Young Adult Volunteer Program goes virtual for 2020-21

Participants have several options available

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

The YAV program is for young adults ages 1930 who commit to a year of service and growth.

LOUISVILLE — For the first time in nearly three decades, the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program will be completely virtual for both national and international sites during the coming program year (OctoberJuly).

The Rev. Everdith Landrau, coordinator of the YAV program, said that given the contextual realities at each YAV site, going forward with a modified year is just too uncertain because of safety concerns, travel restrictions and state-mandated lockdowns. Initially, the program had hoped to do online prep and orientation, with YAVs traveling to their placement sites in January 2021.

“In these unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the YAV team continues to envision creative ways to engage young adults in meaningful ways,” said Landrau. “Ministry can and is happening in many ways, including virtually. While it was difficult to make this decision, we hope that the 202021 virtual YAV year will be an opportunity for many young adults to engage in new ways.”

The Rev. Everdith Landrau is coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer program.

“While it cannot take the place of face-to-face encounters,” Landrau said, “it does offer a space for theological reflection, engagement and discipleship. We believe this virtual program will invigorate our 202122 recruitment season while giving the 202021 class unique options created just for them.”

YAVS have the opportunity to choose from two options:

OPTION A —

Take part in a virtual YAV year (2020–21) — Commit to participating in training modules (six hours each week) focused on social justice, advocacy and the Matthew 25 invitation related to dismantling structural racism. As a one-time exception, the virtual year also will be open to 18-year-olds who are interested in exploring the YAV program. (Student loan repayment assistance is available. No stipend and no health insurance are provided.)

OPTION B —

Take part in a two-year YAV journey (2020–22) — Commit to participating in the virtual year (2020–21) and the in-person year (2021–22). This option allows YAVs to begin fundraising for their in-person YAV year early. (In addition, they also can apply for student loan repayment assistance for the 2020–21 virtual year, available in four installments.)

The YAV program is a Matthew 25 ministry and will address the three areas of focus passed by the 2016 General Assembly: building congregational vitalitydismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.

Diamond Dumas from Key West, Florida, has already committed to the virtual year.

“Participating in a YAV year is supposed to provide young adults with two primary things: an opportunity to directly address root causes of poverty, and a chance to explore the meaning of Christian faith and accountability,” she said. “The goal has not changed; the method has become different. I am engaging in the virtual YAV program with aims to still enact change in my community, combat poverty and grow in my faith during trying times. I know the information I gain and the skills I learn will make me a stronger activist when I am called to be a leader of progress.”

The application process for the 202021 “virtual” YAV year (ages 1830) is open now through Sept. 29. Apply to be a virtual YAV. For more details on the virtual YAV year, download the flyer.

The application process for the 202122 “in-person” YAV year (ages 1930) opens Oct. 1, 2020. To learn more about the program, go to presbyterianmission.org/ministries/yav.


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