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US/Mexico Borderlands


Program Partner

tucson-yavs-14-15US/Mexico Borderlands

Program Description

The mission and work of the Borderlands YAV program is focused on building relationships and community on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border to confront barriers of militarism, social injustice and otherness that exist in borderlands. We work with partners that provide a multi-level response to how barriers in our societies particularly harm immigrant and poor communities to amplify the church’s response of welcome and refuge. YAVs serve with communities and churches that are on the frontlines of welcoming and providing humanitarian aid for migrants who are trying to migrate north because of violence and poverty. Primarily, YAVs serve in Tucson, AZ and Agua Prieta, Sonora working with multiple organizations in Tucson and Frontera de Cristo and CAME Migrant Shelter in Agua Prieta.

YAVs also work and live in a diverse community with other young adults from both the U.S. and Latin America where they live and serve together in community. And together the young adult volunteers explore how God is working in their lives and the world, by learning about Christian vocation and faith in the borderlands to become peacemakers and advocates for the marginalized in our society.

Site Coordinator

James Martin

How do I apply?

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

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. 


Katie Jenkins
Haley Whitson
Hannah Singerline
Laura Haney
Emma Maney


Miranda Fry
Dakota Kohfield
Tanner Kohfield
Ryan Mullennex


Rachel Lovins
Xitlalli Garcia Roblero
Andie Sweetman


Mary Baldwin
Graham Duncan
Rachel Lovins
Mirra Matheson

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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Keep Tucson Together is a volunteer-run, free immigration legal clinic. We believe that families deserve to remain together, and that all people deserve legal representation in immigration court. Our volunteer lawyers represent anyone from Pima County who lands in immigration court. Our non-lawyer volunteers work directly with clients, prepare bonds, asylum petitions, and other defenses against deportation. KTT volunteers learn about immigration law and have a huge impact in our community. A YAV at Keep Tucson Together will be able to visit clients in detention, help fill out immigration paperwork, and practice flexibility in responding to community needs as they arise. Join us! For more about Keep Tucson Together, click here.
  • The Inn Project is a short-term hospitality ministry established in December 2016 that hosts asylum seekers en route to their sponsors around the United States. Most guests are single parents with children who have recently entered the U.S. to make their asylum petitions. Housed in the basement of First United Methodist Church, the Inn offers a safe place to rest while people arrange their travel to their final destination. In 2017, the Inn hosted 687 families, most who stayed 1-3 days at the Inn. Volunteers at the Inn Project will respond to the needs of each day, cooking meals, making beds, doing laundry, completing registration paperwork with new guests, and (most importantly) offering a listening ear and compassionate presence to our neighbors on the road. For more about The Inn Project, click here.


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.