The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service for young people (ages 19–30) in sites across the United States and around the world. YAVs accompany local agencies working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation. Alongside this work, volunteers explore the meaning of their Christian faith and accountability to their neighbors in the community with peers and mentors.
The YAV year occurs from August to August.
Benefits during the year of service include a regular stipend, housing, all program-related transportation costs covered and student-loan assistance.
We also invite young adults to engage in world issues, commit to self-reflection, listen to those who are being marginalized and learn in a new way . This is an exciting invitation to “a year of service for a lifetime of change.”
*Read about available sites, current volunteers, Frequently Asked Questions, fundraising commitments and more(!) by clicking on the above tab-bars and options listed under “Learn More”*
What are we looking for in a YAV virtual year applicant?
Young adults! (ages 18–30)
A commitment to serving in culturally and religiously diverse contexts
Openness to exploring and deepening one’s Christian faith in the context of virtual community through social justice
Flexibility, curiosity, patience and a sense of humor!
The ability to adapt to uncertainty and ambiguity
A desire to be present with people and with God from your computer and community context
How will virtual YAVs engage?
The YAV program takes pride in offering a Christian community to our participants and that will still be the case during the historic virtual year! Volunteers will journey together to dig deep around the program’s Core Tenets and what is means to be a Matthew 25 church. The volunteers will have the unique opportunity to engage with YAV alums, site coordinators, PC(USA) national level leaders, mid council leaders, congregational leaders and ecumenical partners! They will be immersed in topics around social justice through faith in action, dismantling structural racism and ways to engage after their virtual year is completed. By building relationships in a variety of ways, YAVs will also be provided a mentor to nurture their vocational discernment.
Do YAVs get paid?
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, YAVs will not be provided housing or a stipend for the 2020–21 virtual YAV year.
What does it cost?
Due to the awesome opportunity of serving virtually, there is no cost to virtual YAV participants! All we ask is that you share your virtual YAV journey with others through blogs, stories, social media posts and other creative ways to engage others!
Do I have to be Presbyterian?
No! YAV is an ecumenical program — volunteers from all Christian traditions are invited to serve. While most of our participants are Presbyterian, this is not a requirement, and we welcome people from all Christian backgrounds.
I’m not Presbyterian. Why should I participate?
The YAV program is a formational opportunity for young adults interested in practical faith-development. As a PC(USA) program, YAV seeks to be an open and affirming program celebrating diversity at all levels. We are grateful for the many different voices from various faith traditions that make our program deeper and stronger, as exemplified in our many partners throughout the country and world. We fully believe it is a year of service for a lifetime of change.
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer health insurance during the 2020–21 virtual YAV year.
When can I apply?
Important Dates for the 2020–21 Virtual YAV Service Year:
Aug. 15, 2020
Sept. 29, 2020
Oct. 5, 2020
Virtual year begins!
Important Dates for the 2021–22 In-Person YAV Service Year:
Oct. 1, 2020
Jan. 1, 2021
Round 1 — All sites available, early placement
March 1, 2021
Round 2 — Most sites available, final date to apply to international site
June 1, 2021
Round 3 — National sites only, limited spots available, final date to apply to national sites
Need more info?
Please contact Destini Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-728-7228, ext. 5300. Follow us @yavprogram on social media!
Core Tenets of the YAV Program:
Every YAV site strives to embody the following values throughout the year of service:
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. We challenge one another to live more simply in response to an unsustainable human demand for natural resources.
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 communities that are actively being marginalized 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 desires for each person’s life and work.
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 2019-2020 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 fundraising, 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 a traditional church body. For that reason, there are worshiping communities within the PC(USA) who have committed to additional support for YAVs, both financially and spiritually. We also recognize the level communities are able to give varies. While this does not relinquish a YAV to seek a community of support during their volunteer year and fundraise, there are opportunities for additional assistance in terms of a YAV’s fundraising obligation when considering a year of service.
If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact a YAV staff member for further details – Destini Hodges (Destini.Hodges@pcusa.org)
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 Destini Hodges (Destini.Hodges@pcusa.org) for more information about joining in this effort.