Frequently Asked Questions
- Who’s a typical FrancisCorps volunteer?
- A young adult age 21 to 25,
- A recent college graduate and/or has relevant life experience,
- Roman Catholic or other Christian denomination,
- Eligible to be employed in the U.S.,
- Able to travel outside the U.S. on retreat and on pilgrimage.
- When are the application deadlines?
Apply Early, Get a Decision Early! Applications received before January 31 are reviewed as they arrive and you can get a decision in as little as a few weeks after you apply!
General Deadline April 1: Applications received after January 31 will be reviewed at this time.
After April 1: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis based on availability. We usually receive some late applications and may accept volunteers into the summer. It’s always worth asking if we are still accepting new volunteers!
- I’ve been accepted. What’s next?
If accepted, we will work with you to see how much time you will need to return an answer to us. If you accept our offer, the final step is to gather the remaining required information and documents to finalize your acceptance. Only when we have received and reviewed this additional documentation will your acceptance be finalized. These additional documents include:
- A current high quality digital photo of yourself
- Copy/Scan of your Birth Certificate
- Copy/Scan of your Passport Photo Page
- Copy/Scan of your Driver’s License
- Password to social media accounts (Just kidding! Way too creepy!)
- Official Transcript
- Health Assessment Form(s)
- Drug Screening/Background Check (we will help you through this process)
Once these last few elements have arrived and are confirmed, you’re in! Welcome to FrancisCorps!
- What if I’m an international applicant?
International applicants must arrange for the proper immigration and visa documentation. If you wish to apply to the program, you must obtain a multiple entry B1 or B2 visa for the United States of America. All FrancisCorps applicants must be proficient in English.
- Who can I contact to learn more?
Please contact Jenny Rose, our Associate Director, at email@example.com or schedule a time to video chat here. You can also call or text her at 315-299-3343.
- Is it responsible to take a year off?
A year of service is hardly a year “off”. It’s hard work and pretty intense. In some ways it may not appear directly in line with your long term plan but it may just be what you need! A year of service can fine-tune a person’s career interest, focus their academic inquiry, it can give one needed maturity and it certainly builds character, virtues and personal strength. Many employers and graduate schools look favorably on a person who has given back to the community in a year of service.
- Is there a fundraising requirement?
There is no fundraising requirement. The day-to-day living expenses, including a small personal stipend are provided by FrancisCorps. Retreats, training and the Pilgrimage to Assisi are all paid for by FrancisCorps. Our volunteers are responsible for any personal travel for holidays and for their arrival to Syracuse at the start of their year of service.
- What will happen to student loans?
Volunteers can apply for a deferment of their student loans. This does not eliminate the loan, but rather postpones the payment. Depending on the provider, loans can be deferred for doing volunteer work or even more simply for reason of economic hardship. If requested, FrancisCorps can write a letter stating your participation in the program, the program dates, and the amount of money you earn per month.
- Will I have health insurance?
If you need health insurance, it will be provided by your service site. However, many volunteers elect to maintain their health insurance through their families.
- Where will I serve?
The selection of where your service experience will take place is one of mutual decision making and we do not simply place you at a site. Instead we ask you where and in what environment you feel God is calling you to serve. Your preferences in terms of service sites are considered as well as what we heard from you in the interview and the interests of the other volunteers you will be serving with. Consideration and conversation regarding your service site placement begins with the application and we arrive at a final decision of service site placement together after a period of prayer, reflection, and dialogue. We do our best to make sure that where you will be serving will be fulfilling, challenging and life giving!
The collaborative nature of this process requires both you and us to remain open to the Holy Spirit. Our preference is to finalize service site placements in the Spring in order to consider where each community member is feeling called, however, decisions on service site placements may occur earlier or later in the process depending on your needs, the needs of FrancisCorps or the needs of the service sites.
- Where will I live?
The volunteer house is located in the Syracuse, NY neighborhood called the Northside. You’ll live in a cozy and fully furnished house consisting of 8 bedrooms (you’ll get your own room!), two bathrooms, a dining room, communal living space, a prayer space, a kitchen, basement with washer and dryer, and an upstairs porch. The house is also located within a 10-15 minute drive to all service sites and downtown, and a 5 minute drive to Assumption Church, the parish where you will be a member.
- What are the expectations?
As a FrancisCorps volunteer you will commit to:
- One year (end of July – end of June) of serving, praying and living in community in Syracuse, NY,
- Eat at least one meal as a community together, daily,
- Pray together some form of prayer as a community together, daily,
- Be available to one another to share your journey and experience, daily,
- Celebrate community night with a FrancisCorps support person, weekly,
- Share in a community meeting, weekly,
- Engage in a community faith sharing, weekly,
- Attend the Sunday Catholic Mass together as a community, weekly,
- Attend key liturgical moments throughout the year,
- Serve those marginalized, economically or otherwise, approximately 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at a service site,
- Participate in 5 retreats and a pilgrimage,
- Abide by the FrancisCorps personal conduct and alcohol and drug policy.
- What are the benefits?
- A comfortable home to live in (with WiFi!), rent and utility costs included,
- A monthly community stipend for food and supplies ($100/volunteer/month),
- A small monthly personal stipend for personal expenses ($100/volunteer/month),
- Transportation to and from your service site,
- No fundraising requirement,
- Medical insurance provided by the work placement site (volunteers may elect to maintain their health insurance through their families),
- Help navigating the process of deferring student loans (we can’t do it for you but we can help you through it!),
- Flexibility with personal travel when the need arises (such as job interviews, family functions, weddings, emergencies),
- Opportunities to host guests and share the FrancisCorps experience with your friends, family and loved ones,
- Monthly one-on-one meetings with each volunteer,
- Participation in the weekly community night,
- Open and available lines of communication between you and your volunteer community and the entire FrancisCorps staff,
- A weeklong orientation retreat to begin the year,
- Three weekend retreats on community, service and prayer,
- A weeklong pilgrimage experience to Assisi, Italy,
- A transition retreat to end the year
- How has FrancisCorps responded to COVID-19?
The safety of our volunteers, those they serve and those they serve alongside is of paramount importance. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have responded by following the guidance of the CDC, State and Local Health Departments. As this guidance has changed, we have also changed our procedures and protocols while keeping in mind the needs of the community and the FrancisCorps experience. Along with the standard vaccinations, FrancisCorps volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up to date in accordance with CDC guidance. Volunteers and staff also observe local guidance on masking and social distancing. Serving others, however, does bring with it the chance of exposure. Blessed to be a small program, we are able to address close contact situations and positive COVID-19 tests on an individual basis, making sure the volunteer community knows what to do in terms of isolation and/or quarantine and is supported during the experience. Our key to success, and an essential part of the FrancisCorps experience in general, is clear, prompt, and open communication between staff and the volunteer community. COVID-19 has become a part of the world in which we live and as the situation continues to change and evolve, so will our response here at FrancisCorps.