11 November 2012

A Lifetime of Change

I will interrupt this week's planned rehash of Belfast-ness for a moment to talk about the Young Adult Volunteer program. It's coming up on application season for 2013-14, which means it's been a year since I walked into the YAV office to let E. know my decision to apply for "a year of service for a lifetime of change".

What a whirlwind these past 365 days have been!

The decision to take a completely different path in my status quo was difficult for me, but definitely the best choice I've ever made. The PC(USA) has recently renewed its dedication to Young Adults by challenging the YAV program to triple its size and scope in the next five years. This means it's easier than ever to join this wacky YAV family, and to find a program that suits your passions. To do this, they have made a few changes to the program that I'm really excited to share:
  • Additional site placements in Boston, Peru, Philippines and South Korea. Work in each site generally focuses on the major issues in that city or country - like Northern Ireland's dedication to peacemaking and reconciliation, Boston's food justice program, root causes of poverty in Peru, education in South Korea, border policies in Tucson, urban ministry in Miami, Chicago, Hollywood and others.... a complete list of sites and their work can be found here
  • Lower funding requirements! This year I was blessed to have amazing support from family, friends and members of my congregation to raise the $8000 required for International service. Next year, funding requirements will be cut in HALF - meaning $4000 for an International site and just $3000 for a National site placement.
Becoming a part of this YAV family (which, if you'll notice, is the only way I refer to this group) has been incredible. When I walked into the placement event back in March, I felt for the first time that I had found "my people" - goofy and fun with a heart for the Lord.

This program has been in place for almost 20 years, which means they KNOW what they're doing. Discernment and placement events ensure that the best fit is attained for both the candidate and site, and I was completely prepared at orientation for the upcoming challenges of mission service. 

International Placement Event at LPTS - March 2012
Orientation at Stony Point - August 2012
Things you should know if you're considering the program:
  • Young Adult Volunteers are between the ages of 19-30. Sometimes you need to be 21 for specific / international sites, but they even accept second-career old fogeys like me.
  • The Louisville office is there to help you make the best decision for you, and to ensure you're in the right place. I had the benefit of proximity, but they were SO helpful when I started the discernment process.
  • You don't actually have to be a Presbyterian. You will be doing the work of the church, but the PC(USA) partners with other denominations to do their work around the world. Members of this year's YAV group alone come from the PC(USA), Methodist, Mennonite and Catholic churches. 
  • I'm sure it's obvious, but: I am always happy to answer questions about my journey. Feel free to email me any time!
Courtesy Jeff Moles (@jeffmoles)

No comments:

Post a Comment