Year-Long Volunteer Corps
SOME Volunteer Corps is a year-long residential program for individuals looking to make a significant social justice impact in the lives of those experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty in our nation’s capital.
Corps members provide direct service to individuals and families who are marginalized, oppressed, homeless, or in need materially, emotionally, or otherwise. Working directly with those who are disenfranchised, Corps members come to better understand the challenges of poverty and injustice experienced by so many people. Often it is the Corps members themselves who are served and changed by the persons with whom they work and they become voices and advocates for justice and social change for their brothers and sisters.
**Applications for the 2020-2021 service term are now open**
Why Volunteer with Us?
Make an Impact: Change the lives of those who are homeless, poor, or marginalized.
Gain Work Experience: Learn to be a leader in our nation’s capital while immersing yourself in the nonprofit sector.
Live in Washington, DC: Live in our volunteer house and receive a monthly living allowance and health insurance.
Defer Student Loans: By volunteering with us, you can request deferment or forbearance on your student loans.
What You Can Help With
- Housing for families or single adults
- Job training
- Addiction recovery programs
- Elderly services
- Food distribution
- Medical and dental clinics
- Mental health
How to Apply
Are you eligible?
- You can commit to 40 hours/week for one year.
- You are 21 years of age or older.
- You are a college graduate or equivalent.
- Start your application by filling out the preliminary form.
- After SOME reviews your information, you will be contacted and asked to download and complete the SOME Volunteer Corps Long-Term Live-in application, which will include contact information for references.
- After we receive your application and contact your references, you will be invited to an interview, either in person at SOME or by Skype.
- If you are accepted into the Volunteer Corps, you and the President of SOME will sign a written agreement detailing your start date and job duties at SOME.
**Applications for the 2020-2021 service term are now open**
For information, contact Tracey Peranich at 202.793.5843 or [email protected].
What kinds of things might I be involved in?
Corps members are involved in all aspects of SOME’s services, e.g., medical and dental clinics, single and family housing programs, elderly services, job training, mental health services, or addiction programs. Service placement is discerned with the Corps member and the President of SOME and focuses on the needs of SOME and the gifts, talents, interests, and flexibility of the Corps member. All Corps members assist with SOME’s summer camp program for low income seniors.
When does the program start?
The year of service begins in mid-August and continues to the following August. All Corps members will be notified of the mid-August move-in date and initial orientation. During initial orientation, attention will be given to Corps members living together in Gandhi House—it is a time for everyone to establish how they want to live in community. Therefore, it is important that everyone be present to participate in initial orientation.
What are the living arrangements?
We strive to ‘live simply so others may simply live.’ SOME’s Volunteer Corps Program provides a shared living situation for Corps members in Gandhi House, located in Northeast Washington, DC, walking distance to Catholic University of America (CUA). Each member has a private room. Up to five volunteers, men and women, live in Gandhi House. A willingness to participate and contribute to this experience is essential to each volunteer. The characteristics of this type of communal living are: a simple lifestyle, a supportive and shared living environment, and welcoming hospitality to each other and visitors.
Can family and/or friends visit me and stay in Gandhi House?
Guests of Corps members are always welcome to visit and/or share a meal. All in the house should welcome guests and make them feel at home. Overnight guests are welcome provided there is room in the house and everyone agrees to an overnight guest. Corps members must clear guests visiting with the Volunteer Coordinator and other Corps members, letting them know when and how long a guest will be visiting. If a private room is not available, a guest could sleep on a couch if all Corps members agree.
Do I get vacation, holidays, and sick days?
Each Corps member is entitled to two weeks of vacation during the year as well as ten legal holidays, and sick days.
What about my student loans?
SOME will provide a letter that indicates the duration of your service, August to August, and the amount of your stipend. Most lenders will offer deferment or forbearance on your loan(s) due to economic hardship. It would be wise to contact your lenders now to discuss this matter and let them know of your possible full-time service and if they will allow deferment or forbearance.
For any other question, contact Tracey Peranich at 202.793.5843 or [email protected].
Volunteer Corps Testimonials
“My year of working as a volunteer at SOME gave me invaluable experience in a new field. With the breadth of programs at SOME, I could combine my interests in direct service and systemic change. The training I received helped me transition from my service year to an amazing new job… at SOME.”
“My experience as a long-term volunteer with SOME was nothing like I expected.
First off, Gandhi House is a privilege. Not being familiar with anything other than the downtown area, I was expecting a much less comfortable home and neighborhood. I loved the early mornings and evenings sitting out on the front porch.
As a Volunteer Corps member I helped the Development Team and found myself working with an amazing group of people to plan SOME’s Senior Summer Camp. Imagine taking some of the most underserved people in our nation’s Capital out into the countryside of West Virginia for a week of fun and relaxation? There are just no words to describe the gratitude I felt being part of that experience.
It seemed like every time I looked deeper into the workings of SOME all around Washington, DC, I became more and more in awe of the depth of their reach into the community. I met incredible people, both clients and employees. I expect to remain life-long friends with most of the other long-term volunteers who I lived with at Gandhi House.
It was the first year of my retirement from a 35-year career. My three sons were grown and had flown the nest. I was free to start a new chapter in life doing something more fulfilling. My year at SOME was the perfect springboard.”
“For me, my time at SOME offered a wide-range of useful life experiences that I carry with me today. Some of this includes valuable professional experience as a tutor and curriculum designer with the Center for Employment Training (CET.) I also learned a great deal of practical knowledge as a Life Skills Coordinator at the Shalom House. Both positions gave me hands-on experience that helped sharpen my own long-term career abilities.
But beyond the valuable work experience, I learned a great deal about the goodness of the human spirit from my time as a long-term volunteer with SOME. As I write this now, I can still remember the many smiles that I would see daily from the many people connected with SOME as employees, volunteers, and participants in SOME’s countless programs. The true beauty in being a part of SOME is realizing the organization’s amazing connection to both the real and the ideal in our world. SOME directly faces some of the hardest challenges a human can face; hunger, homelessness, sickness, pain, etc. These obstacles are among the toughest pains in this world. Yet SOME meets them with a culture of compassion, love, respect, and dignity for all. Life is not easy and SOME recognizes that, yet within all of us are the tools to help each other bring out our individual best. Even in the darkest scenarios, we help each other find the light.
Since I finished my time volunteering, I continue each year as a camp counselor for SOME’s senior citizen summer camp. Even though I am no longer in the DC area, I can use this time to connect to the “bubble of kindness” that is such a defining aspect of the camp experience, and of SOME in general. I often say, I get more from summer camp than the senior citizens!
Ultimately, when I work with SOME, I can honestly feel like I am connecting to the very best parts of myself. And that is what I take away more than anything else from my time as volunteer with SOME—a connection to my own best self.”
“I have always been drawn to efforts that foster nonviolence, community, and overall respect for self and others; my time with SOME was a natural transition into concrete work that incorporates these values daily. The year I spent as a SOME volunteer was inspiring, frustrating, joyful, and exhausting but I could not have asked for a more supportive or dedicated group of individuals to work with and learn from. Above all, the experience was an eye-opening tutorial of the interconnected nature of poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse that helped me define how I wanted to make a difference in my community.”