The Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer (BFJYAV) Program is a host site for the national Young Adult Volunteer program run by the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Young adults (ages 19-30) volunteer for a year of service, learning and community living that creates opportunities for them to deepen and develop their faith, reflect on their vocational journeys and learn practical ways to apply their faith to issues of injustice in the communities where they serve.
The Boston site focuses on the themes of food justice, simple living, and environmental sustainability in addition to volunteer service, intentional Christian community, vocational discernment and spiritual development. The BFJYAVs live, work, and learn together in one of the most historic cities in the Unites States, and are a ministry of the Presbytery of Boston. Each BFJYAV is matched with a Boston-area Presbyterian church and a partnering community organization (food pantry, day shelter, garden, farm etc.) where they serve around the common goal of food justice for all.
August 31 is an important date for the program. The Trustees have committed to a $15,000 match, doubling every dollar offered or pledged by that date, an amount the BFJYAV Program needs to meet for their budget to work. However, their goal is bigger than that - to include everyone in the Presbytery of Boston in their mission, uniting all of us in common cause, in mission and ministry:
- By August 31, 2019, to have 100% of Presbytery of Boston congregations pledge at least $1/month for September 2019 – August 2020.
Every single congregation is of sacred worth, regardless of its bottom line, and BFJYAV can’t be the ministry it is without us, all of us. That’s why the financial threshold of the goal is low - to bring everyone to the table! The challenge of this goal is to risk relationship - with the BFJYAV Program, with one another in a new way, and with the Young Adult Volunteers who call Boston home for one formative year of service.
You can email your pledge today and also give online.
Children's Change for Change
This goal of 100% participation extends to children in all congregations as well. The BFJYAV program is centered on two things - food & justice. These are part of every child’s daily life! (If you question ’justice,’ just think of how keen kids are for ’fairness.’). Site coordinator for the BFJYAV Program, Sarah Goodloe, has put together the "Children's Change for Change" initiative to bring food & justice to life for your children, in the light of God’s love.
The idea is that our children’s pocket change, being brought faithfully, will create a network of caring kids who are supporting the formation of young adult leaders, who in turn will create change in the church and our world.
“Children’s Change for Change” connects your kids with local mission in 3 easy steps:
1. Connect with Sarah to learn more about the Boston Food Justice YAV Program and collaborate on how to share this with your group of young people (e.g. poster Q&A, a Godly Play style story, etc.).
2. Challenge your children to bring pocket change one Sunday a month in support of the BFJYAV Program. So they can see how valuable their contribution is – their faithfulness in bringing change will enable your congregation to take its place among the churches of the Presbytery and meet its pledge of at least $1 per month from September ’19 – August ’20!
3. Collect their change, and send it to P.O. Box 760833, Melrose, MA 02176. Cash or check can be mailed, or if convenient, sent online here.
Click here for a flyer about the initiative that you can share in your congregation.
Besides the important August 31 deadline for meeting the Trustee's match, two other important dates are coming up soon. September 8 is Food Waste Weekend, and a chance for Sunday services to center around this theme as a symbol of welcome and support. September 15 is the BFJYAV Open House, a chance to meet the new YAVs and hopefully celebrate meeting the Trustees match.
All congregations are encouraged to join in solidarity on Sept. 8, 2019 for Food Waste Weekend as a symbol of welcome and support for the 2019-2020 Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteers. September 8 also coincides with the date four new BFJYAVs will be commissioned in their local churches. Browse the image to the left and visit http://foodwasteweekend.org/ for ideas and information about what you can do in church that weekend.
Your prayers and presence are also cordially requested at a celebration of the Presbytery of Boston on Sept. 15, 2019. This will be a celebration of the arrival of the 2019-2020 BFJYAVs and a chance to welcome them to our Presbytery! Guests will gather at First United Presbyterian Church in Cambridge and be treated to small group tours of the BFJYAV house in East Cambridge. Here are the new BFJYAVs and where they will be partnered this coming year:
Sierra Mink - Eliot Presbyterian Church & Living Waters Center of Hope
Rebekah Woodburn - Hartford Street Presbyterian Church & A Place To Turn
Cecilia Roseo - Fourth Presbyterian Church & Camp Wilmot
Mara Chamlee - Church of the Covenant, Boston Faith & Justice Network, & Better Future Project's CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather)
My name is Sierra Mink. I’m 22 years old from Novato, California. I graduated from Santa Clara University with a major in philosophy and minors in general engineering and classical studies. I look forward to applying the many eclectic lessons I’ve learned in college to my year of service. I am passionate about meeting people where they are, and finding our common humanity over a meal. I hope to grow in my relationships with others and create a welcoming community that lasts. I am excited to see what ways God’s good works will be done throughout this year.
My name is Rebekah Woodburn and I am 21 years old. I am originally from Dublin, Georgia, but have attended Eckerd College, in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the past four years where I have been involved with the varsity sailing team, Office of Admission, Biology Department, Chemistry Department, and Center for Spiritual Life. I will be graduating in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. I am passionate about learning how life works and how many components on a multitude of levels work together to create the beauty that comes with life. Along with this passion comes a desire to protect it through caring for the environment and people around me. I am excited to spend a year with the YAV program to focus on this, by working with food justice in Boston, and how that coincides with my faith.
My name is Cecilia Roseo and I am from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. I will be graduating from the University of Lynchburg with a degree in sociology, and minors in philosophy and human services. I have always had a love for service and an interest in social justice, and I am so excited to see where this program takes me. When I’m not in school, I love working at summer camp, hiking, traveling and being outside. After going to school in Virginia for four years, I’m really looking forward for my next adventure in Boston!
My name is Mara Chamlee and I am from upstate South Carolina. I attended Furman University in Greenville, SC and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology. I love learning about and experiencing the natural world and I feel a strong sense of responsibility to care for the Creation that we have graciously been blessed with. I am very interested in environmental justice and how challenges facing our environment affect different people locally and globally. I really enjoy hiking, triathlons, and a great book! I am so excited to be serving in Boston to work with food justice, grow in faith, and challenge myself daily!