For those interested in the program, or wanting to know more about what I’ll be doing this year, here are some FAQs!
Who is a YAV? YAV stands for Young Adult Volunteer. YAVs are anywhere between the ages of 19-30, and do not have to be Presbyterian to be considered for the program. A YAV spends one year serving with the Presbyterian Church (USA) in various national and international sites. I like to refer to it as the Presbyterian Peace Corps, although it’s funded by the Church, not the government, and it’s a one-year commitment instead of two.
What is the YAV experience? From the YAV website:
Being a Young Adult Volunteer means living a year you’ll never forget. What do YAVs do? Typically, they participate in the following:
- They serve for one year in communities of need in the United States and around the world.
- They meet regularly for prayer and Bible study.
- They work with mentors to explore and grow in their expression of their Christian faith.
- They build each other up as Disciples of Jesus Christ.
- They are supported in their faith journey through orientation and an end-of-term debriefing event.
Where are you serving/Where have you served? I was a YAV in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with Emma, Mark and Leif from August 2015-July 2016. I will be living in New Orleans, LA for my second YAV year with six other volunteers until July 2017.
Where will you be volunteering? YAVs in Belfast were paired part-time with a congregation and part-time with community-based organizations. I volunteered with Garnerville Presbyterian Church in East Belfast and The Vine Community Centre in Northwest Belfast.
YAVs in New Orleans vary in their work settings. I will be volunteering with the YMCA Educational Services program, a writing and reading/literacy program that provides adults with classes that enable them with the skills needed to be a functioning member of their society.
What kind of work will you be doing? From the YAV website:
(the program in Belfast) The emphasis in this program site is on learning through service. Northern Ireland is primarily known for its tragic history of violence and inter-community conflict. These “Troubles,” as they are commonly known, have left behind serious economic, emotional and spiritual needs, particularly in urban/working-class districts. Volunteers work in support of faith-based efforts to address this legacy and will have the opportunity to see various responses from the churches and other organizations to community development, peace building and reconciliation. Each volunteer is placed both with a congregation and a community-based ministry, often, though not always, in the same district.
(the program in New Orleans) To be a Young Adult Volunteer in New Orleans is to seek God and be transformed in one of the most unique cities in the world. In New Orleans you will cry with and serve your neighbors who grieve the effects of Hurricane Katrina, poverty, violence, and a disappearing wetlands. You will also joyfully dance in the streets with those same neighbors at Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, or a passing Second Line. The YAV program in New Orleans offers many opportunities for you to engage the city on many different levels and to seek God in the tension of sorrow and celebration.
Goals of the New Orleans YAV site:
- For Young Adults during their year of service learn about God, themselves, servant leadership, and social justice with the purpose of being transformed so that this one year will prepare them for rest of their lives to take part in God’s mission in the world.
- To be a safe and loving community for the Young Adults who spend a year in New Orleans. We are a home in which young adults are able to explore, risk, and fail within a safety-net of grace, love, and compassion.
- For Young Adults who come to New Orleans during their year of service develop a mindset of calling- which is not necessarily linked to what job they have.
- For the presence of Young Adults to transform the Presbytery of South Louisiana.
If you are interested in donating to my YAV year, please see the #Support link in the menu bar of my blog!