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A Year of Service

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About this blog

 What does it mean to be a YAV?

Young Adult Volunteers commit to serving a minimum of one year in the U.S. or Internationally at one of our sites. YAVs have the opportunity to volunteer alongside local partners, engaging in work and conversation around issues that address poverty, reconciliation, and what it means to share the hope of Christ through service. This blog is a chance to stay updated on what is happening in the life of the YAV program, whether that is with our current volunteers, our abundance of alum, the YAV office, or our YAV partners. The conversations and tough issues that we spend countless hours talking about as YAV’s don’t end when the year does; welcome to the conversation! If you have more questions, feel free to email.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a YAV, click below:



YAV Blogs

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YAV Stories Published Online:

     Becca Messman (Guatemala): Outlook

     Colleen Earp (NOLA): Unbound

     Lives Set on New ‘Routes’: Unbound

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November 25, 2014

My Peruvian Thanksgiving

 By Jason Woods, YAVA-Peru 2006/2007

 15Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. -2 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NRSV)

 Thanksgiving might just be my favorite holiday, and to this day, the only Thanksgiving I didn’t spend with my family was during my YAV year in Peru. Obviously, it was difficult not celebrating like I usually would— cooking, eating, watching football and, most importantly, spending time with my family—and that’s the first thing I focused on as Thanksgiving neared. It felt a little bit empty.

I think the reason I love Thanksgiving so much is that it helps me refocus on what’s important in my life—and, as it turns out, that did happen in Peru, too. Although no one knew too much about the holiday, some of my friends and co-workers knew it happened in November and wished me a feliz accion de gracias, which led to several great conversations/bonding moments about how Thanksgiving came about and what it meant to my family and me. When the day itself came around, I ended up spending it in the house of my site coordinators, their children and the other Peru YAVs. It still wasn’t what I was used to, but it’s still a really special memory for me. My Peruvian Thanksgiving helped me remember that I had plenty to be thankful for that year, especially the community that had already begun supporting me.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone! Don’t forget to take a second and cherish the people and moments that have meant a lot to you, especially during the last few months.

November 20, 2014

NEW National YAV Site

On Thanksgiving Day,

We will announce our newest National YAV site for the 2015/2016 YAV year.

Check back here on Nov 27 to find out where else you can serve.

Read more →

November 13, 2014

Contest: #YAVin7Words

When people ask you about your YAV year, you probably have different responses depending on who is asking, how much they actually care, and how much time you have. You probably have responses that range from 1 minute to 1 hour. But can you describe your YAV year in only seven words?



“Arrived, cried, laughed, cried, prayed, cried, left.”

“Kenya: beautiful, poor, Christian, alive, strong, weak”

“Midnight tea time with Mama Juana. Priceless.”

“Argue, wash dishes, love, laugh, keep trying.”

“We loved each other and grew together.”


Your answers can be theological or hysterical. They can be descriptive or ...

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November 11, 2014

YAVA Reflections

 a conversation with:

Ashley Bair; Alison Wood; Jacquelyn Wonsey; Tyler Orem


Where/when did you serve?

Guatemala 11-12; Tucson 10-11; Kerala 09-10; New Orleans 11-12;

Who are you? (I am not interested in a name or a profession)

Known to put smiles on faces;

a ferocious defender of community;

a facilitator;

an independent, take-no-shit, love-you-anyway feminist;

A farm boy turned city man, a brother, a lover;

I am the fire-starter;

Who do you love? / Who loves you? (again, not interested in names)

I love people who love people... those who feel their life is meant to meet the needs of ...

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October 30, 2014

"God is in Korea"

By Kurt Esslinger

"It is the Holy One who goes before you. God will be with you; and will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." -Deuteronomy 31:8

Photo by Quantisha Mason , YAVA-Korea 13-14

 An entire year of YAVs in Korea with us has passed and a new set of young adults has already hit the ground full speed in struggling to adapt to a new culture. 

We thoroughly enjoyed walking alongside Molly, Bennett, Tisha, and Eric this past year. We had the pleasure of seeing them grow and change as they encountered struggles ...

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