Last week we welcomed two new Franciscan-hearted young adults to our community as part of the exciting launch of our newest arm of the Nonprofit Servant Leadership Program: DC Service Corps.

This transformative year of direct service in our nation’s capital builds young adults’ foundation for a lifelong commitment to social activism and their Catholic faith. At the same time, partner nonprofits are equipped with skilled, compassionate, and educated servant leaders to help them sustain and grow their critical services for the most vulnerable and socially isolated residents of our region.

This is truly a dream come true for Franciscan Mission Service. We have been housed in the capital area for 25 years, and while our original focus was on serving those on the margins overseas, we have felt called to engage our local neighbors and have been steadily increasing our ability to do so. Our missioners-in-training and office associates volunteer at local nonprofits serving people experiencing poverty and homelessness once a week. Now, DC Service Corps volunteers do this five days a week.

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In their first days, the Corps volunteers went through orientation and team building exercises with the rest of the Casa San Salvador — the intentional community where they will live, pray and grow in Franciscan simplicity and spirituality with other FMS participants. Throughout the year, they’ll also receive training in leadership skills, advocacy, and efforts to change unjust systems and institutions. During a special welcoming prayer ceremony, they were commissioned for 12 months of service in the program.

Meet the Class

Elizabeth Balboa and Josh Maxey are very excited to be an integral part of this new commitment to service in DC. Elizabeth, originally from Royal Oak, Michigan, graduated from Grand Valley State University where she double majored in journalism and biomedical sciences and minored in religious studies. Josh, originally from Rochester, New York, graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Though they’ve both briefly visited DC before, they look forward to having a whole year to explore the city and discover its charm.

For Elizabeth, the position at DC Service Corps spoke to her because of its holistic opportunity. She was drawn to the philosophy of leadership as service and wanted to cultivate this philosophy within herself. For her service site, she will be serving at Little Friends for Peace, a nonprofit organization which promotes nonviolent resolutions to conflict and offers afterschool clubs, in-school classes, trainings, and workshops to educate children and adults about empathy and peace. Elizabeth chose this service site because she appreciates their ideology that global peace is dependent on inner and interpersonal peace.

For Josh, he was drawn to DC Service Corps for many reasons. He’s always found Washington, DC interesting in the sense that there is so much poverty yet the district is also the seat of the country’s government. For Josh’s service site, he will work at Street Sense, an organization which offers people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to participate both in the compilation and the selling of their newspaper which brings issues of injustice and poverty to light. Josh was drawn to service as a way to discern more about his own life. He identifies with Gandhi’s saying, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

In her free time, Elizabeth likes to play the ukulele, watch Portlandia, read, and discover new indie films. Josh’s hobbies include: reading, walking, eating shredded wheat, watching puppy videos, and finding new pumpkin spice products.

Welcome, Elizabeth and Josh!

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Elizabeth Balboa

Fun Fact: “I started an underground Catholic group in college for professors to share their faith and philosophies in an open environment. I also started an underground presidential campaign for 2032. I guess I was underground a lot…but after all, everything in darkness comes to light according to Jesus!”

Favorite Saint:“I’ve always been impressed with St. Augustine. He gives me hope of redemption for myself and my loved ones.”

Josh Maxey

Josh Maxey

Fun Fact: “I have a lot of irrational fears but the worst ones are elevators and butterflies. I’m not really sure where they came from…but they’re there. If I ever have an experience when they’re all combined, I think that might be the end for me.”

Favorite Saint: “I would also say St. Augustine. His story is so inspirational and shows where God can take you. He lived a life in complete opposition to the church and then he found his way and became the greatest saint ever.”