Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs): a year of service for a lifetime of change

The YAV program is open to people from ages 18-30 who are ready to commit to intentional living (simple living), social justice, spiritual formation and vocational discernment. The Tucson Borderlands YAV program has been in operation since 2003, and about 60 young people have participated by serving alongside local partners such as Primavera, Community Food Bank, and House of Neighborly Service. They can even partner with Frontero de Cristo and live their year in Mexico. Presbyterian Church (USA), supporting congregations and presbyteries along with some placement agencies share the funding of the program. It costs $22,000 per student, and each participant is asked to raise $4000 for that goal.

Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church in Catalina has supported this program for several years. Participants explore God’s calling while living as part of a Christian community in sites around the world as well as here in the US. MSPC has invited the YAVs to attend services and speak about their opportunities. A welcome basket was gifted to the most recent foursome including items typically appreciated in simple living.

Each YAV receives a regular stipend, housing, transportation assistance, and student loan repayment during the year of service. In the YAV house in Tucson there is a long dining table that originally served as a communion table at Ghost Ranch ( a retreat and education center owned in New Mexico, run by the Presbyterian Church). It was repurposed in 2012 and donated to the YAVs as a place to share meals.

An average week in the life of a YAV includes 32-36 hours a week working with the assigned local partner. Other 4-8 hour days are meant for focusing on community life. MSPC looks forward to another year of work with these dedicated people and learning of their experiences.