How can my church become a site?
Because BFJYAV is uniquely committed to developing and strengthening partnerships between churches and organizations working in their community, site application is contingent upon partnership with a local organization. Your congregation will need to fill out a joint application together with a partnering organization which details your relationship and how you intend to support and mutually benefit from hosting a YAV for the year. Additionally, a focus on some aspect of food justice should be central to the scope of work for the YAV during their year of service. Applications are reviewed for approval by the Board of Directors on a rolling basis.
1. How many hours a week will the YAV spend working with my church/organization?
The BFJYAV Program is designed to be collaborative, and because of this there is a certain degree of flexibility. While each volunteer should function at close to a 50/50 split in their time spent, because of the interwoven nature of the experience, there may be some hours that overlap and can be counted as both church and organization service hours. Because of the commitment to spiritual development as an integral part of the program, it is expected that a typical YAV workweek would be between 32-35 hours.
2. What about the rest of the time? Why only 32-35 hours/week?
An integral part of the Boston YAV program is a focus on food justice learning, spiritual development and vocational discernment. One day will be set aside each week for directed study and introspection within the community of YAV volunteers with the aim to meet these goals. The ability to reflect upon and process the experience of being a YAV is essential to making the YAV year a success both for the YAV and the host site partnership.
3. What will the YAV do while they are working with me?
The overall purposes of the YAV’s time are as follows:
- Learn how issues of food justice are being addressed by the organization and church that they work for.
- Facilitate and nurture connections and long-term service commitments between members of their church and the organization with whom they work.
- Reflect upon their faith and how it informs their response to the issues they face in their work.
- Live in intentional community focused on simplicity in lifestyle and time commitments with space to reflect on lessons learned as they occur.
Day to day tasks should meet these larger goals in some way. Otherwise, the specifics of events or tasks to be completed by the YAV will be according to the needs of both the organization and the church and their own arrangements, which can be subject to renegotiation at any time.
4. Who will supervise the YAV?
Each side of the site pair should have a point person designated to manage the YAV in their work responsibilities. This means that both the congregation as well as the local food justice organization should have an individual in a supervisory role for the YAV. This need not be a large time commitment for the point person- good pre-planning in the job description development stage will help to mitigate this from the outset of the YAV’s term of service.
5. How does a YAV get accepted for my site?
The BFJYAV Site Coordinator is responsible for recruiting and short listing YAV volunteers. Because the Site Coordinator has a high familiarity with the needs of each host site, YAVs will be placed based upon their unique gifts and interests with the host site that will be best served by them throughout the year. Recruitment begins at the national level in the fall prior to the service year and gains momentum beginning in January of the year of service. Final decisions are made in the late spring for volunteers beginning service in August. Accepted volunteers will then be matched by the BFJYAV Site Coordinator, with collaboration of the Advisory Board, to the local host pair their gifts and interests are most suited to for the year.
6. How much is it going to cost my church/organization to host a YAV for the year?
The expected collaborative contribution from each site pairing is a placement fee of $9000 for the 11 month duration of the YAV’s commitment. With the understanding that both churches and organizations come into partnership with each other in a wide range of financial situations, it will be left to the discretion of each site pair to come to an agreement about how much each partner should contribute toward paying this placement fee to the YAV program. YAV’s also raise a significant portion of their funding themselves. The current bottom line established for this budget allows each YAV to receive medical insurance and funds for the training and support services essential to making this a positive experience. It is important to remember that though at YAV is termed as a volunteer they essentially function as a part time regular staff person for the year, bringing all the benefits of consistent, focused involvement in a workplace. Site pairs are encouraged to be creative in their approach to funding the YAV by considering which part of their current financial scheme could be adjusted to make room for this position.