For Friends & Family

When Volunteers choose to dedicate themselves to a year of service, their friends and family naturally have a few questions. We’re here to help put your mind at ease! If you have questions that are not answered in the FAQ section below, please contact Amate House with additional questions, comments or concerns.

What are the benefits of undertaking post-graduate volunteer service?

There are many benefits to post-graduate volunteer service. For one, Volunteers are placed in professional positions where they gain hands-on experience and learn the rigors and expectations of employment, giving them an edge in finding their next job.  Employers are especially interested in applicants with significant volunteer experience. Also, employees with volunteer experience tend to outpace their non-volunteer counterparts in terms of future earning potential. Finally, Amate House Volunteers will develop a network of professionals in their desired field to  leverage for future career opportunities and mentorship.

Here are a few more benefits of volunteering with Amate House:

  • Volunteers gain access to Amate House’s network of more than 800 Volunteer alumni who provide professional support, job coaching, employment referrals and more.
  • Volunteers receive profound spiritual formation during their service year. They participate in retreats and have weekly opportunities to reflect and grow spiritually with their housemates and discern what role faith plays in their life.
  • Volunteers receive tremendous support from the community in which they live. Volunteers often remark that living in a community with strangers is the most challenging, yet rewarding volunteer experience.
  • The Amate House staff members support Volunteers throughout their service, and are available daily to guide, advise and mediate issues within the community as well as challenge Volunteers to live with intentionality.

How do Volunteers manage financially during their service year?

The basic living expenses of Volunteers are all covered by Amate House, including rent, utilities, food stipend, transportation, health insurance and a personal monthly allowance. Having said that, Volunteers commit themselves to living simply and are strongly encouraged to live within their means. As a community, Volunteers make smart decisions on how to collectively spend their food allowance and learn to manage a small budget. Upon completion of their service year, Volunteers receive a close of service stipend to help them as they transition to employment or graduate school.

What about student loans?

During the service year, Volunteers are eligible for deferment or forbearance of most federal student loans. And if needed, Amate House assists Volunteers with their loan deferment application. Learn more about student loan repayment on our Helpful Information page.

What does it mean to “live simply”?

Living simply is integral to the Volunteer experience at Amate House. It means getting along and deeply communicating with others, and not being dependent on things. Volunteers learn what it means to truly be grateful for the blessings in life. Living simply gives Volunteers an opportunity to reflect upon what really matters to them.

Do Volunteers live off the grid?

Quite the opposite. We do still live in a technological age, so Volunteers will have Wi-Fi access. However, Volunteers are asked to reflect on how having a cell phone or laptop will affect their service year experience, which is why we recommend Volunteers use technology with prudence.

Do Volunteers get health insurance?

Amate House provides health insurance for Volunteers during their term of service through Christian Brothers Services. The health insurance covers medical and prescription benefits, but does not include vision or dental coverage. We ask that Volunteers remain on their family insurance plans if they’re able to do so. Volunteer health insurance runs from September 1 to June 30.

Do you provide counseling services?

Demands during a Volunteer’s service year can be challenging, which is why Amate House recommends self-care and stress management. If necessary, staff members encourage Volunteers to seek mental health services. Amate House maintains a list of mental health providers in the Chicago area, and Volunteers are free to seek professional services.

How do Volunteers stay safe in Chicago?

The safety of our Volunteers is our top priority. Safety measures and emergency guidelinesare are reviewed during orientation and throughout the service year. Volunteers are encouraged to use common sense, take necessary precautions and always be aware of their surroundings.

Are we allowed to visit Volunteers?

Absolutely! Visits provide a glimpse into the Volunteer’s experience. We encourage Volunteers to invite their friends and families to their community and site placements. Amate House asks that friends and families refrain from visiting during the critical first month. This is when Volunteers are bonding and getting acclimated to their community.

Can I send my Volunteer gifts?

We more than understand you may want to support Volunteers with gifts during their service year. We respectfully request that you consider sending care packages that can be shared with the whole community.

How do I stay in contact with my Volunteer?

Volunteers will experience a variety of new and interesting things during their service. They may want to process these new experiences with you. We encourage you to stay in touch with Volunteers as often as needed. You can be of help during the service year by lending a listening ear, showing interest in their work and community, and helping them process meaning in their new experiences. Amate House also encourages Volunteers to share their experiences through writing letters, blogging and sending emails to friends and family members. We will also post Volunteer stories to our blog.