Young adults are serving their community in unique ways this year. Yeimy and Adelaida are among the 30 participants this year in the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Summer Service program, giving back and enriching their faith through the 10-week program.
“Investing in young people is investing in our present and our future,” said West Coast MCC Executive Director, Dina González-Piña. “MCC has a long history of valuing the voices and investing in the development of young adult leaders. Yeimy and Adelaida are just two examples of what Summer Service can do for our young people.”
Adelaida, 27, Summer Service Participant
Adelaida is leading a youth Bible study, assisting with an upcoming MCC Peace Camp, and using her podcasting skills to shed light on the Indigenous experience as a young adult living in the United States.
“The Summer Service Program allows me to continue doing what I like to do the most as it gives me a space to be creative and time to do it,” Adelaida said. For her, these efforts to share narratives from her Oaxacan community align with her faith.
“I walk with the framework that I want to learn from others, and everyone has a story to tell, just like myself,” Adelaida said. “I believe we are all made in the image of God and are all worthy to speak up and tell our stories.”
Learning about others and their stories is what Adelaida calls “the way I do life.” She spends her Saturdays being part of church service with the local homeless community and, through this space, has developed meaningful relationships with folks.
As a college student majoring in Sociology, she’s excited the program has helped her engage with her community while building a growing network of mentors and leaders.
Yeimy, 19, Summer Service Participant
Yeimy uses her skills to volunteer with Central Community Food Bank, leading virtual Bible studies, and helping her church with clerical needs.
“Summer Service is a great program that offers young adults opportunities to help others,” Yeimy said. “The program has helped me build a better connection with my community and grow as a person.”
For Yeimy, she has grown in her faith and serves alongside her Dad, who is a pastor at her church.
“It was important for me to give back to my church and those who need help from our local food distributions,” Yeimy said. “I think it feels good to give back to others who need it. Life gives you twists and turns, and you never know when it could be you that needs the extra help.”
MCC photo/Gabrielle Rivas
Yeimy also mentioned this experience pushed her to improve in her communication and organizational skills, both helpful as she transitions to becoming a college student in the fall.
“One of the goals of the Summer Service Program is to create opportunities for young adults of color to further develop leadership skills by serving their home community,” said Thomas Adlard, Young Adult Coordinator. “This is a great goal, but what I appreciate more is the program’s explicit affirmation that our community and churches need young leaders and young leaders of color in particular.”
During the summer, young adults serve in a variety of ways. This could include working at a summer peace camp or an urban garden, serving as a pastoral intern, or a refugee and immigration educator—whatever fits with the vision of the local church, community, or organization.
“I know it sounds cliché, but young adults are the future, so we need to create space for them and their voices within the communities and institutions that are influencing the development of society,” Adlard said. “Over the past six years in which I have directed the program for West Coast MCC, I have been inspired by the passion and commitment our participants have for the Kingdom of God, and I can confidently say that the future is bright.”
Yeimy and Adelaida are just two individuals whose lives have been touched by Summer Service. If you or someone you know is interested in the program click here.