Young Adult Volunteers

Important Dates

· October 1, 2017 – Applications Open
· January 1, 2018 -Round 1- (All sites available, early placement)
· March 1, 2018 – Round 2 – (Most sites available, final date to apply to international sites)
· June 1, 2018 – Round 3 – (National sites only, limited spots available)

The YAV Experience

Want to put your faith into action?
Want to grow as a leader in Christian service?
Want to see what God is doing in the world while serving a local community?
The YAV Program might be just for you….

Meet Currently Serving YAVs

The Young Adult Volunteer program is a one year service opportunity for young adults from 19 to 30 years. YAVs live in intentional Christian community, deepening and developing their faith while serving alongside partners in sites across the United States and around the world. YAVs serve for one academic year, August—July, as they explore God’s calling in their lives.

Volunteers are placed in community agencies or local churches, with jobs depending on the needs of partners and the skills of the Young Adult Volunteer. YAVs are exposed to some of the hardest problems in the world—poverty, violence and reconciliation, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ—while living and reflecting with other volunteers on the meaning and motivation of their Christian faith.

Each YAV experience is different—but all YAVs will participate in a mutual discernment process to be a part of the program, receive national and on-site orientation, work closely with mentors and peers, participate in vocational discernment activities, and integrate the whole experience at a transition retreat. All YAVs are eligible for health insurance and student loan assistance. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), you and your supporting congregation and presbytery, and some placement agencies share funding of this program. All volunteers are required to raise some of their financial support—the requirements for fundraising have been cut in half since 2013—to $4,000 for national service and $5,000 for international service.

Being a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) means entering into a transformational year of service. What do YAVs do? Typically, YAVs:

  • Volunteer alongside local partners in sites across the United States and the world.
  • Engage in root causes of poverty, reconciliation and holistic witness to the Gospel.
  • Participant in intentional Christian community with fellow YAVs and local partners.
  • Explore vocational discernment to articulate your passions, label your talents & live into God’s call.

YAVs are supported in their faith journey through orientation and end-of-term debriefing events.

Give to individual YAVs

The YAV program offers young adults the opportunity to volunteer for a year of transformational service. We do not want the lack of funds to deter young adults from exploring this call to service. Fundraising, through a variety of sources, allows us to sustain and grow the program, now and in the future.

It costs an average of $22,000 to support a YAV during a year of service. YAVs commit to individually raising a portion of that amount. For the 2017–18 program year the goal is a minimum of $4,000 (for national service) and $5,000 (for international service). We also rely on other sources of income such as denominational PC(USA) support (including the Pentecost Offering), partner agencies which YAVs serve and a variety of other efforts.

YAVs are generally supported financially through their home congregations, presbyteries, campus ministries, family, friends and mentors. The individual fundraising total was significantly reduced several years ago to make the YAV experience more accessible to all young adults.

Why is it important for YAVs to participate in their own fundraising?

Fundraising plays a key role in helping YAVs create a network of support and connect their home community to their volunteer experience. YAVs are asked to invite others to walk beside them both through financial support and prayer.

The fundraising efforts reflect the belief that ‘we do not go alone’ and that we are called to be responsible stewards of our resources.

Does every YAV have to fundraise?

Yes. We ask all YAVs to participate in the fundraising process, but also recognize that communities have different capacities to financially support young adults. While many YAVs come from supportive faith communities, there are YAVs who might not be connected to such a faith community. For that reason, there are worshiping communities within the PC(USA) who have committed to additional support for YAVs, both financially and spiritually. While this does not relinquish the a YAV to seek a community of support during their volunteer year, it can help ease their financial burden when considering a year of service.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact a YAV staff member for further details (Lydia Kim [], Blake Collins [] or Richard Williams []).

The YAV program offers assistance and coaching to assist all YAVs with strategies, best practices and support for their fundraising efforts. For more details, contact Blake Collins

What do these costs cover?

Direct financial support for a YAV is used for housing, food, transportation, a living stipend, medical insurance, travel, supervision and other costs, such as training and reflection events.

How can I make a gift to support a YAV?

Once YAVs are placed in a community, they will be given a special Extra Commitment Opportunity (ECO) number to share with supporters. Each gift must be clearly marked with the YAV’s ECO number. All International YAVs have specific, individual ECO numbers, while national YAVs have a site ECO number related to the city in which they are serving. Learn more about opportunities to support YAVs.

Gifts can be made online or by sending a check to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)
PO Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

If you are interested in giving general support to the YAV program, please use the following ECO numbers: 

YAV E049075 (for gifts from individuals)
YAV – D500123
(for gifts from congregations)

YAV a Year

If you, your congregation, Presbytery, or group are interested in supporting YAVs through the YAV a Year program, which creates a long-term, sustainable funding model for the YAV program, contact Richard Williams ( for more information about joining in this effort.

Goals of the YAV Program:



Intentional Christian Community
YAVs explore what it means to be a Christian community with one another and their neighbors. While some will live in housing together and others spread throughout their country, all YAVs will reflect together on their service and explore their relationship with God, the church, and their ministry in a broken world.

Simple Living
YAVs are challenged to practice simple living – living an abundant life with less. Living simply pushes YAVs to evaluate their true needs with their lifestyle and beliefs.

Cross-Cultural Mission
YAVs will intentionally explore the diversity of God’s creation, living and working outside of their comfort zone. YAVs will work to confront the systemic challenges of race, class, gender, and power, while learning to examine their own lives and actions.

Leadership Development through Faith in Action
YAVs develop their leadership by serving in marginalized communities alongside local people of faith responding to poverty, violence, and injustice in their communities, sharing the gospel through word and deed.

Vocational Discernment
Through theological reflection and spiritual practices, YAVs will participate in the process of vocational discernment—unearthing God’s desire for each person’s life and work.

What is the Young Adult Volunteer program?

The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) which sends young adults, ages 19-30, into a year of service at one of our 20 partner sites in the United States and around the world. YAVs begin their service in late August, beginning with a week of Orientation, and return in late July or early August of the following year.

When is the application due?

  • Application season begins: October 1, 2016 (National and International)
  • Early Decision: December 1, 2016 (National and International)
  • Round 2: February 1, 2017 (National and International)
  • Round 3: April 1, 2017 (National Only)
  • Last Call: June 1, 2017 (National Only)

What does it cost?

It costs the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) an average of $22,000 to send a YAV for a year of service. Of that total cost, the PC(USA) covers more than three quarters. YAVs commit to fundraising a minimum $4,000 (National) and $5,000 (International) fundraising effort to contribute to the cost of service.

Fundraising is most often done through the support of the volunteer’s home congregation. Many also raise support through Presbyteries, Synods, campus ministries, family, friends, mentors, etc. Gathering a community in support—both financial and spiritual—is a great way for volunteers to connect their congregations, family, and friends to their experience. Through newsletters, blog updates, social media, and pictures, volunteers are able to stay in contact with their sending communities, recognizing that the experience is about more than one individual or experience.

Does every YAV have to fundraise?

Yes. We ask all YAVs to participate in the fundraising process, but also recognize that communities have different capacities to financially support young adults. While many YAVs come from supportive faith communities, there are YAVs who might not be connected to such a faith community. For that reason, there are worshiping communities within the PC(USA) who have committed to additional support for YAVs, both financially and spiritually. While this does not relinquish the YAV to seek a community of support during their volunteer year, it can help ease their financial burden when considering a year of service. We also offer student-debt assistance during the year of service through the Season of Service Loan Program.

Do I get paid?

One core value of the YAV program is simple living and since this is a volunteer position- no, volunteers are not paid. However, costs associated with the program including room and board, transportation and a basic living stipend are covered in the program. This is designed to have YAVs live at an economic level similar to the community they are serving.

What about my student loans?

The YAV program does have a program to help cover the costs of student debt called the Season of Service Student Loan Assistance program. Candidates may find out more by visiting

What about health insurance?

The YAV program requires all participants to have health insurance. The program encourages participates to remain under their current coverage during their year of service. If YAVs do not have access to health care, the program is able to provide coverage for those who do not have access to insurance.

Can I pick which location I go to?

The matching process is one of mutual discernment, which means listening to the internal call of the individual applicant, while also recognizing the external call that comes from World Mission, the YAV office, and our site coordinators. Applicant site preferences are taken into account, but are not the only factor in determining placements. Generally, the more open a candidate is to serving in a variety of sites, the more successful her/his application will be. To see a listing of all of our sites, click here: YAV Sites

What are you looking for in a YAV applicant?

  • Young adults ages 19–30
  • A commitment to serving in culturally and religiously diverse contexts
  • Openness to exploring and deepening one’s faith in the context of community
  • Flexibility, curiosity, patience, and a sense of humor!
  • Emotional health and resilience
  • The ability to adapt to uncertainty and ambiguity and a desire to simply “be” with people and
    with God
  • Willingness to learn a new language and the courage to make mistakes!

What is housing like?

Each site is a bit different. YAVs may live with host families, with other volunteers, or sometimes on their own (within a host community). It is important to speak with site coordinators about the housing possibilities in their particular location.

Where will  I serve?

Young adults serve in a variety of areas. Volunteer interests and skills are taken into account when discerning site placement. All placement sites provide opportunities for the volunteers to confront issues of poverty, racial privilege, economic disparity, globalization, and women’s issues. A year of service through the YAV program helps the volunteer to think more critically about their own identity, God’s work in the world, and their place within it all.

Do I need to know a second language?

No.  However, speaking a second language will be helpful in many of our sites, both nationally and internationally. Please note your language abilities on your application.

Do I have to be Presbyterian?

No. While 80% of our participants identify as Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), this is not a requirement. We do ask each applicant to provide a church or worshiping community support form to show their involvement at the local faith level.

Need more information?

Please contact Blake Collins at or 1-800-728-7228 x5300, or see our website at