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Young Adult Volunteers
Many individuals and families are just one paycheck away from homelessness, explained Rachel Eliser, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) serving with Safe Parking LA, a nonprofit committed to providing a safe and secure place for vehicle dwellers to sleep. The Safe Parking LA program is modeled after programs in other cities in California, including Santa Barbara, San Diego and San Jose, as well as communities in Washington state and Oregon.
In late January, Daniel Pappas was riding in a van with his video equipment traveling toward the border of Burma (Myanmar). Most people don’t get that kind of opportunity, but to him it’s just another happy step on a path he didn’t know he was taking.
A group of 16 Young Adult Volunteer alum, family and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national staff gathered in Puerto Rico earlier this month for a Relief and Reflection Service Trip commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program.
Miriam is a teacher at a public elementary school in her indigenous community in Guatemala. When the government funds for the school hadn’t come halfway through the school year (but had for all of the non-indigenous public schools in the area), she led a march of teachers from their small town in the mountains to the municipal building in Xela, six miles away. Outside the government building, indigenous teachers and parents held a rally and delivered a letter demanding the money allocated for their children’s education.
You won’t go to India to do something an Indian cannot do,” the Rev. Thomas John told me. He was the site coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program in India, and I was a college senior, interviewing to serve as a YAV on the other side of the globe. I don’t think I had any delusions of single-handedly transforming the world, but I was surely guided by a desire to help, to contribute, to be of service. That was in 2002. Today I serve as site coordinator for the YAV program in Colombia, and I encounter those same motivations again and again in current applicants.
More than 1,000 young people from around the world recently gathered at the United Nations to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly. Simon Doong, a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, was among the attendees.
Los jóvenes adultos voluntarios (YAVs por sus siglas en inglés) participan por un año de servicio basado en la fe, en más de 20 lugares en todo el mundo y en los Estados Unidos, de19 a 30 años de edad, acompañando a las agencias locales, trabajando para abordar las causas fundamentales de la pobreza y la reconciliación, mientras explora el significado y la motivación de su fe en una comunidad cristiana intencional con sus compañeros y mentores durante un año académico que va de agosto hasta julio.
When Don Stribling looks at the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program, he sees an experience that challenges the hyper individualism that pervades much of today’s religious practice.
Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) engage in a faith-based year of service in over 20 sites around the world and in the U.S. YAVs, ages 19–30, accompany local agencies working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation while exploring the meaning and motivation of their faith in intentional Christian community with peers and mentors for one academic year, August through July.
As a mission co-worker and cultural worker in the Philippines, sometimes I am utterly exhausted. There are periods that require quite a bit of travel related to meetings and theater-based trainings for children, youth, church workers, teachers, women and others. When I am in Dumaguete, days sometimes stretch into late evenings for rehearsals with our youth theater group or with Silliman University Divinity School students preparing for the annual church workers convocation. So a few years ago, when asked by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program if my husband, Cobbie, and I would consider reopening the Philippines YAV service site, we pondered, could we? Should we? Could we say no?