Life as a Bon Secours Volunteer: Page 1 2 3 4

Life as a Bon Secours Volunteer: Continued

Community
Community

“We started out as strangers…now we are friends.  We support each other through hard times, laugh during good times, and constantly challenge each other to grow.”

~Sarah
BSVM Volunteer
2004-2005

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Where do Bon Secours Volunteers live? 

A: Bon Secours Volunteers live in an intentional community in a house that is accessible to the volunteer placement sites as well as to public transportation.

Bon Secours Volunteers make certain choices about their living situation when choosing to join the program. Volunteers live in an intentional community, making a conscious effort to be present to other community members and their needs. Within the house, volunteers will share living space, eat together and share in community prayer several nights a week, and share household responsibilities. Most volunteers will share a bedroom, depending on gender.

The volunteer house is located within the neighborhood in which volunteers serve, giving volunteers a unique opportunity to join more fully in the community where they are working. The location of the volunteers’ living quarters enables volunteers to interact with those they serve as neighbors, not just strangers. The house is also located within walking distance of downtown Baltimore, providing volunteers the chance to experience many of the cultural and recreational events that Baltimore has to offer outside working hours.

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Q: What about transportation?  Do I need a car? 

A: The Bon Secours volunteers have one community car that is shared among all.  In addition to the community car, the volunteer house is located on a major bus line and is close to the light rail.  In the spirit of living simply, we encourage our volunteers to walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation whenever it is appropriate and possible. 

Sometimes volunteers prefer to bring their own car.  While you are welcome to bring your own car, we recommend that you think carefully about that decision.  If you decide to do so, you must carry your own car insurance and your stipend may not cover that expense. 

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Q: Will I receive health insurance? 

A: Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry offers health insurance to each volunteer.  Dental and vision insurance is included.  While the program pays your health insurance premium, you are responsible for any medical expenses.  Volunteers are asked to budget their stipend to cover any co-pays and prescription costs.     

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Q: How much is the stipend?  What is it used for?

A: The Bon Secours Volunteers’ monthly stipend is $325 before taxes.  During orientation, the volunteer community discusses and decides upon how much each person will contribute to the community’s food, gas, and household budget.  Funds beyond those needs are intended for volunteers’ medical and personal expenses.  Volunteers are paid every two weeks. 

A year as a Bon Secours Volunteer provides one with the opportunity to develop a lifestyle of simplicity.  Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry expects its volunteers to take advantage of this opportunity and to live only from the monthly stipend that is provided. 

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Q: What about loan forbearance?

A: Since Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry is an AmeriCorps program, our volunteers’ federal loans are eligible for forbearance.  If you have private loans, it is up to the loan company to decide whether or not to allow forbearance.

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Q: What is the weekly schedule of a Bon Secours volunteer like?

Volunteers usually work regular business hours, 40 hours a week. They receive 10 vacation days annually, plus holidays.

In terms of formal “community time,” you should plan on spending, at least, two evenings a week with community.  One of these evenings will involve a staff member.  In addition, a bi-weekly morning reflection is scheduled into our volunteers’ work week.

  • Volunteer Formation: The formal community time with staff described above is referred to as “volunteer formation” time.
    Outside of this time together, volunteers are asked to complete different readings, activities, or reflection exercises.
    Throughout the year, the program staff and the volunteer community collaborate to make these times fruitful to everyone’s experiences. 
  • Retreats:  The Bon Secours Volunteer community participates in three retreats during the year.  These retreats are
    planned for the fall, the winter, and the spring. All volunteers are invited to attend these gatherings. 
  • Other Activities:  A year as a Bon Secours Volunteer provides you with many opportunities to be in solidarity with people who are poor and we ask our volunteers to take advantage of those moments. Thus, during your time as a Bon Secours Volunteer
    we ask that you do not take credit courses or take on a part-time job.

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Q: What is Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry’s relationship with AmeriCorps? 

By joining Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, volunteers become members of the Catholic Volunteer Network/AmeriCorps Educational Awards Program. 

When funding is available, AmeriCorps Education Awards are given to AmeriCorps members who successfully complete a required term of service for the program in which they are participating, in this case, Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry. 

CVN/AmeriCorps members earn an education award of 5,350 after successfully completing 1700 hours of service and fulfilling the time commitment to Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry.  The required 1700 hours can usually be achieved when a volunteer works 40 hours a week for the designated service year, minus the ten days of vacation time allotted to volunteers.

An education award can be used to repay qualified existing or future student loans or to pay all or part of the cost of attending a qualified institution of higher education. 

While Bon Secours volunteers are bound by the policies of Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, as an AmeriCorps member they are also bound by the policies of CVN/AEAP outlined in the CVN/AEAP contract.

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Life as a Bon Secours Volunteer: Page 1 2 3 4