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.
YAV Stories Published Online:
I hope you are well and enjoying the start of spring! I can’t believe it’s already been 8 months since I saw you! While brainstorming for this reflection, several topics came to mind, but I decided to focus on an aspect of my YAV year that had one of the biggest impacts on my life. My YAV year was a transformative experience for SO many reasons, but one of the biggest transformations it brought to my life was a stronger commitment to self-care and better prioritization of my time.
Pre-YAV year, I had a lot on my plate. Between the time I graduated in May and headed to orientation in August, I left my role as tennis coach, my job, a position leading the presbytery’s young adult group, resigned as active elder and chair of a committee at my church, and said goodbye to a variety of other commitments. Leaving for Kenya forced me to simplify my life, which was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
Toward the start of my year, it felt strange to not have a meeting every night or somewhere I was required to be every Saturday. But I quickly learned to appreciate that time. I had more space to reflect on the experiences I was having and the lessons I was learning. I began to enjoy the quiet, my new found time to sit and read; the ability to truly make time for friends; and time to explore and appreciate my new home.
That lesson of simplification is something I have carried with me since my YAV year. Since returning from Kenya, I am more intentional about the way I use my time. I don’t agree to something simply because I can fit it into my schedule. If I technically have the time, but am lacking the energy or desire, I recognize I won’t do the task justice. However, if I am taking care of myself, making time for people, activities, and hobbies that are fulfilling to me, I in turn have the energy to work hard and fully commit to the projects and issues about which I am most passionate…and hopefully can make a more positive impact on the world around me.
Following a YAV year, it is easy to step right back into the busy-ness, as is the status quo in the United States. But I hope that you will carry with you that sense of simple living, not just in terms of things (though that is important as well), but in terms of how you allocate your time. Maybe you were already an expert at this before you became a YAV, but if you’re like me, it takes ongoing intentionality. Take care of yourself. Do what you enjoy. Find your passions and commit to them rather than committing to anything and everything you can fit on your plate.
-Nicole Stansifer, Kenya ’09-‘10
I first went to the Philippines as a Young Adult Volunteer 17 years ago. That’s quite a while – and a lot has changed. That’s pre-Facebook and Twitter... It was pre cell phones for most of us... It was pre-Skype, so no one at home knew how shaggy my hair had gotten… It wasn’t quite pre-email, but was of the era that email was still an exciting, special thing… And in global terms, it was also before our current day status quo. It was pre-9/11. It was pre- Millennium Development Goals – the first ones. It was pre-Arab ...
I’ve just returned from the NEXT Church conference feeling rejuvenated, challenged, and intimately reminded of my YAV year! The theme for the conference was “Crossroads”. One of the most encouraging times during NEXT was catching up with other YAVA. As we swapped stories, we started to realize how profoundly our YAV year(s) formed us. We gathered thankful for our community linked by YAV.
Each of us entered YAV at a crossroad in our lives. I imagine before you were a few paths; some neatly paved and others a little more unconventional. We chose a path that wasn’t ...
Netflix is a great invention for nights when you can’t sleep or to use when you have some down time. For me it became a part of my daily routine. My minister, Jonny, joked that I should write a blog post about how many different series I watched over the course of my year...
To apply, go to www.youngadultvolunteers.org