The local non-profit entity that will lead the Asheville YAV program is Hands-and-Feet of Asheville, which is non-profit organization associated with Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (GCPC) in Asheville, N.C. Volunteers are placed in a variety of non-profit organizations including those addressing issues of hunger, poverty, homelessness, affordable housing and racial inequality within the Asheville community.
Living in the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, YAVs in Asheville are invited to embrace a city of opposites. A city that thrives in providing for tourists, but has not equitably provided affordable housing or living wages for its residents. A city with an urban downtown setting, that is only minutes from the realities and cultures of rural western North Carolina and the poverty of the southern Appalachian region. A city that has long embraced the arts and provided safe haven for the free spirit and progressive ideologies, while simultaneously being nestled in the corner of a conservative state that does not mirror its priorities. Being a YAV in Asheville requires a willingness to be uncomfortable in the opposites, as well as the fortitude to navigate the in-between so that you may learn more about who you are and decide how you want to live in service of compassionate social justice, during the YAV year and throughout your life.
By several estimations, Asheville is currently the second fastest gentrifying city in our nation. As such, Asheville YAVs most frequently engage with organizations that work to end homelessness and the “othering” of our neighbors, and to support justice for those trapped in cycles of poverty.
At home, as an Asheville YAV, you’ll enjoy the shared experience of living together in community and building unexpected relationships at a special place in Asheville, the Brooks-Howell Home — a community of retired missionaries and social justice advocates, with whom the Asheville YAVs volunteer as a group.
LEARN MORE by selecting an option from the green bar above! Details on Intentional Community Living, YAV Blogs, Placement Opportunities & Requirements can be found.
Intentional Community Living
The Young Adult Volunteers will live together and will work to create the daily/weekly habits of an intentional community. Groups will additionally be encouraged to find at least one other community with which they will interact on a weekly basis so that they can bring this learning back to the core community and enrich their experience and learning. Weekly meetings that include personal and scholarly reflection and retreats several times a year will help support the community development, spiritual formation and vocational discernment for members of the community.
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.
Volunteers serve 32 hours each week in community-based ministries and non-profit organizations serving those living on the margins. While the specific placement opportunities may vary from year to year, the focus of each placement is relationship-building with people experiencing homelessness, poverty and children living on the poverty line.
Some possible placements include:
After school programs for children and youth in our city’s public housing communities
Organizations providing/advocating for affordable housing and direct services to those experiencing homelessness or who are recently housed
Food rescue organizations that redistribute food while re-ordering social hierarchies
Job training/readiness programs for those unemployed or underemployed that provide individual case management support to lift individuals and families out of poverty
Volunteers share housing with other Young Adult Volunteers in Asheville. Costs, chores, meal preparation and other aspects of communal living are negotiated within the group, with guidance from experienced mentors in intentional community living.
Age: 21 to 30 at the time of service
Education: College degree or equivalent age and life experience
“Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” — John 1:29