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”*
A commitment to serving in culturally and religiously diverse contexts
Openness to exploring and deepening one’s Christian faith in the context of community
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
How are YAVs placed?
Volunteers are placed only to sites where they apply. Through our mutual discernment process, the candidate’s preference, the site’s preference and the needs of our partners are considered. Candidates should be open to applying to a variety of states.
What do YAVs do?
YAVs are placed with a partner organization at each of our sites. Their work depends on the focus of the placement partner. Volunteers’ interests and skills are taken into account when discerning a site placement. Volunteers engage in direct service, education and awareness, and advocacy.
Where do YAVs live?
Most YAVs live with fellow volunteers in a community house. Some sites have a host-family model. All YAVs will be active members of an intentional Christian community. All housing is arranged and provided by the YAV program.
Do YAVs get paid?
Volunteers receive a living stipend during the service year. The YAV program also provides housing, transportation to and from all events and meal costs. All costs associated with the program are covered.
What does it cost?
There is no volunteer fee to serve. YAVs do commit to fundraising a minimum of $4,000 (national placements) and $5,000 (international placements) for the year. YAVs fundraise to gather a community of support during the year. While each YAV must fundraise, we recognize different communities have varying capacities to give. There are additional options for financial and spiritual support if needed. Fundraising coaching provided!
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 participate?
The YAV program is a formational opportunity for young adults interested in practical faith-development and work experience. 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 our world. We fully believe it is a year of service for a lifetime of change.
What about student loans?
Volunteers may receive up to $250/month of assistance during their YAV year(s) through the Season of Service Loan Assistance Program.
What about health insurance?
If YAVs do not have access to health care, the program is able to provide coverage. The program does encourage participants to remain under their current coverage during their year of service, if possible.
Do I need to know another language?
No. Speaking another language may be helpful at some placements but is not a requirement. International YAVs may be provided with language classes as available. National site placements require conversational English. All YAV events occur in English.
When can I apply?
Important Dates to note are:
November 1, 2020
January 1, 2021
Round 1—All sites available, early placement
March 1, 2021
Round 2—Most sites available, final date to apply to some international sites
June 1, 2021
Round 3—limited spots available
YAV Orientation 2022
August 21-24 virtual
August 25-28 in person
Need more info?
Please contact Andy Thomas at email@example.com or call 1-800-728-7228 x5300. 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.