Frequently Asked Questions
The Augustinian Volunteer program provides transportation in the form of shared vehicles and/or public transit passes. In keeping with the commitment to simplicity and intentional community, volunteers are not permitted to bring their own vehicles.
In the spirit of St. Augustine, hospitality is one of the primary charisms of the Augustinians. Thus, we encourage Volunteers to have some family or friends visit throughout the year. However, visitors should not stay longer than a weekend, and there is a limit to how many visitors a community can have during the year. While many times visitors enrich the life of a volunteer community, too many visitors can detract from the experience.
Volunteers commit to serving 40-50 hours per week at their service site.
Yes! Augustinian Volunteers receive vacation time at several points throughout the year, differing based on whether they are serving domestically or internationally.
All domestic volunteers will have Thanksgiving weekend off from their service site, but are required to spend the holiday with their volunteer community. They also have approximately two weeks off during the Christmas. Part of this time is spent at home with family and part is spent participating in a mid-year retreat. In addition, depending the volunteers’ service site, they may have additional time off at Easter. Any travel during this time is limited to three days and is as the expense of the volunteer.
International volunteers will also have time off during their term of service however; they do not travel home during their term of service. Volunteers are granted a total of two weeks vacation to be used as a community or with any visitors. For safety reasons, international volunteers are not permitted to travel alone and all vacation must be authorized by the AV staff.
Augustinian Volunteers live in either houses or apartments, typically with both men and women. The sizes of communities can range from 2 to 5 people and vary from year to year. Volunteers commit to live in an intentional community that is meant to foster personal and communal growth.
Safety is one of the primary concerns of the Augustinian Volunteer program. Although some of the volunteer communities and service sites are in areas affected by poverty, none are unsafe if appropriate common sense precautions are taken.
We ask volunteers to exercise good judgment as they become familiar with their new surroundings, just as anyone living somewhere new would do.
Not all Augustinian Volunteers are Catholic and we welcome applicants from other faith traditions. However, because the AV program is rooted in the Catholic tradition, it is important that all volunteers are open to participating in Mass.
Spirituality is an important aspect of the volunteer experience. An AV must have a faith life and be willing to share their faith with others through community prayer. The year provides many opportunities for reflection and prayer, which are most impactful when volunteers have a genuine desire for spiritual growth.
Most people who have lived in community will probably tell you that community living can be a challenge, but it can also be an amazing gift. How an individual responds to community life often depends upon what the individual is willing to put into the community experience, and how they learn to compromise and communicate with others. Intentional community can be a lot of fun, but it can also be hard work. Living in community for a year often provides volunteers an opportunity to experience great personal growth and self-awareness.
Yes! The Augustinian Volunteer staff’s goal is to journey with volunteers throughout their experience, providing resources, activities and a listening ear. The AV staff maintains contact throughout the year via emails and phone calls. Additionally, all volunteer communities receive four visits from office staff. The staff is also present during orientation and all retreats.
Each volunteer community is also paired with an Augustinian friar living in the city where they are serving. This Augustinian is also a resource and can provide guidance and support throughout the year.
After their year of service, Augustinian Volunteers’ career paths are as diverse as the individuals themselves. Some volunteers enter the working world in various fields such as education, health care, business, social services, etc. Many volunteers continue with their education after their year of service, entering masters programs, medical school, or law school. Occasionally, some volunteers choose to do another year of service.
Because prospective volunteers apply to the Augustinian Volunteers from all over the United States, often it is not feasible to interview in person. In-person interviews are ideal and when possible, the applicant typically meets a member of the AV staff in the Villanova area; however, when distance is a barrier, interviews are conducted using video calling.
Applications will be accepted for the 2020-2021 volunteer year beginning November 1. Applicants are considered on a rolling basis.
All Augustinian Volunteers must be between the ages of 21 and 29 years of age, unmarried and a college graduate. Because the volunteer experience is centered on service, spirituality and community, AVs must be committed to a personal spiritual life and a Christian lifestyle, dedicated to serving others, and open to living with their peers in intentional community. Volunteers are expected to have a sense of humor and a willingness to step outside of their comfort zone. The most successful AV’s are open-minded, flexible, and willing to serve in a variety of capacities.
Additionally, all volunteers serving internationally must be conversational in Spanish. Applicants who wish to be considered for a placement in Chulucanas, Peru must complete a short Spanish interview in order to demonstrate his/her language proficiency.
Augustinian Volunteers must be US citizens or permanent US residents.
The first step in the application process is to submit a copy of your resume, a recent picture, and a completed application. After the application has been received, a member of the Augustinian Volunteer staff will be in touch via email to set up an interview, which may be conducted in person or using Skype, depending upon location.
Following the interview, applicants must submit: three references, a reference information form, a medical form completed by a physician, and a release form. Once all requirements have been met the application is considered complete, the Augustinian Volunteer Advisory Board will review the complete applicant file in order to determine if the individual is a good fit for the AV program. Learn more about the application process.
The volunteer experience begins in late August with an eight-day orientation experience in the Philadelphia area. Following orientation, domestic volunteers travel directly to the city where they will be serving. International volunteers return home and have limited responsibilities to the Augustinian Volunteer program until January when they participate in a short international orientation outside of Philadelphia, before traveling to Peru.
We ask all prospective volunteers to enter the application and placement process with openness. Once accepted into the Augustinian Volunteer program, applicants are given the opportunity to view descriptions of available placements and are asked to indicate service preferences. A match between an accepted applicant and a partnering service site is then made based upon the preferences and experience of the applicant as well as the needs of the partnering school or organization. It is the goal of the AV program to place volunteers in service and community settings where they will thrive. For this reason, an applicant’s interests and experience are given precedence over his or her geographical preference.
The Augustinian Volunteers is different from other service programs for a number of reasons. While many programs offer volunteers the opportunity to live in community, intentional community has a special place in the AV experience. This is rooted in the Augustinian tradition and our collaboration with the Augustinian friars, for whom community is a central value. We ask volunteers to make a constant effort at living in community with the belief that the experience can provide unparalleled opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. This effort requires volunteers to consider the common good of the whole community above, but not at the expense of, the individual.
The characteristically Augustinian emphasis on building connections and relationships also extends beyond the intentional community experience. The Augustinian Volunteer program is medium-sized, by design. The AV staff gets to know each volunteer as we walk with him or her on their journey. We provide opportunities for each volunteer to get to know not only those with whom he or she will be living, but all of the volunteers serving throughout the US and abroad and many AV alumni who have gone before. Finally, all AV homes are located only in cities where Augustinian friars are also living and serving and able to get to know each volunteer. Our hope is that each Augustinian Volunteer will feel deeply connected to the Augustinian family, not only during his or her year of service, but for years to come as part of our cherished family of alumni.
Yes. The small stipend is for personal use and is not intended to be used to pay for living expenses (room and board, utilities, transportation, insurance etc.), all of which are provided by the Augustinian Volunteer program.
Yes. While many domestic volunteers choose to stay on their family insurance, the Augustinian Volunteers does offer medical coverage to all volunteers at no cost, for the length of the experience. In order to insure that volunteers serving in Peru are adequately covered in the event of a medical emergency abroad, International volunteers are required to accept the international coverage offered by the AV program.
Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation costs to the Philadelphia area for orientation in August. From that point, until the conclusion of the volunteer experience, the AV program will provide all necessary program related transportation. For domestic Volunteers, this includes travel to and from your service city at the beginning and end of the year and at Christmas. It also includes transportation to both the mid-year and closing retreats.
For international volunteers, the Augustinian Volunteer program provides transportation home after orientation in August, to the Philadelphia area in January prior to leaving for Peru, to and from Peru, to the Philadelphia area for a concluding re-entry retreat and back home at the end of the experience. The AV program does not provide transportation home during the year. Travel back to the US during an international service experience is strongly discouraged.
The Augustinian Volunteer program is part of a 501(c)3, which typically enables volunteers to put their federal loans in either forbearance or deferment status while they are volunteering. Most often, federal loans are deferred due to economic hardship.
Since the terms of private loans can vary widely, they are considered on an individual basis. Private loans may be more difficult and on occasion, even impossible to defer. While the AV staff works with volunteers to help in the loan deferment process by providing any documentation required by lenders, the volunteer himself or herself must complete the necessary paperwork and correspond directly with his or her loan company.