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Program Partner

Presbytery of Chicago

Program Description

YAVs in Chicago have a unique opportunity to have their faith shaped and transformed by looking at many of the current and popular topics of today through a Gospel-oriented lens.  Partnering alongside non-profit agencies that are working in the areas of immigration, education, homelessness and food security, YAVs have a chance to learn about the importance of advocating for structural change as well as responding to immediate needs.  While learning through the work experiences, YAVs are encouraged to live intentionally by engaging with the YAV community, a faith community and discovering how to know their neighbors.

Site Coordinator

Juan Pablo Herrera

How do I apply?

Intentional Community Living

We ask that YAVs live in Faith House not just as roommates but as a group that is committed to each other and the neighborhood.  We ask for YAVs to commit to intentional living including the concept of “simple living.”  Each YAV group will write a covenant in the first month of living together and will work with the covenant throughout the time they are here.

Volunteers will meet weekly on “Community Days” to reflect on their placements, learn about relevant social concerns and grow in faith and understanding of vocational call.  The group will read three to four books together and meet with authors and experts when feasible.

The Chicago YAV community will receive special training as a community through Join the Circle: Become a Certified Peace Circle Facilitator. Chicago YAVs will learn restorative justice practices and build community in a trusting and safe environment. Through a partnership with Northeastern Illinois University, YAVs will receive Motivational Interviewing training where they will spend time gaining specific skills and practicing those skills. Motivational Interviewing involves the comfortable practice of answering open-ended questions, affirming talents, responding in brief summaries and learning the particular skill called “accurate empathy.”


Young Adult Volunteers (YAV) is a service and leadership development program through the World Mission division of the PC(USA). Young adults serve for one year in the U.S. or internationally, in areas such as fair trade or environmental issues, and have the opportunity to experience Christianity in a new culture. YAVs are between ages 19 and 30. Check out the YAV program blog here. 

Kara, Colombia


Kyle Balzer
Meredith Check
Luke Harmon
Evelyn Hooper
Emily Mikhail
Gladys Rosas

Placement Opportunities

Br. David Darst Center
The Brother David Darst Center provides unique learning and immersion opportunities that explore issues of social justice through the lens of Christian social teachings of peace, justice and respect for human dignity and the environment. They seek to inspire a responsive, active faith, a commitment to serve and a passion for social change. YAV serve as Retreat Facilitators, educating groups as part of an urban immersion program.

Logan Square Neighborhood Association(LSNA):
LSNA is a community-based organization advancing diversity, leader development, and models for engagement as the catalyst for social justice.  Their holistic approach results in strategic, consistent efforts in the areas of housing, education, health and open space, immigration, alcohol prevention, safety, and youth.  YAV will serve as community organizers in a particular issue and assist with middle school students in their community learning centers.

New Moms:
New Moms provides comprehensive, individualized services to young moms and their children experiencing poverty and homelessness, allowing them every opportunity for success, as they work toward economic independence and family stability.

Breakthrough Urban Ministries – Family Plex:
The Breakthrough Youth Network offers the children, youth and young adults of East Garfield Park a wide variety of programs in sports, arts, academics and spiritual development; and surrounds them with a diverse network of caring adults to support their growth and expand their opportunities. As a Youth Worker, YAV will help with the afterschool with middle school students.

Heartland Alliance:
Advances human rights and responds to the human needs of endangered populations—particularly the poor, the isolated, and the displaced—through the provision of comprehensive and respectful services and the promotion of permanent solutions leading to a more just global society.   Volunteers work in the investment program for Heartland.  Working with low-income families to understand the importance of saving and investing in many forms.

Sarah’s Inn:
A domestic violence prevention program that works with emergency shelters and in schools has several positions that are available to volunteers.  1) Volunteer coordinator: Working with others on staff to provide volunteers for in school workshops and the domestic abuse hotline.  2) School trainer: Working in schools with 7th and 8th graders with the prevention team to teach ways to prevent sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

LaSalle Street Church:
YAV will gain realistic understanding and experience of church ministry and outreach in the context of a downtown urban church, focusing primarily on youth, homelessness, and senior citizen populations.  Our goal is to foster the YAV’s vocational discernment process by exposing him/her to various opportunities and individuals who are doing the type of ecclesial ministry that he/she feels passionate about and potentially called to engage in.


Volunteers live in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago in Faith House, a two unit apartment building that can house eight volunteers and is owned by First Church of the Brethren.


Ages 19–30

Willingness to learn:  Much of the YAV year is spent learning a new place, new people and new work.  YAVs will be well served if they desire to learn.

Willingness to cross cultural boundaries:  Chicago’s people are diverse!  YAVs should be ready to engage in cross cultural faith development, friendships, and understandings.

Willingness to be stretched:  Living within intentional community, in a new city, and in a setting where reflection is encouraged can be stretching and rewarding.