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Deadline for Young Adult Volunteer applications approaching

February 1st final date to apply for international sites

by Blake Collins | Special to Presbyterian News Services

LOUISVILLE – The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program’s final application date for international placement is fast-approaching. Candidates interested in placement at one of the five international sites must apply by February 1. Current YAVs are in the process of taking over the program’s Instagram account (@yavprogram) to showcase each site’s partner organizations and also highlight everyday living.

Each site adapts the program’s core tenets to the varying contexts where YAVs serve. In Colombia, volunteers gain new perspective on what it means to be church in a context where 10 percent of the population are internally displaced. The Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia (Presbyterian Church of Colombia) invites YAVs to participate in holistic witness through church-based micro-enterprises, agricultural projects, youth programs and community-based peace initiatives. Colombia aims to develop globally-minded leaders and cultivate awareness around the interconnections between church and society in local and global frameworks.

Volunteers placed in Scotland are hosted by the Church of Scotland Priority Areas Team who partner and resource the 65 most economically deprived parishes in Scotland. The Church of Scotland affirms that “priority for the poorest and the most marginalized is the Gospel imperative facing the whole Church, not just the Church in the poorest areas.” YAVs serve in church-community projects in one of the priority area parishes while living together in intentional Christian community in Glasgow.

In Peru, each YAV lives with a Peruvian host family for the duration of the year; an integral component of the site. Each YAV contributes to the daily routines and customs of the family “as a member in the home, not just a guest.” YAVs are placed through the Red Uniendo Manos (Joining Hands Network) – a network of non-profits, churches and community organizations from across the country who work together to address root causes of poverty. Together, the network advocates around economic development, environmental protection and human rights.

Education and community are two of the strongest aspects of the site in Zambia. Volunteers are hosted by the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), a small but faithful church involved in living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission in a context of poverty and economic injustice. YAVs teach at a mission school or community school, shadow pastors, help develop educational materials and are involved in supplemental income generating activities. Zambia welcomes YAVs into a host-family model. Each host-family is connected to a local church of the CCAP.

The YAV site in the Philippines focuses on developing servant-leaders through faith in action. Each YAV is matched with specific and suitable work that requires transformative community action. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines places YAVs as teaching assistants or guidance counsellors in church-related schools and educational programs, communication and advocacy specialists for rehabilitation programs of disaster-affected communities and promotional work for a theater ministry for young people. The 10-month placement immerses YAVs into different church and community settings exposing volunteers to a reality meant for reflection and deeper socio-cultural understanding.

Help spread the word as YAV hopes to place as many young people as possible into a transformational year of service. Visit the program’s website to read current YAVs’ blogs, follow along through social media, request materials and support the program. Applications for the 16 national sites will remain open until June 1.

The Young Adult Volunteer Program is made possible with your gifts to the Pentecost Offering.

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