Brethren Volunteer Service
Frequently Asked Questions
Part 1: The application form, completed essay questions, resume, current photo and school transcripts should be sent first. Upon receipt of the application we will contact your references. Once we have received responses from at least three references (including one from each of the three categories), your application will be reviewed for acceptance into BVS. We recommend you call our office to check on the status of your references. This process needs to be completed by the deadline date for the orientation you wish to attend.
Part 2: Once you are accepted, we will mail you the following to fill out and return: covenant, hold harmless waiver, health screen form, death benefit form, criminal record check release form, a bill for the $75 background check fee and a request for a copy of your driver's license.
Part 3: BVS staff will conduct a phone interview with each applicant prior to the start of orientation.
Important: Logistical considerations may limit the number of volunteers we can place into each orientation. We will place volunteers into orientation units in the order of file completion. The deadline for completing the application process is six weeks prior to that unit's beginning date. When a unit is filled prior to this deadline, a waiting list is established.
The application process takes time!
We suggest you send your application three to four months before the orientation unit you want to attend.
Contact us frequently to check the status of your file. Seeing that your file is complete is your responsibility!
A $50 fee will be charged if your application requires rush processing close to or after the deadline (See orientation site information for deadlines.)
Applicants interested in international assignments should be in phone contact with the BVS staff. You will also be contacted by a regional international representative regarding information on these projects (Europe, Japan, Latin America and Africa). International assignments are based on skills, project needs and availability, and may not be determined on a first come, first serve basis.
During orientation you will interview with international staff. If approved and if the placement does not start immediately after orientation, candidates may be placed at an interim project for a few weeks to several months (please be prepared to wait). If you will begin an international assignment within one month following orientation, you will have the option to return home. Volunteers serving outside the United States are charged a $500 fee.
Be open to considering domestic projects, as placements outside the United States are not guaranteed. BVSers can take an international assignment after a year of domestic service.
The placement of a volunteer is a process that will involve the volunteer, the Latin America BVS Coordinator, the Director of BVS and the Latin American host organization where everyone involved will look for the right match between the volunteer’s skills and interests and the host organization’s needs and educational opportunities. Some projects sites may be developed and placements arranged during the application and orientation process.
General requirements for volunteers in Latin America include the ability to work in a non-structured environment, have local adaptability, and be process and people oriented rather than goal oriented. The most important requirement for a BVSer in Latin America is his/her ability to actively support the processes that the host organization had begun and to accompany them in their work. This philosophy to accompany people with a commitment to live in solidarity in the local community that you are serving is at the core of the volunteer experience in Latin America.
Yes. BVS has a health insurance plan available if you are not covered by a family or personal plan. Please see page 77 in the covenant for details.
Please note that BVS does not provide insurance for personal items such as cell phones, computers, cameras, bicycles, and cars.