Affiliation:Roman Catholic, Nazareth Farm, Jerusalem Farm
Goal of Program:Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic community in Appalachia that transforms lives through serving with the local community and teaching sustainable practices. We invite volunteers to join us in living the Gospel cornerstones of community, service, prayer, and simplicity.
Type of Placement:Caretaker: live in intentional Christian community year-round and provide service retreats for youth and adults through community service (primarily low-income home repair, but also including organic farming). Caretakers live out the four cornerstones of prayer, community, simplicity and service as members of the Summers, Monroe and Greenbrier county communities, while also fulfilling the various administrative roles that keep a nonprofit going. Opportunities include: rural Appalachian ministry, construction, home repair, retreat planning, youth ministry, office management, hospitality, gardening, and community building. Summer Servant: live with the Caretaker community to participate in community life, help with daily chores, and contribute to group week activities for 2 weeks-3 months from March-October. Service-Week Participant: A week-long service retreat experience provided by volunteer Caretakers is available for teens, college students, adults, and families. Participants live in simplicity while ministering through hospitality and community service to local residents, organizations, and farmers. During the week, participants experience first-hand Appalachian culture and reflect on Catholic Social teaching. Activities include: Rural Appalachian ministry, home repair, visiting the elderly and shut-ins, gardening, local foods initiatives, cooking, hospitality, and education.
Service Area:Summers County, West Virginia and surrounding counties. Appalachia.
Service Length:Caretakers: 1 year (renewable, some Caretakers have stayed as long as 10 years and counting). Summer Servants: 2 weeks - 3 months Service-Week Participant: Week-long volunteer experiences for teens and adults.
Requirements:Caretakers: Social-justice oriented men and women open to collaborative ministry with volunteers and local residents. A desire to live a lifestyle based on community, service, simplicity, and prayer. A willingness to learn necessary construction, farming, administrative and community development skills needed for ministry. One year of intentional community-living experience preferred, but not required. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age. Single, widowed, married, married with children, divorced, and religious accepted. In-person interview required. Summer Servants: Social-justice oriented men and women open to collaborative ministry with volunteers and local residents. A desire to live a lifestyle based on community, service, simplicity, and prayer. A willingness to learn necessary construction, farming, and community development skills needed for ministry. Service-Week Participants: Week-long volunteers should be at least 16 years of age. High school, college, adult, and family weeks available (Family Week open to all ages).
Financial Arrangement:Caretakers: Program provides room, board, $125 monthly stipend (which rises over time), retirement benefits after 12 months, medical, dental and vision insurance, and local transportation for volunteer Caretakers. Training, staff development, and staff retreats provided. Up to $200/mo student loan stipend available for monthly payments. $5,815/yr AmeriCorps education award available pending funding. Summer Servants: Program provides room & board. $125/mo stipend provided to Summer Servants who serve 6 weeks or longer. Service-Week Participant: Participation fee covers room, board, programming and construction materials for all volunteers. Call or view website for current participation fees.
Living Arrangements:Caretakers: live in community with 6-12 people, including single people, married couples and children. Have individual bedrooms in the Caretaker Residence sharing a common kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. Live next to the log home retreat facility that houses short-term week-long volunteers and retreat program. Summer Servants: live in community with Caretakers in the Caretaker Residence. Share a bunk room with up to 5 other Summer Servants/Fellows. Service-Week Participants: Participants live in community with other volunteers in double and quad bunk rooms in the log home retreat facility.
Program Size:6-12 full-time community members. 1-8 additional people from April-October. Service-Week Participants: up to 32 participants during scheduled service-retreat weeks.
Training:Caretakers: Orientation on Appalachian culture, Catholic Social Teaching, farming, and construction skills provided throughout service. All staff are trained in CPR and First Aid. Opportunities for staff development and retreat are provided. Summer Servants & Service Week Participants: Orientation, safety training and construction skills provided on-site by Caretakers for all volunteers.
Application Deadline:Caretakers: We accept applications on a rolling basis throughout the year when we have open positions. Expect the process to take a few months, so applying sooner is better than later. Summer Servant program application priority deadline is February 1st. Applications will still be accepted after this date, but applicant's preferred dates may already be filled. Service-Week Participants: see priority dates for groups and individuals on website; after priority dates pass, registration for any remaining open spots is on a first come, first served basis.
Current Urgent Opportunities
Bethlehem Farm is seeking full-time volunteers to join our community in Southern West Virginia. Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic community in Appalachia that transforms lives through service with the local community and the teaching of sustainable practices. We invite week-long volunteers to join us in living the gospel cornerstones of prayer, community, service, and simplicity. Caretakers serve as service week leaders, coordinate work sites, interact with volunteer groups during their visit to Bethlehem Farm, help maintain the farm and gardens, and assume other roles and responsibilities as needed to serve the local community. Some of the great parts of being a Caretaker are: the stimulating variety of work (from harvesting vegetables to repairing roofs to ministering to high school students)-we are never bored!, the beautiful Appalachian surroundings, the lasting relationships built with West Virginian neighbors, and the awesome variety of life skills that you'll learn. Benefits include volunteer stipend, health insurance, local and organic meals, use of vehicles, and possibility of Americorps education award. Minimum one year commitment. Call Eric at 304-445-7143 or email email@example.com for more information. Volunteer Caretaker application found at http://bethlehemfarm.net/bf-community/become-a-caretaker.