Associate Volunteer Program

In addition to a core community of committed volunteers, we also offer an opportunity for women of faith to live and work alongside our guests and core volunteers for a year, with a possibility of extension. We call these volunteers “Associates.”

We are in search of Associate Volunteers beginning in January 2018. Lydia’s House Associates commit to at least one year of living and working alongside the guests and core volunteers of our community. If you would like to apply, please fill out our Associates Program Application.  Year-Long Associate applications are accepted at any time, the sooner the better.

 Who Should Apply for the Lydia’s House Associates Program?

We ask that all applicants for the Year-Long Associate Program be women at least 25 years of age. Applicants should be in good health, both mental and physical, and should demonstrate a willingness to be challenged and grow. Associates must be women of faith (married couples will also be considered) who desire to embrace life in a Christian community and commit to regular prayer and service. Applicants should be interested in living alongside the poor and living simply. Past experience with community-living or extended immersion or service is a plus but not required.  All Lydia’s House volunteers are drug screened and background checked.

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The Guiding Values of Lydia’s House Volunteers

  1. Solidarity – We live alongside women and children in crisis, providing accompaniment in times of joy and sorrow.  We commit to living in community with fellow volunteers and with poor women and children.
  2. Spirituality –  Our community is made up of practicing Christians. We pray together at meals, before meetings, share in a weekly Spirituality Night, participate in monthly worship, practice personal spiritual practices, meet monthly with a spiritual director, retreat at least once annually, and commit to an outside faith community.
  3. Social Justice – Together we explore structural issues that keep women poor, advocate on behalf of guests as needed, and connect their spirituality to action in the world.
  4. Simplicity – We live simply, sharing space and meals.  We are invited to either live in voluntary poverty or seek part-time outside employment to supplement their life at Lydia’s House (up to 20 hours per week) and sustain a life of voluntary simplicity.
  5. Hospitality – We serve in direct and concrete ways by offering hospitality to Lydia’s House guests, outside volunteers, and community supporters.

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What Does a Lydia’s House Associate Do?

Lydia’s House Associates commit to at least 20 hours per week of work for Lydia’s House. In addition, they join the community for meals and prayers during the week outside of these hours.  Associates receive support and mentor-ship from core-volunteers, if needed.

Associate volunteers help sustain the Lydia’s House community in many ways during and beyond their set hours of work. Each person’s gifts and interests will be taken into account as tasks are assigned. However, every associate serves in the following three areas:

  1. Guest Accompaniment – Associates go with guests to appointments, sit with them in times of grief, listen to them when they need to talk, and provide transportation as needed. Accompaniment is the heart of our ministry. No experience is necessary, and we don’t expect you to be a case manager or counselor. Rather, we ask that you meet people where they are and bring a compassionate, peaceful presence to guests.
  2. House Management – Associates help maintain the two households of both Lydia’s House and its subsidiary, the Jean Donovan House. Associates participate in daily and weekly chores, including cleaning and cooking. They help with work projects and outdoor tasks like gardening as well.
  3. Office Work – Each Associate also will be assigned to something specific in the office. These tasks could include volunteer coordination, development, marketing and social media, bookkeeping, and special events. Every Associate, and every core volunteer, serves in one or more of these areas, and no task is too menial or small for any volunteer as we work together to maintain Lydia’s House as a house of hospitality.  In addition, Associates have the opportunity for speaking engagements, reflection, and writing for our blog or newsletter.

 

What Does Lydia’s House Provide for Associates?

For those selected, Lydia’s House offers the following as compensation:

  1. Housing – All Associates live in either Lydia’s House proper or the nearby Jean Donovan House. Each associate has her own furnished bedroom and a shared bathroom. Common spaces of the house are for all to use.
  2. Meals – Food is available to our Associates from our garden, our local farm share, and donations. We ask that Associates eat dinner at Lydia’s House Sunday through Thursday evenings with rare exception, sometimes helping to prepare the meal.
  3. Spiritual Resources – All Associates are strongly encouraged to meet monthly with a spiritual director and/or licensed counselor, paid for by Lydia’s House.  In addition, Associates can request one personal retreat per year as well as an annual house retreat.  Associates are also invited to participate in daily morning prayer and monthly worship with the house.
  4. Transportation – Associates have access to and use of the Lydia’s House van. Usage for Lydia’s House business will be prioritized. In addition, Lydia’s House will provide Associates with a monthly bus pass on an as-needed basis.
  5. Stipend — Stipends vary based on the needs of each associate. Associates can choose to be full time with Lydia’s House or to maintain outside employment, part time, in the community.

 

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If you have further questions or would like to visit Lydia’s House, please contact maryellen@stlydiashouse.org or call (513) 549-7752. We are humbled that you are considering this beautiful and challenging life that we live together!