Quaker Voluntary Service opened a QVS house in Philadelphia, PA in August 2013. We love welcoming new Fellows to the city of brotherly love, where there is an abundance of Quaker History, and care.

Sponsoring Quaker Meetings/Churches:

The Philadelphia QVS house is under the spiritual care of Green Street Monthly Meeting, Germantown Monthly Meeting, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, and Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (Arch St. Quakers), as well as being supported by the larger Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting.

Want to get involved with the local QVS program? Reach out to Melissa, our Philadelphia Coordinator.

Melissa McLaughlin (she/her)

Melissa McLaughlin (she/her)

Philadelphia Coordinator

2020-2021 Philadelphia Site Placements (click on any logo for more information)


ACHIEVEability is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization working to permanently break the generational cycle of poverty for low income, single parent, and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development, and accountability.

Founded in 1981, ACHIEVEability strives to permanently break the generational cycle of poverty for low-income, single-parent and homeless families. In our neighborhood the poverty rate is 37%. Focusing on the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods of West Philadelphia, ACHIEVEability provides a continuum of anti-poverty services for vulnerable, low-income individuals and families through our three core programs: ACHIEVEability Connects, Family Self-Sufficiency Program and WorkSmart West Philly. ACHIEVEability is a midsized nonprofit with 17 staff members located in two offices. Our vision is to eradicate poverty in West Philadelphia. We use our core values to guide us and we are: fired up, transformative, accountable, community-driven, gritty and compassionate. Each year, we serve over 2,500 individuals and help them to achieve economic stability.

ACHIEVEability Fellow-
ACHIEVEability (ACHa), located in the Haddington/Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia, is looking for an enthusiastic, community focused individual interested in helping us to achieve our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting economic mobility among our residents. Our community faces high poverty (37%) and various barriers to achieving economic mobility. ACHa is committed to addressing the systematic challenges faced by our community by providing direct services and advocating for policy change. We are looking for an energetic and creative problem solver eager to help ACHa support individuals and families of all ages and abilities in reaching their full potential.

The ACHa Fellow will support our core programs: ACHa Connects, Family Self-Sufficiency Program and WorkSmart West Philly. Reporting to the Executive Director, the fellow will have an opportunity to provide direct services, manage projects, implement volunteer projects and help build infrastructure for the organization. The fellow will also learn about nonprofit fundraising, leadership, stakeholder engagement, policy research and advocacy. Qualified candidates should be comfortable working in an urban and nonprofit environment that requires flexibility, good communication skills and the ability to work individually and as part of a team. General computer skills, including word processing, excel, internet and email are a plus.

Bread & Roses Community Fund

Bread & Roses Community Fund (BRCF) is a unique partnership of donors and activists who share a vision for a just society in which power and resources are distributed equitably. Bread & Roses was originally founded in 1970 as the People’s Fund – a radical anti-establishment social justice fund – and was re-established in 1977 as Bread & Roses Community Fund. Bread & Roses raises money from individual donors in the community to provide grants, technical assistance, and leadership development to constituent-led, grassroots, social change organizations in the Philadelphia region. The grants BRCF gives are raised and distributed by a cross-race, cross-class, inter-generational group of community members. Bread & Roses centers all of its work around its motto: change, not charity.

Program Associate Position 1- Giving Project Team
The Program Associate reports to the Director of Donor Organizing and will provide administrative support for the Giving Project team. In this role, the Fellow will be a part of all planning sessions for Giving Project meetings. This includes developing logistics agendas, arranging for childcare, and ordering supplies and food for each Giving Project meeting. The Fellow will attend all Giving Project meetings, lead in room set-up/clean-up, while maintaining a high level of hospitality during Giving Project meetings. In addition to supporting the facilitation team, the Fellow will be responsible for taking photos at Giving Project meetings, taking notes during decision-making processes, and responding to any emerging needs of participants and/or the facilitation team.

The Program Associate will take the lead in managing logistics for Meet the Changemakers, a special event in which Giving Project participants meet with grassroots organizers that have received a grant from Bread & Roses. The Program Associate will be responsible for contacting and confirming groups, creating outreach materials, ordering food and supplies and handling on-site logistics for the event. Working closely with the Giving Project facilitation team, the Program Associate will also coordinate with the other staff to schedule interviews with applicant groups and Giving Project participants.

As part of the Giving Project team, the Fellow will have a variety of opportunities to learn about PoC-centered strategies for group facilitation and curriculum building in a highly collaborative environment.

Program Associate Position 2- Under Grant making Director
The position will include: researching and interacting with grassroots community organizers and other local leaders; reviewing and cataloging grant proposals from a wide array of community organizations; and coordinating events for the wider Bread & Roses community.

As the first point of contact for grassroots community organizers within the organization, the QVS Fellow will be responsible for aiding and supporting organizations as they complete their applications. Throughout the year, the QVS Fellow will be responsible for scheduling interviews and site visits with these same organizers. By following actions, movements, and victories around the city, the Fellow will contribute to the Bread & Roses newsletter and internal knowledge of the organization’s grantees.

The QVS Fellow will serve as project manager for our annual Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men Reception. The reception marks the culmination of the Lax scholarship application process that the Fellow will have managed over the course of their year. The reception happens in the second half of the QVS year, when the Fellow has gained enough experience to take the reins.

There is no typical day in the life of a Bread & Roses Community Fund QVS Fellow, and we like to think that’s what makes it so exciting!

Education Law Center

The Education Law Center’s mission is to ensure access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania. We pursue this mission by focusing on the most underserved students: children living in poverty, children of color, children with disabilities, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children experiencing homelessness, English learners, LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming students – and many who are at the intersection of these identities.

ELC began in 1975 in Philadelphia with one attorney, a VISTA volunteer, and a part-time secretary. Our organization has grown considerably over the last four decades to two offices statewide, 17 employees, and 19 board directors. Today, we are a known community resource for students and their families and a known leader in public education reform—in the Greater Philadelphia region, throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and nationally. ELC remains the only legal advocacy organization in Pennsylvania, and one of just a few in the nation, exclusively devoted to helping students and families overcome barriers to accessing a quality public education. Our three key priority areas include: 1) Ensuring Equal Access to quality public schools; 2) Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline; and 3) Fighting for Fair Funding. Together, these areas strategically help us achieve our long-term vision where all children – regardless of ability, race or ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, native language, or economic situation – have access to a high-quality public education and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Policy Fellow-
The Policy Fellow will work directly with Policy Director to assist with our K-12 education advocacy efforts in Pennsylvania. The Fellow may:
conducting social science research on various education issues
• Conduct social science research on various education issues
• Collect and analyze data for use in legislative and other advocacy
• Write policy analyses and policy briefs connected to legislation, research, and advocacy
• Work with community members as we help them advocate with policy makers
• Assist the communications team with media activities, including drafting press releases, background briefings, editorial board meetings, and maintaining up-to-date media lists
• Expand our contacts with public education activists and community groups throughout the state by identifying new contacts (from existing relationships, news articles, phone calls and e-mails addressed to us, etc.), talking with them to learn their concerns and to share our perspectives, and bringing them into our networks.

The Fellow should be a motivated individual who is able to work in a team environment, and have the following: excellent interpersonal, writing, and computer skills; superior organization skills; interest in education-related issues or child advocacy; experience with quantitative analyses a plus; ability to help with graphic design (e.g. ability to create effective infographics) a plus; ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously; ability to work independently; flexibility and a sense of humor.

Fleisher Art Memorial

The mission of Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.

Fleisher nurtures creativity in our community, engaging children and adults of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences in immersive experiences that build bridges and deepen community bonds over a common curiosity in art-making and learning. We work to dismantle barriers to arts access, whether geographic, psychological, or economic. Our vision is to foster a diverse and just world where everyone can access art.

Located in South Philadelphia, Fleisher is recognized as the nation’s oldest community school of the arts. It was founded by Samuel Fleisher in 1898 as a place where anyone, especially those that otherwise lacked access to creative enrichment, could enroll in an art class. Fleisher has 25 staff members and 75 teaching artists.

A strong reputation attracts art-makers from throughout the region, but we focus our engagement efforts on our surrounding South Philadelphia neighborhoods, a diverse and changing area that has historically been the arrival point for many immigrant families. Applying strategies to make our campus and programs more welcoming, accessible, and relevant to new audiences not only helps us attract participants, but also leads to a deeper level of engagement with our current students, neighbors, and visitors.

Community & Exhibitions Fellow
Primary duties include:
• Assisting in the development and implementation of community engagement strategies that make exhibitions and special projects more engaging and relevant to diverse audiences
• Planning workshops/lectures/events in collaboration with community members and program staff, including:  a) Common Space, a series of concerts/performances where immigrant and refugee organizations host events in Fleisher's historic Sanctuary space; b) Dia de los Muertos, an altar celebration and community procession planned with a committee of Latinx activists and artists; c) The Third Space: Japanese American Resettlement in Greater Philadelphia, an upcoming exhibition at Fleischer with related education programming
• Coordinating meetings with community members, artists, and activists in South Philadelphia

The Fellow will work primarily with audiences in South Philadelphia, historically the arrival point for many immigrant and refugee families. Fleisher is at the geographic center of these diverse and vibrant communities. To Fleisher’s south are more economically challenged neighborhoods, home to Mexican, Chinese, Cambodian, Nepalese, Laotian, Bhutanese, Indonesian, Venezuelan, and Vietnamese immigrant populations.

The Community & Exhibitions Fellow should be committed to working with diverse community members to help them find and keep a sense of place in a rapidly changing South Philadelphia using the power of art, creativity, and culture. The Fellow will help to plan and implement strategies that make exhibitions and special projects more engaging to community members. The Fellow should have excellent communication skills, the ability to work both collaboratively and independently, and a strong interest in the impact of community-driven art.


Nationalities Service Center (NSC)

Nationalities Service Center (NSC) is Philadelphia’s leading immigrant and refugee service organization empowering individuals to build a self-sustaining and dignified future. The Nationalities Service Center (NSC), believes that immigrants and refugees are a critical part of the fabric of life in the United States, and it is our vision that all immigrants and refugees achieve a life of dignity, safety, stability, sustainable opportunities and meaningful connections to their communities. To this end, NSC provides comprehensive services to immigrants and refugees, including legal protections, community integration, access to health and wellness services, and opportunities to achieve English language proficiency. Their dedicated staff are committed to ensuring that each of our clients receives high-quality holistic care and work together to refer clients to internal and external services based on the individual’s needs. Today, NSC serves 5,000 immigrants and refugees each year from over 100 countries around the world. They are the largest non-sectarian organization in the Greater Philadelphia area which provides comprehensive services in the areas of language access and proficiency, legal protections and remedies, community transition and integration, access to health and wellness, and job readiness training to immigrants and refugees.

There will be two possible Fellow job Descriptions for a placement with NSC.

1. Employment Readiness and Placement Case Manager-
The Employment Readiness and Placement (ERP) Team provides case management, job placement, job coaching, ESL and other job readiness courses to support refugees, asylees and other ORR eligible populations on their path to economic self-sufficiency. The ERP Case Manager works with clients to reduce barriers to employment and to provide information, tools and referrals to navigate life in the United States independently.

Responsibilities of the ERP Case Manager include:
• Assessing needs related to employment and adjustment.
• Connecting clients with appropriate information, resources and referrals.
• Tracking the progress of clients and their families.
• Communicating with internal programs and external partners on the behalf of clients.
• Escorting clients to health, welfare, and other appointments as needed.
• Maintaining accurate, timely and orderly case notes and documentation.
• Participating in department meetings as well as other agency, community and provider meetings.
• Conducting outreach to clients by distributing program materials at community events, local organizations and other sites frequented by immigrants and refugees.
• Attending appropriate workshops, webinars and other relevant professional development opportunities

2. Legal Assistant-
Under the supervision of the Senior Director of Legal Services & Immigration Policy, and working closely with other department staff, the Legal Assistant will assist in the provision of direct legal services to immigrants and refugees.

Essential Functions
1. Assistance to the legal services staff with the preparation of cases and documents, includes substantial client contact, writing motions and affidavits, conducting consultations, researching legal and factual issues
2. File management, includes maintaining organized files and filing system, and following protocols for opening and closing files
3. Maintenance of client information on immigration software
4. Administrative tasks, include, but not limited to, filings before USCIS and EOIR, mail management, photocopying, assistance with other office tasks as assigned
5. Maintaining excellent communication with clients, includes answering and returning a high number of phone calls and emails
6. Outreach to client communities and organizations through public presentations
* Fluent in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and/or French strongly preferred


Pennsylvania Health Access Network

Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) is a consumer focused organization working to expand access and improve the quality of the Commonwealth's health coverage options. Since 2007, PHAN has brought consumer voices into discussions of health equity, reaching vulnerable populations in underserved communities.

PHAN has brought together health care consumers and community organizations to advocate for expanded access to health care in Pennsylvania since 2007. PHAN blends coalition-building and policy advocacy with our unique model of community health organizing that focuses on supporting and empowering consumers to get the treatment they need and become advocates for better healthcare in their local communities and statewide. PHAN has a long history of successful campaigns, including expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania; protecting seniors’ access to care in Western PA; mobilizing Pennsylvanians to defend the Affordable Care Act, and building a group of housing and health advocates to push for needed housing services available through Medicaid.

Regardless of the policy issue, PHAN prioritizes bringing consumer voices and stories to the forefront of the debate and has a deep, successful history of engaging vulnerable populations in discussions that will ultimately impact their access to care and build a more equitable health system. PHAN also provides technical assistance and policy and communications expertise to its 550+ diverse community partners, who participate in PHAN-led coalitions on such issues as: opposing Medicaid work requirements, ending surprise medical billing, and supportive housing services. PHAN’s advocacy work is built on the organization’s direct connections with communities – both rural and urban- throughout Pennsylvania. As a federally-certified healthcare navigator organization, PHAN’s staff enrolls people in Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace coverage. Over the past five years, PHAN has enrolled over 9,500 in healthcare coverage and fielded tens of thousands more calls through our statewide helpline.

Community Health Organizer
The OVS Fellow is integral to PHAN running its statewide helpline, which provides phone assistance to people from all over Pennsylvania who wouldn't otherwise have help. While much of the work is done over the phone, people are often calling PHAN out of frustration or even desperation, because they have not been able to get health insurance or have struggled with problems with their health plan. These people often need a reassuring voice and someone willing to go beyond what a normal "call center" would do to provide real solutions and hope when they need it the most. We do this in a way that feels friendly, open, and supportive. All of this work we do to uncover the hidden problems in our health system and elevate it for advocacy to change the system.

This is a critical part of our advocacy process, and involves a lot of details. The Fellow answers phone calls, helps identify the problem or issue, and works with callers to directly resolve that problem or issue by referring them to resources, enrolling them in health insurance coverage, filing a complaint or appeal, or helping the consumer call another entity, like a health plan, doctor, hospital, or state agency. The Fellow screens uninsured individuals and educates them about health insurance options, helps people make informed decisions in an impartial way, listens to a consumer's needs and explains options to them, and often provides intensive support and follow up. All along the way, the fellow documents the process and interactions.

Ultimately, the Fellow is engaged in other forms of advocacy and engaged in broader community outreach. The Fellow also helps collect people's stories and prepares them to speak publicly about their healthcare experiences. When possible, the Fellow can help PHAN develop community members as leaders to include furthering meaningful community dialogue around health issues, barriers, and people-focused solutions.

Philadelphia Fellows (click on any picture for more information)

Sam Downs

Sam Downs grew up in Frederick, MD and graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Civil Engineering. During college, Sam was on the junior board of Sweet Water Outreach, a non-profit focusing on health, sanitation, and water access in Kenya and Tanzania. He also enjoyed helping run a weekly dinner for international students, to welcome them to campus, and build lasting friendships. He is excited to work with QVS and gain new intentional relationships while growing spiritually.

Sam also enjoys playing music, listening to music. mountain biking, skateboarding, skiing and trying new activities and experiences. He is very excited to pursue learning, justice and equity, with compassion and kindness, at Nationalities Service Center as an Employment Readiness Case Manager.

Maya Singh

Maya Singh grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, with a BA in Contemplative Studies and MS in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences. Drawing from her Sikh upbringing and Soto Zen practice, Maya is curious how we can build more resilient and socially-engaged communities. You can find Maya tending to her garden, dancing salsa/bachata, or Facetiming her grandparents in India. This year she will be working with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

Lily Hamilton

Lily Hamilton grew up in a small town in rural Virginia, but calls Richmond home. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Lily went on to attend the University of Chicago for her master's in social work. Lily is devoted to cultivating a radical, anti-racist social work practice focused on community autonomy. She is passionate about prison abolition, mutual aid, and political education. In her free time Lily loves to work on bikes, listen to podcasts, and go gay country line-dancing with her chosen family. Lily is excited to join the Bread and Roses Community Fund as the grantmaking program associate, and learn more about resourcing movement work in radical ways.

Emma Soler

Emma Soler grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, and recently graduated from Bates College with a degree in American Studies and a minor in Philosophy. After growing up in a secular family, she began to explore her spirituality through the warm guidance of the Bates Multifaith Chaplaincy, where she worked as a social justice fellow for two years. Emma's orientation to justice work is shaped by a semester spent in South Africa, an internship at N Street Village, a service provider for women experiencing homelessness, and her thesis research on the complex links between her abolitionist college and slavery. She is refueled by bike rides, plant propagation, craft projects, and delicious food. She is excited to support ACHIEVEability's self-sufficiency-based anti-poverty work during her QVS year.

Katie Hulihan

Katie Hulihan (she/her) graduated from Bryn Mawr College where she designed an independent major in film studies. While in school, she had the opportunity to shadow great filmmakers and documentarians. In her spare time, she loves performing, dancing, fine arts, and improv comedy. Katie is a member of Newtown Monthy Meeting in Bucks County, PA where she grew up. She learned to appreciate and practice Quaker values at Camp Onas while attending and working on staff for many years. She is now honored to join the Friends Camp Association to serve on the board of directors for the beloved sleep-away camp. Katie has a passion for arts, expression, and community building. She is thrilled to start her fellowship with the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, where her Grandmom took art classes in the late 1940s.

Emma Walker

Emma Walker grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and graduated from Swarthmore College in 2020 with a major in Sociology/Anthropology and a minor in English. Her time studying at Swarthmore fueled her curiosity for discovering more about the world around her, and she is looking forward to continuing this journey of learning during her time at QVS, especially as it relates to spirituality. During college, she led the Swarthmore chapter of the Sunrise Movement, a national youth-led political movement advocating for action on environmental injustice and climate change. Sunrise taught her the value of intentional community, and inspired her by highlighting the social and political power that her generation holds. Emma loves poetry and has been writing for as long as she can remember. In her Junior year, she was the Editor in Chief of Swarthmore’s Visibility Zine, an on-campus magazine showcasing the art of underrepresented voices on Swarthmore’s campus. She is incredibly excited to be working with Bread & Roses this year!

Annika Norris

Annika Norris grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. She graduated from Guilford College where she was first introduced to Quakerism. She joined the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program and served her community by tutoring at Oakwood Forest, working at the Guilford College Farm, and writing for Every Campus a Refuge. With a major in English and media studies and a minor in psychology, Annika wants to learn about the world around her through writing for different nonprofits. She believes that storytelling is one of the best methods of resistance and plans on eventually pursuing a master's degree in creative nonfiction. In her free time, she really enjoys swimming, roller skating, and exploring the outdoors with her pals. Annika is thrilled to be working at Pennsylvania Health Access Network this year!

Crystal Wirtz

Crystal Wirtz grew up in Duluth, MN and has strong Midwestern roots. In May 2019, she graduated from St. Catherine University with a B.S. in Social Work and a minor in Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity. While in college, Crystal was actively involved with the university’s Black Student Association and became a founding board member of the St. Kate’s Pan-Afrikan Student Alliance her senior year. Crystal was raised Quaker, and grew up attending regional yearly meetings, Quaker camp, and more recently, FGC gatherings. She is passionate about many social justice movements/initiatives and loves examining them through an intersectional lens. For the 2020-2021 QVS year, Crystal is honored to be with the Education Law Center as their Policy Fellow, assisting with their K-12 education advocacy efforts.

Most Recent Blog Posts from Philadelphia

Recapping Our 2nd Annual QVS Supporters’ Briefing

Recapping Our 2nd Annual QVS Supporters’ Briefing

On June 17, 2021, QVS hosted our 2nd Annual Supporters' Briefing. We held our first ever Supporters' Briefing in summer 2020 to offer Friends an inside look into programmatic and financial shifts due to COVID-19. This year, in addition to a report and recap from the...

read more

What's the news?

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from QVS.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest