The Johnson Service Corps finds itself in an unusual situation. While our nine present corps members are finishing up an outstanding year, we have had a precipitously low number of applications for the upcoming year. This is a nationwide phenomenon for all volunteer service corps, including the Episcopal Service Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, etc. Whether it is the effects of Covid finally catching up with us, or strong employment prospects in the face of student debt, or general anxiety caused by a number of troubling elements in our society, or some combination, we are faced with fewer corps member commitments than are needed for a vibrant program.
Accordingly, the Board of Directors in collaboration with the staff, have determined that JSC will use the ’22-’23 program year as a time of strategic visioning, and we will not maintain a traditional cohort of corps members during this time. After our initial disappointment, we are now seeing elements of grace in this unexpected situation.
We believe that this time of strategic refreshing is necessary for us to continue to grow in our mission. We will use this opportunity to learn what this generation of young adults is seeking and to identify how our program may best serve them. The Johnson Service Corps mission involves deep listening, intentionality, and collaboration, and we have a unique chance to practice these skills and values.
We will also continue serving our extended community through service days, community dinners, and spiritual practice offerings; we hope to engage young adults and the wider community in these activities through campus ministries and other faith-based groups. As we move ahead, we pledge to keep you informed about what we’re doing and how you can get involved.
We ask that you continue to support Johnson Service Corps with your prayers, your financial contributions, and by telling others of JSC as you have done so faithfully before now. This is not a hibernation year, but a year of active listening, visioning, and continued programming. Our budget will be smaller with less expenses, but also with less income from our community placements. What we will be able to accomplish with this unique opportunity will depend in part on the financial support we receive. Your support and the encouragement of others’ will greatly facilitate that.
Thank you for your continued interest in and support of the Johnson Service Corps. Our community is what it is because of your participation in it.
The Rev. Stephen Elkins-Williams, Chair
Day Smith Pritchartt, Vice-Chair
Kirsten Chang, Secretary
Tyler Lester, Treasurer
The Rev. Hershey Mallette Stephens
The Rev. Stephanie Yancy
Andrew Hudgins, Program Director
Christina Balderson, Operations Director