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The Program


St. Joseph Workers are women committed to social change who live according to the values of community, social justice, spirituality and leadership.

We seek women who are mature, motivated and want to work to end poverty, violence and other forms of oppression.

St. Joseph Workers live together in an Orange County, CA home with their fellow St. Joseph Workers.  Each woman contributes to the intentional community that forms there.

Placemn Sites

During the week, St. Joseph Workers spend 36 hours at a placement site that addresses an important issue such as poverty, housing, violence, hunger, health care and more. Placement possibilities are decided on at the beginning of the year according to the mutual interest of the applicant, the placement site supervisor, and the St. Joseph Worker team/staff.


Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, St. Joseph Workers are more than volunteers. They receive numerous benefits. Housing, food, health insurance, a monthly stipend, transportation to and from work, excellent training opportunities, and more are included.


Placement Sites

Placement sites are available in health care, education, social services, and more!

Job descriptions at placement sites can be adjusted based on the interest, skills and talents of the St. Joseph Worker. There is flexibility to meet the needs of both the SJW and the placement site. The SJW will gain great professional experience, in the office and in the community.





Social Services / Advocacy

  • When does the volunteer year begin and end?
    The St. Joseph Worker volunteer year starts in August and runs through the end of June yearly. It’s important that all St. Joseph Workers have no other long-term obligations during this year (for instance, another overlapping volunteer commitment or job).
  • When is the application deadline?
    We accept applications on a rolling basis, with priority deadlines on January 15th and March 15th. Applicants with all materials in before or on these dates will have the largest range of possible placements. After these dates, we will continue to accept applications until all spaces are filled, until the end of June.
  • How does the application and interview process work?
    Once the application is finished and reviewed by the SJWP staff, an interview is scheduled. Upon acceptance into the program, the SJW candidate then interviews with 1-3 potential placement sites. If both the supervisor and applicant agree on a fit, then the placement can be secured. Those who apply early have the best chance of getting their preferred placement.
  • What are my chances of being accepted?
    Chances of being accepted into the SJW Program are increased by applying before the priority deadlines and by being open about the kind of placement site experience you desire. Final acceptance hinges on acceptance by the St. Joseph Workers interview team, compatibility with an existing placement, and available space in the program.
  • How many people are in the program?
    Every year, we welcome 5-6 women to join us in service!
  • What will an average week look like?
    St. Joseph Workers spend 36 hours a week at their placements. Most of this work takes place between the hours of 8:00-5:00, although certain placements may have individual evening or weekend commitments. When not at placement sites, SJWs are involved with spiritual mentoring, personal development and program opportunities that build upon the 4 core values of leadership, community, spirituality and social justice. One night of the week is reserved for “Sharing of the Heart” (a time to share what’s in our hearts and on our minds, in the context of spirituality and group sharing). Another night is reserved for community check-ins/house meetings (a time to catch up with the others in the house and plan menus and schedules for the upcoming week). The SJWs also plan another evening for fun and community building.
  • Will I have financial assistance as a volunteer?
    The SJWP provides the SJW with room and board, food, basic health insurance if needed, transportation to and from work, and a monthly stipend of $150 for personal use.
  • What should I bring with me?
    Each bedroom is furnished with a single bed, dresser, chair, and lamp. Sheets and towels are provided, but you may bring your own if you wish. The living room, kitchen, and other common spaces are fully furnished. The house also has a common use TV and internet access. Each woman decides to bring certain priority items with her, including professional and recreational clothing, iPad/laptop, and other important personal items. With the intent to live simply, bringing less is more.
  • Should I bring my car?
    The St. Joseph Worker Program provides for many transportation options such as community cars, car-pooling, bus/metro transit cards, bikes, and other options for transportation to and from work. If someone chooses to bring their car, it is their responsibility to cover maintenance and insurance expenses.
  • What about health insurance?
    The St. Joseph Worker Program provides health insurance. However, we do not cover eye or dental care. We ask that incoming St. Joseph Workers get a dental check and general physical before entering the program to set them up for the coming year. The program may also pay for authorized health care costs, including co-pays, over the course of the year.
  • What if I have student loans
    Loan deferments or AmeriCorps affiliated forbearance are available for most federal loans. Check with your loan service provider to see what the best option is based on the type and amount of loans you have. Some St. Joseph Workers may be eligible for an AmeriCorps education award to help pay for college or to pay back student loans. There are a limited number of slots provided to the St. Joseph Worker Program across the US through a collaborating organization. Eligibility for awards is based on work placement site job descriptions, need and whether previous AmeriCorps awards were received.
  • Will i have time to take classes
    SJWs are able to enroll in any class that doesn’t interfere with work or community responsibilities. Many past SJWs have been able to balance work and class time and have used these credits toward future graduate study.
  • What if I am in a relationship
    While the SJW Program houses do not accommodate couples, women have balanced community commitments while in a relationship. We understand and appreciate the need for personal time. While there are many program commitments, most women do find time for themselves and for other commitments that are important to them. Secure relationships are not threatened by the time commitment required for this program. Starting a new serious relationship during the program is not encouraged.
  • What do alums of the programs do after the year ends?
    St. Joseph Worker Alums go on to do many things, including finding employment with both non-profit and for-profit organizations, pursuing further schooling, participating in additional volunteer opportunities, and volunteering abroad.

Collaborating Partners

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