When I tell people I am part of the YAV program I usually get a pretty blank stare. Here is just a little brief about what’s going down. YAV stands for Young Adult Volunteers and is a program through PCUSA where young adults, such as myself, are able to go volunteer at specific sites both national and international for a year. YAV helps to cover the cost of living such as room and board, student loan assistance, and a small monthly stipend to help us get by. During this year, I will be living in one of the designated YAV houses in Miami in an intentional community with a few other people in my same boat. We will each volunteer 32 hours a week with one organization and spend our extra day of work in community. That is the skeleton version of YAV, but to get the full guts, here is a link to the website.
The Miami YAV site is among a few of the other sites though that is partnered with another organization called DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection). Now if you know me well, or have been part of my life for the past few years this name might sound familiar to you. As a high schooler, our Wayland Mennonite MYF went on mission trips (or Discover trips in DOOR lingo) to Atlanta and Denver. Those short weeklong trips touched me in such a way that I knew I wanted to make DOOR a bigger part of my life. Between my freshman and sophomore years of college I spent the summer working in Denver for DOOR as Discern staff, leading the groups I had been part of just a year before. From there, I spent the next summer in the same type of position, but in Hollywood instead. While in Hollywood, I lived adjacent to the individuals doing a year of volunteer work through DOOR (Dwellers in DOOR lingo). These seven wonderful people were my inspiration to do my own year of volunteering. Because of my familiarity with DOOR and the existing connections that I have with the organization, I chose to apply to be a Dweller. Little did I know, YAV and Dwell meshed their applications into one this year and when I chose Miami for a site, I became both a Dweller and a YAV. For more info on DOOR and all the skinny of the Dwell program, here is the link.
So for all of you who have obvious question marks on your face when I talk about this stuff, hopefully this clears things up at least a little.