Mercy Volunteer Corps places volunteers for a one year commitment in both the United States and South America. We know this is a big commitment and that you have many questions as you start this journey! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions from our applicants. If you can’t find an answer you are looking for or need more information please contact us. We are here to help you through this process and welcome you (and all of your questions!).
What is Mercy Volunteer Corps?
Mercy Volunteer Corps promotes social change by placing and supporting volunteers for one year of service with people who are poor and marginalized in the U.S. and South America. Mercy Volunteers work in education, healthcare, and social services while living together in a community and growing spiritually.
Where do Mercy Volunteers serve?
Mercy Volunteers serve for one year in one of eleven different service cities in the United States and South America.
U.S. cities include Baltimore, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA; Savannah, GA; Pittsburgh, PA; New York, NY; and St. Michaels, AZ.
International placements are in Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana, South America. *Mercy Volunteer Corps is pausing our international placement for the 2021-2022 volunteer year. Due to concerns about COVID-19, we have chosen to place the international application process on hold for this year. If you are interested in a year of service, please contact staff about cross-cultural opportunities within the United States.
What service opportunities are available through Mercy Volunteer Corps?
Education: Teaching (elementary, secondary, special education), Tutoring (literacy, GED, life skills), and After school programs
Healthcare: Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Community Health Educators, and Health Clinics
Social Services: Homelessness and Transitional Housing, Community Outreach, Counseling, Immigration and Refugee Services, Peace and Justice Advocacy, Women’s Issues, Senior Citizens
How long is the commitment? When does the service year begin and end?
Mercy Volunteer Corps placements require a one-year commitment beginning in mid-August each year. The ending date of the yearlong commitment falls between July 15th and 31st. International placements require additional cross-cultural training in late July, prior to departure for their site in August.
How will I support myself as a volunteer?
Mercy Volunteers receive housing, transportation, food and personal stipends, medical insurance, and school loan deferment (if approved by lender).
What are the application deadlines? Where will my interview take place?
We encourage that applications be submitted close to the priority deadline where possible. As we accept U.S. applications on a rolling basis, more placement options are available early on and positions may fill before the final deadlines. For U.S. applicants, priority is given to applications received by January 20. The general application deadline for U.S. applicants is April 20th. The final deadline is June 21st. U.S. applicants will be interviewed by video call.
Who is eligible for Mercy Volunteer Corps?
A member of Mercy Volunteer Corps must be 21 years of age or older, a high school graduate, able to work 40 hours per week at the assigned service site, able to live in an intentional community where there are persons of faith, and able to commit to living on a small stipend provided for personal and communal expenses. MVC accepts persons who are single or married with no dependents. An individual should have some college or work experience, and some service experience before applying. Motivation to serve, flexibility, and a sense of humor are essential characteristics of an appropriate applicant. Mercy Volunteer Corps invites applicants from all faith traditions who can live and serve within the spirit of the Catholic tradition and welcomes applicants regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity.
Based on our recent experiences with applicants from outside the United States, as well as, similar experiences shared by other volunteer programs, we have found it increasingly difficult and/or costly for volunteer applicants to secure a visa to allow them to enter the country. Since we are not in a position to sponsor volunteers, we find it necessary to suspend acceptance of applications from applicants outside the United States. We will continue to evaluate this situation and it is our sincere hope that circumstances will change at some point in the future.
Who chooses where I will serve?
The volunteer and Mercy Volunteer Corps work together to find the site that is the best fit. Geographic preference, job skills, experience, and the needs of the site are all taken into consideration. Applications received earlier in the year often have a better site selection. Placements are made on a rolling basis, so if you are interested in a specific site, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
What makes MVC unique from other volunteer programs?
MVC is small enough to offer personalized, individualized attention and a family feel, yet large enough to offer a variety of placements in locations around the country. Whether you want a big city life or prefer to experience the slower pace of a Native American reservation, we have a location and service site for you. Our placement process is personalized and a staff member will walk with you during the discernment process to ensure finding the best possible fit for a service site. We are one of the few programs that have placement sites for nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and non-certified healthcare opportunities. Additionally, MVC offers the chance to be a part of the legacy of Catherine McAuley, a lay woman who started ministering to the poor, sick, and uneducated in the 19th century in Dublin and went on to start the Sisters of Mercy.
How do I begin the application process?
Verify that you meet the qualifications and then complete the Request for Application.