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Program Partner

tucson-yavs-14-15Tucson Borderlands Young Adult Volunteer Site

Program Description

Serving both in Tucson and directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, Tucson Borderlands YAVs are steeped in the cultural exchange between these two countries. While enjoying tacos and biking to work, YAVs practice listening for God’s call in their lives and living out that call in holistic ways. YAVs in the Borderlands walk with people who are working for justice in their own communities. Together, we witness how the systems of our world – things like racism, poverty, militarization, globalization, migration, and border security – have a very real impact on the daily lives of real people.

Site Coordinator

Alison Wood

How do I apply?

Intentional Community Living

tucson-15-16YAVs in Tucson live together in a rented house, sharing resources and exploring what it means to build intentional community. Fridays are designated community days and YAVs work together to decide what community activities will be part of their life together. Weekly house meetings include book studies and discussion of house business and projects. YAVs go on retreat together four times a year to connect more deeply with each other and spend time in reflection.

Vocational discernment is a big part of community life at the Tucson Borderlands site. YAVs participate as a group in a 16-session experiential course of discernment practices and tools, facilitated by the site coordinator. Through this work together, YAVs practice different ways of thinking about and doing discernment, and supporting each other through the times when there are more questions than answers. Volunteers are also each paired with a discernment partner from the local community who meets with them once a month for prayer and reflection.

YAVs who work with partner agency Frontera de Cristo live and work in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Intentional community is a little different for Frontera YAVs, who focus more on connecting with the local Iglesia Presbiteriana and Agua Prieta community. Frontera YAVs participate in community vocational discernment and retreats with Tucson-based YAVs.


Tucson volunteers live together in a rented house in central Tucson and practice simplicity and sustainability through using bicycles as their primary form of transportation.


tucson-site-desert-retreatYoung 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. 



Mary Baldwin

Graham Duncan

Mirra Matheson

Rachel Lovins


Jake Crowther

Christopher Madison

Melissa Navarrette

Community Partners

  • Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Staff and volunteers at CFBSA work to “change lives in the communities we serve by feeding the hungry today and building a healthy, hunger-free tomorrow”. Volunteers work with the Agency Partnerships department, which oversees food distribution, training, and capacity-building activities with 240 partner agencies across the region, including shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, and youth programs. More about the Community Food Bank.
  • Frontera de Cristo Volunteers live in Agua Prieta Mexico and work extensively with Protestants, Catholics and people of good will in the United States and Mexico to provide direct humanitarian assistance to deportees returned to Mexico by the Border Patrol. Frontera de Cristo is a Presbyterian border ministry located in the sister cities of Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona. More about Frontera de Cristo.
  • House of Neighborly Service The House of Neighborly Service is a community center that has has been living and loving South Tucson since 1946. We’re getting to know and listening to our enterprising, creative neighbors and we want to do what we can to support their dreams for a local economy and a thriving community that works for everybody. In this work, we are rooted in an inclusive focus on the needs of our community – especially those marginalized by the traditional economy, a commitment to asset-based community development, and the goal of building a sustainable, place-based economy in South Tucson that creates prosperity, peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. More about the House of Neighborly Service.
  • BorderLinks Volunteers serve as delegation leaders, facilitating educational immersion experiences of the border region in both the U. S. and Mexico. “BorderLinks is an international leader in experiential education that raises awareness and inspires action around global political economics.” More about Borderlinks. 
  • Southside Presbyterian Church Southside is a multicultural, multiracial, theologically diverse, all-inclusive community of faith that is constantly looking for ways to explore the intersection of faith and justice as we seek to respond to an ever changing political and cultural landscape. A congregation that loves one another deeply and unconditionally, we seek to practice this love in the world knowing the truth of Cornel West’s words, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”  A central part of the work of the church in the past 2 years has been in reigniting the Sanctuary Movement. More about Southside. 
  • Primavera Foundation Volunteers have worked in a variety of positions, from resource specialist to financial education advocate. Primavera provides pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization. Primavera promotes economic and social justice while working to build a future in which all people are assured basic human rights, a livable income, and safe, affordable housing. More about Primavera.
  • Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona (CHRPA) Volunteers work closely with a wide variety of local and national volunteers and staff to provide free home repair to low income and working poor residents of the Tucson valley.  Volunteers receive training and provide direct home repair services to a diverse community. More about CHRPA.
  • St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church A YAV at St. Mark’s is a catalyst for the church engaging its surrounding community by cultivating relationships with members and neighbors of all ages through teaching, leading worship, visiting, and serving. Through regular reflection with the pastor, they/she/he will be encouraged to be an “anthropologist,” appreciatively and critically analyzing the life of the congregation with the goal of understanding how congregations relate to their communities. More about St. Mark’s.


tucson-14-15-vocational-trainingAge: 19-30
Education: no requirement
Other: Spanish proficiency is a requirement for placement at BorderLinks and Frontera de Cristo. If riding a bike is not possible for folks, other accommodations will be made.