Invitation to Community Discernment
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered your year in a myriad of ways: remote service. Virtual retreats. Coffee houses via Zoom!  

For some of you, the pandemic has brought additional challenges, such as the inability to serve and/or participate in community safely. In anticipation of these impacts, AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service have waived their requirements that JV/AmeriCorps members to complete their service term (10, 11, or 12 month terms) and to serve 1700 hours to receive a full Segal Education award. JVC Northwest has not changed its requirements; however, we will consider JV communities’ requests to amend their program end to an earlier date in alignment with AmeriCorps and acknowledgment of the significant challenges some JVs face. We recognize that communities and individuals are faced with an unpredictable period of discernment: continue service through the end of the service term or explore an amended timeline for that service term.

For those JVs and JV communities discerning this issue, this is an invitation to center the four values in that process, as well as your commitments to your service site, your intentional community, and the community in which you have spent the last nine months. It’s also a guide to leaving well, if that is what you or your community opt to do. 

We recognize this decision is not one that comes easy and will require safe and brave spaces in your communities to have these valuable conversations. We are here to help, but we trust your community as been working to build these spaces since August. Below you will find the tools and forms you need to enter into this discernment process.
Community Discernment Guide
Below you will find a link to a Community Discernment Guide. The guide is in four parts: Introduction and Information Gathering; a suggested structure for a Community Conversation; Not So Frequently Asked Questions; and finally a Request to Amend End Date Form. We imagine this process may take several days and/or weeks. In community, review the materials and establish a timeline that will allow you to complete all of the necessary tasks. If you opt to request to amend your end date, please note that proposal is due back to JVC Northwest at least two weeks before the proposed departure date. Be in touch with your Program Coordinator if you have questions or need support in this process.
Timeline and Considerations
Timeline
Outcomes of any community amended end date must be received by JVC Northwest no less than two weeks before the proposed departure date. If different JVs have multiple departure dates within one community, the proposal must be received no less than two weeks before the first member is proposed to depart.

House Closure
All community amended end date proposals must include completion of the standard house closure process. This includes a walk through (in person or virtual) with the property owner. Be sure to include scheduling considerations when determining an end date.

Unemployment Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that federal unemployment compensation law does not require unemployment coverage for AmeriCorps members because no employer/employee relationship exists. In other words, and JV/AmeriCorps member who exits our program is not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Tools
You may wish to have some tools and additional resources as you enter this process. Some of these tools you have been offered before, some may be new to you. Use/add your own that are helpful for your community:

Discernment

Creating a Safe and Brave Space

Consensus Building and Power Sharing
Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
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