Dear friends of the Tucson Borderlands YAV program,
Summer is always a bittersweet time for the Young Adult Volunteer Program — we’re accustomed to how this season brings hot weather, increased urgency of discernment and decision-making for the outgoing volunteers, and time of community goodbyes as the current cohort leaves at the end of July. We’re normally preparing at the same time for a new group of volunteers to arrive at the end of August, planning partnerships, education, and new opportunities for everyone involved.
This year, probably to no one’s surprise, summer is different! The 2019-2020 YAVs are transitioning out of their year as planned, but the arrival of the next group of volunteers has been delayed until January 2021.
TBYAV is a ministry partner of the Presbytery de Cristo, part of a network of national and international Presbyterian Church (USA) YAV programs. We are thankful to be located within an ecosystem of relationships that include the denominational leadership of the PC(USA), the Synod of the Southwest, Presbytery de Cristo and Grand Canyon Presbytery, local Presbyterian churches, and individual supporters across the country! As part of this ecosystem, we are impacted by decisions made at other levels of the Presbyterian church.
Responding to the pandemic, our denomination’s Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson decided to halt all travel of PC(USA) staff and volunteers through December 31, 2020. Implementing this decision, PC(USA) YAV staff modified the 2020-2021 YAV year: volunteers in the incoming group will participate in a virtual orientation in December, 2020, and will travel to their service sites in January 2021.
We mourn the loss of these first four months with the 2020-2021 YAV cohort — but even more, we are mourning the lack of leadership in our country and state that have allowed the coronavirus to flourish and continue to control our lives to this degree. Still, we are grateful for the ways that the national church is prioritizing volunteer safety. We are so excited to welcome our new group of YAVs in January!
The TBYAV program will be communicating over the coming months about how you can stay connected with the program even in quarantine. We’re spending this time doing important internal work and making sure that we’re prepared to continue to host volunteers well into the future. If you have any questions, or would like to hear more, feel free to contact me at the email address below.
Please join us in prayer for all who are experiencing unexpected life changes, with a special prayer for all the Young Adult Volunteers in this time of transition. For all the YAVs, and all of you, we pray for joy, rest, and connection with others; for your safety and well-being; and for the love of God to be present with all of us as we move forward in these uncertain times.
With gratitude for your support,
TBYAV Site Coordinator