Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the more common questions that come up when considering a year of service with Catholic Volunteers in Florida.
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Q: Who can be a CVIF Volunteer?
A: Applicants must have a college degree (or 10 year work experience in a field), have access to a car (public transportation in Florida is limited), and no dependents.
Q: Are Married couples permitted to be CVs?
A: Married couples without dependents are encouraged to serve only if they are both committed to participating in a year of service.
Q: What are the financial arrangements during the term of service?
A: Living simply is a key value of our program. CVIF provides furnished housing, health insurance, and a monthly living stipend of up to $500 for everyday expenses. We request each volunteer to have an emergency fund in their savings in case something unplanned occurs.
Q: Is it a requirement to fund-raise prior to beginning CVIF?
A: Yes. Volunteers will have the opportunity to fund-raise $500 toward their year of service. CVIF Directors will go over this in detail during the first interview. We encourage volunteers to gain support from their home community by speaking to their pastor or minister and engaging the community in their experience and volunteer year. Some volunteers and alumni have used Facebook causes for birthdays and special events because they wanted to help support CVIF. For that we are VERY grateful! This program is only possible because of the support of our alumni and donors.
Q: Will I have health insurance in CVIF?
A: CVIF makes health insurance available to volunteers through the Catholic Volunteer Network if volunteers do not wish to remain on their parent’s healthcare plan.
Q: Is a car required for participation in the CVIF program?
A: Typically, yes. Florida’s public transportation is not adequate for getting to and from most service sites. Although we do have some positions where housing is provided close to the service site this is the exception not the rule. During the interview process we will discuss your ability to have a car for your service year and if you do not have a car, we will identify if you qualify for a position where a car is not required.
Service Site Considerations:
Q: What will my work schedule be? Will I have vacation time?
A: Your work schedule will be full time (up to 40 hours per week) and time off will be based on the needs of the service site. We highly encourage volunteers to plan to stay in Florida for the full year and experience holidays with your community but we understand sometimes commitments arise that make it important to travel home.
Q: What might happen if I don’t like my job?
A: CVIF’s goal is to match each volunteer’s skills, education and interests with those of the service sites participating in the program. CVIF’s commitment to you is that you will be safe and have staff support and mentorship at all times. However, this year is about personal and professional growth and making a commitment to serve the marginalized in our society wherever that need may be. There will be challenges both personally and professionally but these challenges will encourage you to become the best version of yourself. Except in extreme circumstances a volunteer’s contract to the service site is unbreakable. CVIF expects that each volunteer will respond in a professional manner should frustrations arise at their service site as they would in any other professional position.
Q: I have always lived with roommates. Will I be living with a roommate this year?
A: 90% of volunteers have a roommate during the service year. When service site matches occur which would preclude the volunteer from living in community with another CV, the staff and the volunteer make the decision together to decide if this opportunity is the best fit for the volunteer.
Q: How simply would I be living? What is the CVIF lifestyle like?
A: Volunteers are expected to focus on their legitimate needs throughout the year rather than wants because this is your opportunity to understand how people in our communities are struggling every day. We challenge you to live within your means for one year on the monthly stipend we provide, which can be up to $500 depending on your service site. In the months leading up to your service year we challenge you to determine what is a need and what is a want (Cable? Cell phone? Internet? Eating out? Entertainment? ) Challenge yourself to live on a budget of $500 a month for two (2) months prior to arriving to see if you are up to the challenge.
Q: What do CVs do for fun?
A: Luckily, Florida has tons of activities that are free or very inexpensive! CVs spend time at the beach with friends and community members, or they might get involved in their local parish. Most volunteers engage in arts & crafts projects at home with roommates, participate in outdoor sports, visit the dollar theaters, watch free concerts in the park, check out the minor league baseball games, and even enjoy the popular downtown hotspots. Florida has many diverse natural parks and beauty to take in as well from canoeing in the Everglades to swimming in fresh spring water or checking out the manatees.
Q: What type of place will I be living in?
A: CVs are expected to live in an apartment leased by the organization. Apartments will be located in a safe place no further than 30 miles from their service site.
Q: What other regular community obligations will I have?
A: CVs are expected to attend community functions and retreats organized by CVIF, and try to be present for your other community members functions. You are encouraged to visit the other volunteers as much as possible- what a great opportunity to see all of Florida!
Q: Is CVIF difficult?
A: Yes, and a year of service is not for everyone. However, when the end of the year is near, most volunteers say that CVIF has been a life changing journey, one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives, and are sad to see it end. It is important to remember it is also demanding and personally challenging. CVIF staff prepare four retreats a year to facilitate and support you as you meet each goal and challenge.
Q: What do most former CVs do after their year of service?
A: Seventy percent (70%) of all volunteers remain in Florida at the end of their service year. Many of our volunteers are offered a full time position at their service site; some CVs attend graduate school; some remain and are accepted for a second year of service, and others move home and continue to pursue a full time job.
Q: How does CVIF help prepare me for what I want to do next?