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2019-2020 Young Adult Volunteers (YAV's) arrived in Chinook at the end of August

 

October 16, 2019

Emily Osborn and Sophie Schreiber are serving as Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) for one year in Chinook. Emily is a native of La Porte, Indiana and recently graduated with a degree in anthropology from Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. Sophie lived in Dunwoody, Georgia until age 13, then her family moved to Sandy, Utah. She completed a degree in education from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. The new YAVs arrived in Chinook at the end of August. Their biggest surprise to date? "Snow in September!"

This is the seventh year that four local congregations in Chinook have hosted young adult volunteers. The Young Adult Volunteer program (YAV's) places volunteers at nine sites in the U.S. and six in foreign countries. Emily Osborn, from La Porte, Indiana, and Sophie Schreiber, from Sandy, Utah, arrived the end of August to begin their year of service in Chinook. They will work with various community and youth groups as well as church-related organizations.

The local Presbyterian, Methodist, Alliance and American Lutheran congregations coordinate the activities of the volunteers. The volunteers apply for the program through the national Presbyterian church and are placed based on their geographic preferences and skills, availability at the various sites and interviews with site coordinators. Rev. Jack Mattingly, from the Methodist Church, is the site coordinator for the Chinook volunteers.

Chinook is the only rural site that is available to volunteers. Sophie and Emily noted they are volunteering as "teachers' assistants at the elementary school and preschool and as tutors at the Junior/High School." They also teach at Sonshine Church School, help with LEAP (the after school program for younger students), do activities at the Sweet Nursing Home and visit with residents at the Villa during coffee hour. They also help at the food pantry and lead a weekly bible study at the nursing home.

About this year's Young Adult Volunteers

Like most YAVs Emily and Sophie are both college graduates and both expressed a desire to "serve others" while they explore future options for their own career and spiritual paths. Emily earned a BA in Anthropology from Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. She was involved in a gender-inclusive service fraternity at school. Sophie graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City where she prepared as a teacher. Sophie is considering a return to graduate school to pursue interests in creative writing for nonprofit work.

Both Emily and Sophie come from families where their fathers work in finance and their mothers worked in social services of various sorts and do volunteer work. Before and during college both YAVs worked in various part time positions that often related to their respective courses of study.

Each told that when they applied to the YAV program they were initially drawn to one of the international positions, particularly to Scotland. Emily had previously applied to the Peace Corps but found after interviewing to be placed she "didn't feel connected to the program." A friend encouraged here to reconsider the YAV program.

In similar fashion after completing her degree in education Sophie wrote her student placement for student teaching "proved not to be a great fit." In the YAV program they both were drawn to a placement in Chinook because it offered time in a small town. Sophie summed her hope for the year was to "give me time to process and to consider what will truly make my heart sing!"

Adapting to "The Last Best Place"

Both YAVs jokingly mentioned one thing they did not anticipate was "snow in September." Another mutual theme about their first few weeks in Chinook was "how kind and friendly everyone has been."

Asked about their preparation for their time in Chinook Emily noted that a lot of the training before they came to Chinook had to do with "living in an apartment with other YAVs, using public transportation and dealing with certain social issues that seem more prevalent in urban areas." Sophie wrote that Rev. Jack Mattingly and Rev. Maggie Lewis were helpful in preparing her and Emily for the day-to-day activities they would be doing in Chinook. Maggie Lewis, now the minister at the Chinook Presbyterian church, was the first YAV to serve in the local program. She was a YAV in Chinook during 2012-2013, then attended seminary and was subsequently ordained as a minister.

Looking ahead, both YAVs are still a bit anxious about the real onset of winter. But they are also hopeful and confident that their year of service in Chinook will help them discover their professional likes and dislikes and enable them to discover their future paths.

 
 

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