Frequently Asked Questions
When is the application deadline?
The 2020-2021 application deadline is June 14th, 2020. We accept applications on a rolling basis. That means we will continue accepting new applications until all spots are filled. By applying early, however, you will have more service site options and a better chance of being placed at your preferred service site.
How are Good Shepherd Volunteers chosen?
Once you have submitted your application, completed the interview process, and we have received all of your references, the Good Shepherd Volunteers’ GSV Staff and Admissions Committee will review your application by considering the following factors:
Desire to live in community
Interest in social justice advocacy
Desire to adapt to a simple lifestyle
Receptive to embarking on a personal faith journey
Desire and openness to working with others of different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
Can I serve just part of the year?
Our program requires a full-time one-year commitment August thru mid July. For shorter duration volunteer opportunities, we encourage you to visit catholicvolunteernetwork.org and serviceyear.org.
Do volunteers get vacation time?
Yes, volunteers receive 10 vacation days. Vacation days will need to be scheduled around major GSV commitments, such as orientation, retreats, and your work commitments.
How much is the monthly stipend?
The stipend is meant to cover food, transportation, household expenses, and personal items. The stipend amount is small to encourage our volunteers to have solidarity with those they serve. Amounts vary from site to site because the cost of living and commute to and from work differs in each placement, and is approximately $400 monthly.
May I take on a part-time job while I volunteer?
Serving as a Good Shepherd Volunteer will require a lot of time and energy between working full-time hours, community nights, and weekend retreats. Because of this and the fact that our volunteers commit to the tenet of simplicity, we do not permit our volunteers to take on additional part-time work during their service year.
What is the housing like?
Volunteer apartments are set up with basic amenities, so you’ll only need to bring your clothing and personal items. Depending on the size of the community, volunteers may share bedrooms.
In Maryland, the GSV serving with the National Advocacy Center lives in community with members of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry based at St. Camillus parish in Silver Spring, Maryland. Each volunteer has their own bedroom and shares a bathroom. Located within an hour of Washington DC, Silver Spring is a diverse community with a vibrant arts scene.
In New Jersey, the 3 to 4 volunteers serving at Collier High School will live in Wickatunk, New Jersey in an apartment right on the Collier Campus. There are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This area of NJ is known for its rural landscape and convenient location. It is located only an hour train ride from New York City and a half-hour drive to local beaches and historic towns such as Freehold and Asbury Park.
In New York City, the 4 to 5 GSVs serving with Good Shepherd Services will live in Washington Heights, a culturally diverse neighborhood in northern Manhattan. The apartment has 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. The apartment is close to public transportation and a small community park.
Do I have to be Catholic to be a GSV?
Many aspects of our program are drawn from Catholic spirituality and tradition, but we welcome young adults of all faiths to apply, as long as they are willing to grow in their spirituality.
If I haven’t yet earned a bachelor’s degree but have a strong desire to serve as a Good Shepherd Volunteer, may I still apply?
Collier High School is the only work site that accepts applicants that do not yet hold a bachelor’s degree, but you will need at least an associate’s degree.
I’m not between the ages 21 and 30, may I still apply?
Sorry, but to be a Good Shepherd Volunteer you must be 21 by August 2020, and no older than 30. We encourage you to visit catholicvolunteernetwork.org and serviceyear.org for other great volunteer opportunities.
If I don’t live in the US, what type of visa do I need to be able to serve as a Good Shepherd Volunteer?
Unfortunately we are not currently accepting applications from non-U.S. citizens or residents without a valid USCIS Permanent Residence Card. Please check back with us at a future date.
I have student loan debt. As a Good Shepherd Volunteer, am I eligible to defer my student loans?
If your loan is from a public organization (Sallie Mae, Perkins, Stafford, Direct Loans, etc.) you may be eligible for several loan deferment options. Most private lenders also have a loan deferment option. Once you have been accepted into our program, we can provide you an acceptance letter so that you can apply for loan deferment.
I have already completed a service-year program with another post-graduate program. May I still apply?
We encourage applicants that have previously committed to a year of service to apply, and we ask them to clearly state the outcome they desire to achieve from serving as a Good Shepherd Volunteer. For example: explain how you believe this experience will be different or what you are looking to learn or experience which you have not in your past service-year program.
Am I limited to only serving for one year?
Good Shepherd Volunteers may have the option to renew at their placements at the end of their first service year, or to apply to a new placement.