The Red Cross of Alaska is proud to partner with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a full-time volunteer program that places each participant at a non-profit that strives for social justice for an entire year of service.
At the Red Cross, we treat our “JVs” as we fondly refer to them just like staff. They work regular office hours, attend staff meetings ,etc.
We’d like to introduce you to our two JVs at the Red Cross of Alaska for the 2017-2018 year:
Meet Carly, serving the South East
What inspired you to be a JV? One of my greatest friends and mentors, Kathryn, works in Campus Ministry at the college I attended, and served in JVC Northwest in Montana. I am constantly inspired and impressed by her capability to remain so grounded in such a highly stimulating city like NYC; she expressed these were skill sets she acquired through her service in JVC Northwest and intentional community: what a great reminder to remain present, inclusive, and socially aware. It was incredible how even after years of her experience in Montana she still very much lives in the spirit of the four core values that JVC Northwest embodies: Community, Simple Living, Social and Ecological Justice, and Spirituality/Reflection. When looking into the program, these four values really resonated with me, and I was really struggling in my life post-gad to find my role in society and fulfillment. Although I am a bit older than the typical JV, I knew JVC Northwest/AmeriCorps was the right avenue to explore in my life presently. I’d been active in serving various marginalized populations throughout college, as well as after college working in Admissions, that I loved the opportunity to partake in the service I love, with an organization (or two, counting the Red Cross of Alaska) I believe in.
Would you be so kind to give us a little peak into the “simple living” of JV life, and what you are hoping to learn from this experience? The previous group of JV’s from Juneau were awesome and has definitely bestowed a lot of wisdom and tips for our next year (and hopefully the rest of our lives) concerning simple living. We have a worm farm, compost, recycling, and are strategizing on ways we can get a garden going at our house. We are definitely more conscientious about our use of electricity, whether that means enjoying the house a little darker, timing our showers, or being weary of our appliance use (Juneau’s climate certainly does not make it easy to forego dryer use.) Simple living is definitely still a struggle, as we’re only two weeks into our program, but it is a work in process, and a creative one at that!
How did you end up in Juneau, AK? We were asked to list 10 separate service placement interests, and I’d say at least 8 that I listed were based in Alaska. JVC Northwest takes one’s preference into consideration, but my mindset was to trust the process and that they knew where I would best serve; I believed that wherever they placed me, was where I was meant to be. Juneau with the Red Cross of Alaska was my first offer, and it couldn’t have felt more right.
And how did you end up matched with the Red Cross? JVC matches us with an agency that they believe based off our interview and our skill sets would be an appropriate match (at least this is how I think it works). I then interviewed with Andrew and Kate at Red Cross in Juneau, and was a good fit from the start. Many aspects of the role I am filling challenge me, and give me something to really look forward to. I accepted the position as soon as I received the offer.
What will be your job role with the Red Cross? I am the Preparedness and Casework Specialist in Juneau, Alaska. I will be facilitating two projects concerning Emergency Preparedness: The Pillowcase Project, and the Home Fire Campaign (plus Sound the Alarm). I am so excited to get my feet wet and hit the ground running!
Anything on your Alaska bucket list while you’re here? YES! I would love to make it to any hot springs (obviously still struggling with the Simple Living aspect) and the Ice Caves. I aim to avoid any confrontations with Brown bears, but will admit I’ve gone on a few adventures already trying to spot some Black bears. I’m honestly just along for the ride, and just looking to experience as much land as I can in this year. I also have a huge interest in the native community, and would love any opportunity to be present in any of their traditional ceremonies.
Meet Ella, serving South Central
What inspired you to be a JV? As the child of two former JVs, I grew up always knowing I wanted to dedicate some part of my life to service. They frequently spoke about their life-changing experience in JVC Northwest and the personal growth they each experienced. After graduation and countless hours looking into graduate programs, I came to the conclusion that I needed some time to not only figure out what I wanted to do, but what kind of impact I wanted to make. After looking into some different volunteer and research programs, I ultimately decided on JVC Northwest due to their focus on intentional community. Also, I’ve always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest!
Would you tell me a little about “living the 4 JV values?” JVC Northwest operates around four core values- Community, Social and Ecological Justice, Simple Living, and Spirituality. As a JV, I live with six other volunteers and participate in what we call an “intentional community”. This essentially means we make decisions together as a group and there is more of an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration rather than a regular roommate dynamic. Social and Ecological Justice refers to our individual service placements which mainly deal with marginalized populations. Ecologically, our goal is to leave as small a footprint as possible and we try to limit our energy and water usage accordingly. Our project at the moment is trying to establish a worm compost bin for the house! Simple living will also be a theme throughout our JV year. This includes living on a small personal stipend each month as well as working on limiting our technology use. The last value, spirituality, comes into play during weekly “spirituality nights” which are used for the purpose of intentional reflection on service and JV life in general.
Did you choose Anchorage, AK, or did it choose you? When I applied for JVC Northwest my only preference was that I be placed in Alaska! I’m very excited to be here and can’t wait to explore all that Anchorage has to offer.
And how did you end up matched with the Red Cross? My background is in Public Health and I have had a lot of experience working on community health education projects as well as implementing various health initiatives. I was interested in the Red Cross because of the emergency preparedness education aspect as well as the amazing opportunity to work for such a well-known and established nonprofit.
What will be your Red Cross responsibilities? This year I will be working as a Preparedness & Casework Specialist. Specifically I will be taking a lead role in the implementation of the Home Fire Campaign and the Pillowcase Project.
Seen any moose or bear yet? Not yet! One of my housemates swears he saw a moose during our flight in, but his credibility is a bit questionable.
Any Alaska bucket list to dos? Travel as much as possible! Specifically, I would love to visit the Kenai Peninsula and take a trip to Denali!
Any overall goals or aspirations for the next year you wouldn’t mind sharing with us? Without internet in the house we will definitely have some time to pick up new hobbies! Some of my personal goals for the year include learning to play guitar, getting more into baking, and completing an Anchorage triathlon.