences of service, and commit to building open and honest relationships. Volunteers build these connections within their house community as well as with the larger global Good Shepherd Volunteers community. The work you'll be doing can be incredibly rewarding and offers you exceptional life experience, but it is not easy. Volunteers are set up to live together to support each other, and to experience engaging purposefully within your immediate community. The group is invited to share meals, pool their money for food, share chores, have regular community and spiritual nights and laugh a lot!
Simplicity: Good Shepherd Volunteers empowers volunteers to live in solidarity with those they serve by living on a limited budget, taking time to unplug and being intentional about their time, resources and relationships. After a year with Good Shepherd Volunteers, you’ll hear "I need a coffee" in a whole new way. Living on a stipend forces you to set your priorities and get creative with what you have. That coffee may be exactly what you need, but you'll appreciate it in a whole new way! Taking time to unplug – actually putting the phone down during a meal or social event – is also really difficult, but surprisingly freeing.
We know that working as a full-time volunteer holds privilege – the privilege of receiving a college degree, and the privilege of being independent from providing others a source of income. We also know that with this privilege comes a deep responsibility.
Social Justice is one of our four core values. We must listen, learn and act. Our goal is not to save but to assist, and to use our privilege as Good Shepherd Volunteers to amplify the voices of the communities we serve. Together with our volunteers, we strive to become agents of engaged compassion through a deeper understanding of the systemic challenges in our world. Through work with our partner agencies, by developing life-giving communities of welcome and inclusion, by growing and sharing in our spirituality and by our choice for simplicity - we strive to do better.
We unite our voices against racism, against the murder of George Floyd and the continued harm of countless black women and men in our country. We commit to taking action as individuals to dismantle it once and for all. We will listen better, we will reflect more deeply on our personal struggles with racial justice and we will empower our volunteers and those who seek justice.
As we do this work, we remain inspired by the words of the founder of the Good Shepherd Sisters, St. Mary Euphrasia who said “One person is of more value than the whole world.” Every person has value, an infinite dignity.
Black Lives Matter.