Questions & answers for prospective short-term and long-term volunteers:
Contact info/About CAP
How can I reach someone in the Volunteer office if I have questions?
You can reach us by phone at 800-755-5322 (toll free), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our mailing address is 310 Beiting Lane, Mt. Vernon, KY 40456.
Are you affiliated with any particular Christian denomination or church?
Christian Appalachian Project is an independent nonprofit primarily funded by individual donors and churches rather than a particular denomination. We are an interdenominational Christian organization, and our volunteers come from a variety of faith traditions and participate in daily prayer led by one another. Openness to religious diversity is essential for community life.
Does CAP foster a “simple” lifestyle?
CAP strives to practice good stewardship in the houses and programs, and encourages volunteers to be conscientious about their use of CAP resources, understanding that everything CAP provides volunteers is funded by donor generosity. All volunteer communities abide by a food budget (supplemented by donated food) based on $3/person/day. All volunteers are asked to make a special commitment to environmental stewardship and care of creation, which may include recycling, conscientious energy consumption, and gardening.
About volunteering with CAP
Who volunteers for CAP?
We are blessed to have volunteers from all age groups, from young people just out of high school, to people in mid-career, to retirees and everyone in between. Our volunteers come from all over the United States and from many different backgrounds, professions, and diverse faith experiences. Their commonality is that they feel called to serve in Appalachia and want to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. Meet our long-term volunteers.
How long is the commitment?
We ask short-term volunteers to commit a minimum of three weeks of service. Long-term volunteers serve 12 months initially, with an opportunity to apply for a second year. Our summer camp volunteers typically make a commitment of 3-9 weeks.
Why can’t I serve for one or two weeks?
We understand that many people are not in a position to give three weeks at a time; however, the types of responsibilities CAP Volunteers take on, the training involved, the time it takes to review applications and place volunteers, and the impact short-term volunteers have on the continuity of our volunteer communities all necessitate a commitment of at least three weeks. Our short-term volunteer opportunities are for people desiring a similar commitment to service, community, and spirituality that our long-term volunteers take on, and our experience tells us that volunteers cannot get the full CAP Volunteer experience in a 1-2 week commitment. Eastern Kentucky organizations that do accept one-week volunteers include the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center and Red Bird Mission.
Exceptions to this policy would be nurses with a Kentucky or compact state license who are available for summer camp, highly-skilled construction volunteers who can serve as WorkFest crew leaders in March, and volunteer alumni. Prospective volunteers desiring a one-week commitment should contact the office about the opportunities above or consider forming a group.
I am ready to make a lifelong commitment to volunteering with CAP. Is that possible?
It is important for applicants to understand that a long-term volunteer commitment is one way in which to live your call to serve others, but it is not the only or final way to dedicate yourself to the Christian life. Long-term volunteers are initially accepted for a one-year commitment. Many CAP Volunteers feel they have more to give and more to grow after one term of service, and volunteers seeking a second year may apply for another term as they approach the end of their service year. A second term is granted if CAP Volunteers staff and the volunteer determine that another term would be mutually beneficial to CAP and the volunteer.
Is there an upper age limit on volunteers?
No. One of the unique qualities of CAP Volunteer life is the age diversity among our volunteers. CAP recognizes the unique gifts, knowledge, and experience that “encore career” volunteers have to offer, and about 20% of our long-term volunteers are 50 or older.
Can I volunteer with my spouse? My significant other? My children?
We encourage married couples to serve with us. Both individuals must complete separate applications and be accepted. Unmarried or engaged couples are welcome to apply and serve with us, but they may not live in the same volunteer house. We cannot accommodate short-term, summer camp, or long-term volunteers with dependent children. Families with children age 14 or older may inquire about serving for a week as a group.
Can I bring my pet with me?
Individual pets are incompatible with community living and leaving pets behind is one sacrifice that many volunteers make. Volunteers with pets may not live in community, but they can bring pets if they find their own housing.
Applying to be a CAP volunteer
What are you looking for in a volunteer?
We are seeking compassionate, self-starting, fast-learning, independent, and mission-driven individuals who possess an exceptional amount of flexibility, maturity, interpersonal skills, and openness to people–both participants and fellow volunteers–who may be very different from themselves. Moreover, we’re looking for volunteers who are passionate about serving the poor and marginalized and ready to fully immerse themselves in their service and community. You don’t necessarily have to be a master carpenter or have a wealth of nonprofit experience–we can teach the particular skills necessary to perform in your service position; what we’re particularly looking for when we evaluate applicants are the qualities that we can’t teach. Many of our long-term volunteer positions require someone who can drive a CAP vehicle. Because we require our drivers to be 21 or older, our ideal candidate for long-term service placements is 21 or older with a valid driver’s license and a good driving record. We will consider exceptional applicants ages 18-20, and we do have a limited number of positions available to non-drivers.
For long-term applicants, we are also interested in your motivation for service. Are you attracted to our pillars of Service, Community, and Spirituality? Do you feel drawn to Appalachia or to our particular service opportunities? Our core values and the region we serve strongly resonate with many applicants. If you are applying simply because you are unsure of what to do after high school or college, then CAP may not be the place for you right now. Serving for a year and living in intentional community is a big commitment, and one that should be undertaken only after much prayer and discernment.
Do I have to apply by a certain date? How long does the application process take?
Although CAP accepts short-term volunteer applications year-round, we typically have just two admissions cycles for long-term volunteers.
Fall 2013 admissions
Applications currently being accepted.
Materials that were received by the March 25 deadline will receive priority consideration, but we will continue to accept applications until positions are filled. Applicants who submit their materials after March 25 will have a different interview timeline.
Promising applicants will be invited for a personal interview in Kentucky. The on-site interview gives the applicant the opportunity to spend a night or two in a volunteer house, meet current volunteers and program staff, and see our programs in action. We feel this opportunity greatly benefits you as an applicant. If a personal interview is not possible, interviews will be conducted by Skype (or in rare cases, by phone).
April 15-May 3: Interviews are conducted on-site. Interviews are 1-3 days long and consist of at least one dinner and devotion in a CAP Volunteer Community, an interview with the CAP Volunteers Admissions Coordinator, and interviews with 2-3 program managers.
April 8-May 3: Applicants interview with CAP Volunteers Admissions Coordinator, then with 2-3 program managers.
One week after interview: Applicants will return “Prospective Volunteer Interview Feedback” form and rank their top three service placement choices.
*May 13-17: Admissions Coordinator will notify applicants whether or not they will be offered a placement.
May 31: Deadline for applicants to notify CAP Volunteers of decision.
*We understand that many applicants will be weighing multiple options when discerning if God is leading them to a long-term commitment with CAP, and we do not wish for our timeline to discourage anyone from applying. If your situation requires that you have a decision from us prior to May 13, please let us know.
August 1-September 21, 2013: Volunteers arrive to begin their service.
September 22-27, 2013: Volunteer Orientation.
Winter 2013 admissions
Deadlines in Fall 2013, exact dates to be announced.
The application is a little long, isn’t it?
Applying to be a CAP Volunteer is more thorough than applying for a job because volunteers not only serve in our programs, but also live in our facilities and with our volunteers. We work with some of the most vulnerable members of society, so we need to make sure we know you and you know us before welcoming you aboard. Making a commitment to full-time service, even if just for a few weeks, isn’t something to be taken lightly, and we see the application as part of your discernment process. Moreover, you can rest assured knowing that all the volunteers you live and serve with at CAP have gone through the same thorough process. If you have any questions or concerns about the application, please do not hesitate to contact us.
May I submit my resume?
A resume can be a wonderful supplement to the application, but you may not submit a resume in lieu of an application.
My pastor does not know me very well. Whom else may I use as a reference?
We offer several suggestions for individuals to choose as references, but we value the input of anyone who can recommend you for service and speak to your suitability to serve in an organization that values service, community, and spirituality. We prefer that you do not ask immediate family or boyfriends/girlfriends to serve as references, and we ask that only one reference be from a personal friend.
What is the Fair Credit Authorization? Is that a credit check?
The Fair Credit Authorization forms that you sign and return with your application simply allow us to obtain your criminal background check and driving records; these records do not contain any financial information.
How likely is it that I will be accepted?
CAP Volunteers has a thorough application process, which includes a national background check and input from three references. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance. Once the Volunteer office and the appropriate program manager(s) review your application, our admissions coordinator will contact you to discuss your application and the program placement you are most interested in. Promising long-term applicants will be invited to interview with our staff in the Volunteer office as well as with several program managers. We feel that it is for your benefit so that you can make the right decision about your service. Following your interview, you and CAP will reflect upon your interview to ensure a mutual match.
How can I afford to volunteer?
Volunteering for an extended period of time is a significant sacrifice for many people, but CAP is able to provide some resources to make volunteering more affordable. We offer room and board to all individual volunteers, and for long-term volunteers, health insurance benefits and a monthly stipend of $150. While volunteers are welcome to bring their personal vehicles, CAP provides transportation to and from service sites.
**** Important Tax Information**** Any long-term volunteer receiving a stipend or other benefit(s) such as health insurance, room and board, and any other monies that are paid on the volunteer’s behalf by CAP will receive an IRS form 1099 from CAP by January 31 of the following year.
Even though you may not directly receive any money for some of these benefits, they are paid on your behalf by CAP and are reported to the IRS as non-employee taxable income. This generally can amount to several hundred dollars or more in income tax and/or social security tax, which is the volunteer’s responsibility to pay. CAP is not able to help with this added tax liability and recommends that all applicants consult a professional tax advisor about the impact this may have on their personal taxes.
Can I defer my student loans?
In most cases, yes. Volunteers need to request deferment forms from their lending agency and then turn them in to the Volunteer office for validation. Deferment is the choice of the provider, but most CAP Volunteers are able to defer federal student loans. When available, the AmeriCorps Education Award qualifies AmeriCorps Members serving with CAP for mandatory loan forbearance of federal loans and up to $5,550 for student loan repayment or future tuition expenses.
Do you offer health insurance for volunteers?
Long-term CAP Volunteers are eligible for health benefits. Volunteers who elect to keep existing insurance are eligible for reimbursement of their premium costs of up to a certain amount. For questions about health insurance benefits please contact Amy Schill at the Volunteer office at 800-755-5322.
May I seek outside employment as a CAP Volunteer?
CAP Volunteers may not seek outside employment because of their commitments to their service position and community life.
Life at CAP
What exactly is community living?
Currently, CAP has six volunteer houses located throughout Eastern Kentucky. All houses have a shared living room space, kitchen, and laundry facilities.
Living in community means more than simply sharing living space: it is an intentional commitment to sharing time together as members of the Body of Christ. All volunteer houses share dinner and prayer four nights a week, and this time is an indispensable part of living in a CAP community.
Most CAP Volunteers live in community at the volunteer houses, although some volunteers choose to find their own housing near their service site. CAP offers an Independent Living option for volunteers who are 50 years old or older and/or are married who prefer to live on their own. This option includes an increased stipend, in addition to all other benefits offered to long-term volunteers. Independent Living volunteers still participate in community living by attending dinner and devotion at their assigned volunteer house at least twice a month. Please call the Volunteer office to learn more.
What do volunteers do for fun?
In their free time, many volunteers go hiking, attend local concerts and festivals, explore nearby towns, relax, read, etc. CAP is surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, which offer plenty of opportunities for camping and other outdoor activities. There are also two volunteer retreats and several social gatherings throughout the year. CAP’s volunteer communities are relatively close to one another, so houses often plan their own social activities together.
What should I bring with me?
All volunteer houses are fully furnished, including bedding and towels. Though space is limited, volunteers are encouraged to bring books, music, and other personal items. A complete list of items to bring will be sent to all volunteers upon acceptance into the program.
Life after CAP
What do volunteers do after serving with CAP?
Because CAP Volunteers are diverse in terms of age and background, their paths after their term of service vary. Some go to grad school, some join or reenter the workforce, while others begin or continue their retirement. CAP alumni work in a wide variety of career fields, the most popular being education, human services, and health science.
What kind of support does CAP offer to former volunteers?
The CAP Volunteer Alumni Network seeks to connect our more than 2,000 active former volunteers to CAP and to each other through a tri-annual newsletter and networking groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. We also maintain a database of alumni willing to serve as networking contacts for other former volunteers and current volunteers. Our Alumni page provides information about all of the services available to volunteer alumni.
More questions? Give us a call at 800-755-5322 or click the “Contact Us” link above. We’d love to hear from you.