When do I arrive to start my year of service?
You will arrive the first week of August (details of specific location in the Bay Area will be provided once accepted into the program). Pickup will be arranged for those flying in. We will gather for supper and spend the evening getting to know each other. Orientation will continue throughout that first week with a mix of fun, prayer, presentations and a preview of expectations for the coming year. Orientation is a requirement of all incoming VSC Members.
How will I get there?
You are expected to cover your own travel expense to Orientation. Travel to your Placement Site and to/from all subsequent Reflection Weekends will be covered by the VSC Community Expense Funds.
Where will I live?
You will live in a small community with other VSC Members usually in a rented house or apartment. Basic furnishings are provided. You will bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towels. Pillows, blankets and comforters are provided. The housing will be in a simple working class (but safe) neighborhood. VSC pays for the rent.
What about living expenses, personal items, and food?
VSC will provide you with housing, grocery and community expense funds. Your VSC community will determine how to budget the food and community funds and how it will be spent by electing a bookkeeper.
What about religion?
Vincentian Service Corps is a Catholic based program, although members are not required to be Catholic. Our program is founded on Christian Gospel values as seen in the lives of the Vincentian family saints, primarily St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac. Scripture, prayer, and spirituality are incorporated into the beginning Orientation, the three Reflection Weekends during the year and the Closing Weekend at the end of the year. Prayer/reflection and faith sharing are expected to be part of the regular activities of each VSC Member living in community.
Who will be there to support us on an ongoing basis?
The VSC community will have a support person(s) who will meet with them weekly at their community night sessions and who will assist with prayer, faith sharing, and problem solving. VSC staff is available via phone and email, and attends all Reflection Weekends and regularly visits the local community and service sites.
Where will the Reflection Weekends be held?
They are held in different locations in California to give you an opportunity for a bit of travel and renewal.
Where will I work and do I need special skills?
Your placement site will be determined by the cooperative efforts of the VSC staff, the Agencies requesting members, and you. You will be working in an environment which best fits your gifts and talents. Teaching positions will require certification unless you are a current college graduate. This will all be coordinated with you, VSC, and the Placement Agency. You will work a regular 40 hour work week.
Can I bring my car?
No, you cannot bring your own personal car. In the spirit of simplicity and intentional community, VSC Members are expected to enter VSC with the same, minimal amount of possessions as the other members of their community.
How many applicants are selected for VSC West?
VSC West usually accepts between 6 to 14 applicants.
How will I get to work?
VSC Members use multiple ways of getting to and from work. Some will walk if the distance is short. Others will take the bus using bus passes purchased with Community Expense Funds; others who work the furthest will use Community cars provided by VSC. You will carpool with fellow VSC Members.
What should I bring?
Two suitcases and a backpack. Simple living is KEY!
What is the dress code?
For Orientation week and Reflection weekends, casual clothing is appropriate, with one nice outfit for the sending out ceremony. Your Placement Site supervisor will determine your work attire.
How will my work be evaluated?
You will be assigned a Placement Site supervisor who will meet with you regularly. In the beginning of the year those meetings will take place on a weekly basis. A mid-year and end-of-year evaluation is required as well. Your service year should be a positive work experience and evaluations provide an opportunity for that to happen.
Will I have any vacation time?
VSC Members are given 2 weeks off at Christmas time and three (3) additional personal days off. Christmas time off should be negotiated between you and your Placement Agency at the beginning of the Placement Year. Generally a VSC Member uses their 3 personal days for either a job interview, visiting a school for a masters program or a family special event. A VSC Member will observe the same holidays as their Placement Site. VSC Members working in schools will follow the school calendar of their particular school, but will be assigned to another Placement Site during Spring break to be in solidarity with their community mates who do not have extended school breaks. Days off must be approved by both your site supervisor and the VSC Director prior to travel (Booking flights, buying tickets for events, hotels, etc.)
Can my friends and family visit?
Guests may stay in VSC housing, if the other VSC members of the community and the VSC Director have been consulted prior to visit and agree, and the visit does not exceed 3-5 days.
What about Health Insurance?
If you are not currently covered under any health insurance plan, please apply for your own individual health insurance policy BEFORE THE START OF THE PROGRAM. VSC Member’s may be eligible to receive an Insurance Premium Allowance with VALID PROOF OF INSURANCE (new federal mandate) in the amount not to exceed $200 per month.
I have a current student loan, what should I do about that?
Many VSC Members typically receive a deferment or forbearance of their student loans during a year of service. Check with your lending institution to confirm eligibility and to obtain the appropriate forms, which will be processed at Orientation. NDMV- AmeriCorps Education Award is available, if eligible (pre-tax).
Will I be able to bring my pet?
No animals are allowed. They may not be brought with you or acquired during the year.
When does the service year end?
Your year of service typically ends the third Thursday of June. Closing Reflection Weekend immediately following. Last day to move out of the residence is Tuesday after closing weekend.
Please address any other questions you may have about the program to VSC West staff by phone or e-mail.