Read below for a letter from Executive Director Hilary Burgin and Board Clerk Damon Motz-Storey on QVS’s decision to pause programing in the Twin Cities.
This is a special time of the year for us in the northern hemisphere, when we get to watch the light linger in the sky so late and the day break so early in the morning. Waves of flowers open and wilt as the seasons shift from spring to summer, bringing a return of warm sunny days and school vacations but also, for many, real worries of wildfire smoke and extreme heat.
Many changes are afoot in the seasons and in the world, and QVS is also experiencing a change.
We know that other service year programs (faith-based organizations like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Avodah, and secular organizations including Americorps and City Year) are also struggling to recruit young adults in recent cycles. It does not appear to be a one-year blip, but rather an ongoing pattern. QuEST, a similar Quaker service program in Seattle, was sadly forced to close due to lack of applicants. We have a lot of thoughts about why our application numbers remain low. The shortest version: there’s been a major culture shift in the last couple of years, and QVS (and indeed the entire volunteer service year field) is feeling the impacts of that.
And so, we are grounding ourselves in the spirit of collectively-discerned experimentation that QVS’s founders embodied in asking questions about what is our right shape and size in this era.
Although we’ve discerned that we need to pause the Twin Cities (MN) program, we actually do feel hopeful (and faithful) about our next steps.
Hilary Burgin, Executive Director
Damon Motz-Storey, Presiding Clerk of QVS Board