Young Neighbors in Action is more than just a week of doing service. It is a service-learning experience. Young Neighbors is about helping youth both deepen their commitment to the gospel challenge to love and serve and work for justice in the world today, right here, right now. We provide you with the tools and resources you need to make this experience go way beyond the week in the summer and to integrate it into all you do throughout the year.
How to make the most of a Young Neighbors in Action week—three easy steps!
Step 1: Prepare
Following registration for Young Neighbors in Action, the team leader receives a Team Preparation Manual that provides the resources needed to prepare the youth, families, school or parish for participation in the week. This manual includes fully-designed, easy-to-use educational, worship, and service programs, as well as fundraising ideas to help integrate the idea of justice and service into family and community life.
Step 2: Experience
An intense, week-long service experience provides your team with a mix of direct service, opportunities for learning and dialogue, crosscultural sharing, community building, prayer, and recreation. Young Neighbors in Action helps participants experience how poverty, hunger, and other social issues affect our communities and offers them the chance to love as Jesus loved, serve as Jesus served and in doing so, transform the world and be transformed!
Step 3: Integrate
Young Neighbors in Action keeps people growing in their commitment to service. As follow-up to the summer event, team leaders receive the assistance and resources needed to take their learning home: developing local plans for raising community awareness, encouraging service involvement, and helping team members integrate their new learning into their personal lives. These follow-up materials include practical justice education resources and creative community service ideas that keep Young Neighbors teams connected and committed throughout the year. In addition to all this, teams can stay connected on Facebook all year long. Just friend "Young Neighbors in Action."
Features of Young Neighbors
Service - Each Young Neighbors team focuses on a single, week-long work project. Some teams are involved heavily in direct service—working with soup kitchens, homeless shelters, recreation programs and abuse centers to help ease people's pressing needs. Others split the day between direct contact with the needy and painting and repair projects with the sponsoring agency. Still others spend their day with more physical projects, working with Habitat for Humanity or similar local groups.
Learning - Young Neighbors offers a solid, Catholic approach that balances service and education, doing for and learning about. Creative approaches to learning help young people gain insights into the unique treasures of Scripture and Catholic social teaching. Helping people survive their present needs is balanced in Young Neighbors with learning about how to change the things that keep people in need.
Prayer - Opportunities for reflection, prayer, and celebration of Eucharist offer participants the chance to put their week's learning into the larger context of how they are called to live as disciples throughout their lives. Prayer strengthens and supports our current involvement and moves us forward in our relationship with Jesus.
Social - Young Neighbors is also lots of fun! It offers the chance to step outside of our normal lives, experience new things, make new friends, and laugh and sing together. The schedule builds in time for community building and community recreation. Being with others who share your values and dreams makes for a great experience of Christian community.