Check out our QVS February National Update from Claire Hannapel, QVS Development Coordinator and 2016-17 Atlanta Alum.

Dear Friend,

Has winter caught up to you, like it has for me? The gray skies and endless rain causing the desire to only stay in your pajamas?

I remember when I was a Fellow, the winter season was challenging for my housemates and me. By the end of the winter break, it was a whole new calendar year. Almost like we’d turned the corner and we could now see July 31st on the horizon, whereas before it was too far in the distance. Suddenly we were now conscious of the complexities and difficulties of the program.

As QVS (the organization) has grown older, we’ve understood this moment to be part of the arc of the year. In some ways, this is a second beginning — but without all the fresh energy at the start of the program year. In this season, there is literally less sunlight! For many Fellows, these months are the lowest point of the year.

During these critical weeks, we intentionally shift QVS Day programming to emphasize the importance of making the work sustainable for ourselves. Instead of withdrawing from imperfect systems (i.e., house, faith, and workplace communities), we invite Fellows to see the transformative value of staying engaged. To that end, City Coordinators provide tools for analyzing the systems in which we operate.

We want Fellows to see value in learning how to engage systems, even if the system remains less than ideal.

During my year, our house was blessed with a conflict in mid-January that made us ask questions of ourselves, and, because of the answers we gave, it forced us to sink deeper into the experience. We were offered tools like nonviolent communication, signs of defensiveness, clearness committees, and clerking workshops. We used these to navigate and transform the conflict, rather than avoid and let it fester.

QVS offered fertile ground for my housemates and me to commit at a very deep level to show up for each other and trust and fall with each other. I’m forever grateful for that.

As the close of winter draws near, I wonder what this season has been teaching you? What are the ways you’ve been tested to show up differently? To bundle up and tackle your to-do list? To hibernate, withdraw, and be gentle with yourself? To expose yourself to the cold, renewing connection and growing your vulnerability?

Please be in touch. We love to hear from you.

In peace, with gratitude,

Claire Hannapel
(she/her/hers, or “friend” – Why Pronouns?)
Outreach & Development Coordinator
2016-17 Atlanta Program Alum

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