Where can I serve?
The applicant, the site coordinator and the YAV staff work together to discern placement of each YAV. National placement interviews take place by telephone. Due to the difficulty of long-distance communication with some international sites, international placements require in-person interviews. These are conducted at a Young Adult Volunteer Discernment Event. Candidates are encouraged to look at possible placement both nationally and internationally.
Located in the heart of the south, Atlanta is known as the capitol of African-America and is often seen as the headquarters for civil rights. Gain experiences that will break down some of the stereotypes that people often have of those in the city and allow yourself to see the face of God in those with whom you interact.
Ayava House (an acronym for Austin Young Adult Volunteer and AmeriCorps) recognizes the growing desire of many young people to engage and transform their world through a deep commitment to service. Austin Seminary desires to offer its resources to young adults working through faith-based programs as well as our national service corps. We recognize that both programs engage young people who will serve in ministry and leadership capacities in their faith traditions as well as their communities of residence.
The Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer (BFJYAV) program gives young adults a year-long experience living together in intentional Christian community and engaging in the mission of Presbytery congregations to secure healthy, just, and sustainable food for all people. At the heart of the program are practices aimed at cultivating spiritual growth, vocational discernment, and leadership development, along with social and congregational transformation.
Chicago is often seen as the birthplace of the study and emphasis in ‘urban ministry.’ This team engages the community, studies its authors, rides its public transit (CTA) and seeks to integrate into the life of this amazing midwestern yet world class city. This site seeks young adults to serve and to learn with the people of Chicago, to engage in intentional Christian community and personal discipleship, to work with local ministries and agencies and to explore urban, multicultural ministry as a vocation and calling.
Chinook is an agricultural-based community; grain farming and cattle ranching are the predominant industries. Chinook is the county seat of Blaine County, population 6500. While the majority of Chinook’s population is Caucasian, half the residents of Blaine County are Native American.
Denver is a Dwell/YAV site that focuses on community involvement and personal growth, with a heart for the neighborhood around the YAV house. The “Wolff Den” is a large welcoming house sitting on Wolff St on Denver’s West side. The team is supported locally by multiple church partnerships and a local board made up of members from the community and representatives from the supporting congregations.
In a city known for its storytelling and its very famous residents, Hollywood YAVs learn the joys of mutual hospitality with their Central and South American neighbors while uncovering the overlooked stories of the largest and most diverse homeless population in the country. To live in Hollywood means to seek the face of God amidst the juxtaposition of the fame, fortune, and the poverty just outside what’s captured in the camera frames. YAVs work in agencies and ministries that engage on multiple levels and encounter peripheral issues of economic injustice, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Concurrently, YAVs live and build relationships in a vibrant community house with their neighborhood.
Indiana’s motto is “Crossroads of America.” The Indy YAVs will live in the intersection of religious diversity, and work together to address issues of reconciliation and poverty. The goal of Indy YAV is to provide opportunities for deep engagement and cooperative work with people of diverse religious identities. YAVs will gain skills in helping the community live faithfully with difference. The work that will be undertaken will help to broaden understanding of the interfaith and ecumenical landscape of the Indianapolis community and the world. Come to the crossroads and engage in the struggle.
Little Rock, Arkansas
The focus of Little Rock YAV site is Local Sustainability, Community Social Justice, and National Disaster Assistance. These are issues that connect with each other. One does not get far down the road of eco-sustainability before bumping into social justice issues like land ownership, the power of agribusiness, access to credit, factory farming, etc. Similarly, one does not journey far along the path of social justice before realizing the importance of creation care, sustainable development, food deserts, disaster recovery assistance, and nutrition education. The Little Rock YAVs will be exposed to these issues through engagement with camp and congregation contexts.
Miami is arguably the only US city that reinvented itself with waves of migrations of various immigrant groups. It is also regarded as the capitol of South America and the Caribbean. Only 12% of the population of Miami is anglo/ caucasian and this lends itself to an incredible year of cross-cultural, multi-cultural service and experience in our vocations, our values, and our faith. Work placements ran the entire gamut of urban ministry opportunities. DOOR-Miami seeks young adults interested in the adventure of urban ministry and relational impact to serve in incredibly diverse communities.
YAVs are placed in agencies that focus on social justice and systemic change. They also participate and have leadership roles in local PC(USA) congregations.
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 and you will 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 of New Orleans on many different levels and to seek God in the tension of sorrow and celebration. The purpose of the Presbytery of South Louisiana’s YAV Program is to offer to young adults a God-Seeking, Life-Changing experience that prepares Young Adults to take part in God’s mission in the world for the rest of their lives.
YAVs serving in San Antonio have the unique opportunity for immersion in a Hispanic culture while taking language classes to develop their Spanish language skills. Participants will live in one of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods with its rich Mexican and German history.
At the Tucson Borderlands, volunteers will live in a communal house while working in a variety of positions. These positions range from helping lead educational delegations in Mexico, to working with college students at the University of Arizona, to filling water tanks in the desert and drafting recommendations for border policies.
The Office of Public Witness (OPW) in Washington, DC, is the public policy, information and advocacy office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The OPW carries out a ministry of public policy, communicating the social witness positions of the Presbyterian General Assembly to decision makers in Washington, DC, and educating and empowering Presbyterians to be effective advocates and faithful citizens. The YAV placement offers a unique opportunity for persons seeking experience and vocational discernment to encounter numerous aspects of Public Witness ministry, to develop their skills, and to think theologically about the role of the church in the public square. Within this context, YAV will assigned to work with an OPW staff person on a public policy issue or portfolio of issues to follow through the political and decision-making process. In addition to an issue portfolio, the YAV will also be assigned outreach, communications, and/or event planning tasks.
Natural and cultural wealth abounds in Colombia, home of Gabriel García Márquez and Shakira, emeralds, coffee, and myriad species of birds and animals. Colombia has also been plagued by conflict for generations, leaving 10% of the population internally displaced, turned into refugees in their own country. Peace talks are underway between the government and the FARC guerrilla group, and implementation of controversial free trade agreements has just begun. In this compelling context, YAVs will gain a new perspective on what it means to be church through service with the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia or IPC (Presbyterian Church of Colombia), founded in 1856. They will live and work alongside the church, learning from and contributing to its holistic witness.
Northern Ireland is primarily known for its tragic history of communal violence. Volunteers work with local churches and community projects to address the legacy of division and help lay foundations for a positive, shared future, particularly (though not exclusively) through work with youth and children.
From the Amazon jungle to the Andes Mountains, Peru´s immense cultural and ecological diversity exemplify the wealth of God´s Creation. Sadly, the exploitation of such wealth has created the most significant gap on the continent between the rich and the poor while also increasing social conflicts and laying waste to the environment. In this context, YAVs are placed through the Red Uniendo Manos Peru - a network of 12 Peruvian organizations from across the country working together to address the root causes of such poverty and injustice, while promoting harmonious and sustainable development.
The program in the Philippines is about developing servant-leaders through faith in action. The 10-month placement will include immersions into different church and community settings that expose the Philippine reality as a mosaic for reflection and socio-cultural understanding. Each volunteer will be matched with specific and suitable work responsibility in one setting addressing relevant and compelling issues that requires transformative community action.
The YAV site in Korea is based in the city of Daejeon. Building relationships with Koreans here will acquaint you with how Christians come to understand their faith and their purpose in the midst of a pluralist country, yearning for peace in the middle of a continuing international conflict, and struggling to address poverty while other parts of the country enjoy extreme wealth. YAVs also learn how Koreans have developed a strong habit of hospitality.
Lush rain forests, turquoise seas, exotic temples, and white sand beaches have defined Thailand as a one of the top ten tourist destinations for the past decade. But the beautiful surface hides much tragedy as Thailand struggles to combat poverty, illegal drugs, human trafficking, AIDS, and the oppression of minorities in the land where less than 1% of the population is Christian. YAVs work as partners with Thai Christians in a variety of programs designed to make an impact and change lives for the better.
By its very name, Zambia, in south central Africa, makes one think of beat of drums and the howls of wild animals. While certain aspects of living in Zambia might have that flavor of “wild adventure”, volunteers will be learning to live and work in community with committed brothers and sisters of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, who are seeking to present the Gospel holistically in the Zambian context.
Jennifer, Yes--you may be considered for the YAV program even if you are over the age of 30. Contact me if you have any other questions--it's great to hear of your interest!
Do you have need for an student from Africa (now in USA) who speaks fluent French and good English?
What about the other direction? If someone is 31 at the time of application and still feels strongly pulled by YAV?
Hi Briley, Thanks for your comment. Yes--you can serve as a YAV now! You will be eligible for any of the 10 national YAV sites. International sites require their volunteers to be 21 or older.
I really want to be a participant in your orginization but I'm only 19. Is there any way I can get involved now or do I just have to hold out for another year?