Where Do I Start?
We are so happy you are interested in Young Neighbors in Action. This information section will help you get an idea of how you can create excitement around your plans for a summer service learning week with teens.
We are here to help you every step of the way. We want this experience to be the best it can be for you and the young people you serve. So let's get started!
Available Young Neighbors in Action Staff
Once you have the okay and interested teens...
- Check for available sites for YNIA at www.youngneighbors.org.
- Register with Mary-Ellen Pfeiffer / . Choose a safe "best guess" number of spots for youth and adults and pay the $50 per participant, non-refundable down payment. This deposit holds your spots.
- Once you receive a Team Preparation Manual.... get going! Read it, make plans, meet with teens and adults regularly, and keep the excitement going through the bulletin, web, Facebook, and gatherings.
- Use your fundraising dates and events to have informal meetings and let youth, parents, and the community know what is happening.
- Email Mary-Ellen at with any questions or concerns you might have. We are here to make this an incredible experience for your teens, families, and whole parish community!
Suggested Promotional Schedule
- Set meetings with all the right people: your pastor, youth ministry or faith formation committee, parish pastoral council, youth, and parents. See meeting talk points below.
- Fill out the simple budget plan just for estimates at this point (real costs will be determined once you have all the youth signed up and have determined adult chaperone needs).
- Read through the registration packet to be able to answer questions at your meetings.
- Youth who have signed up should be invited to fundraise, learn, do service, and share the message with the parish. (Ideas and plans for all of these are in the Team Preparation Manual!)
- Continue to fundraise; communicate with parents and the parish or school community about the trip—what you need to raise financially, invitations to pray for the YNIA team, etc.
- Continue to have regular meetings with youth and parents and give them all necessary paperwork—health consent forms, code of behavior forms, packing list, schedule, and itinerary for the trip. Be sure to give deadlines for returning paperwork.
- Enjoy an awesome week at Young Neighbors in Action!
Consider These Talking Points for Meetings
- YNIA is a week-long, Catholic service learning experience for youth between 14-18 years of age who have completed 8th grade prior to taking part in the summer program.
- Teens need an opportunity to use their gifts, talents, and answer the call to live the Good News. They have the potential to make a difference in the world. Who better than our parish/school to lead the way?
- People ask, "Why should we travel to serve the poor when we have needs in our own community?" In our own communities, we often don't recognize needs or social issues. Problems of hunger, homelessness, and poverty are something we leave for adults or churches and other organizations to take care of. When we go into new communities and meet the homeless, the poor, and the marginalized face-to-face and get to know their stories, and see them as brothers and sisters...we are able to recognize those needs in our own communities when we come home. Eyes are opened!
- A trip like this forms community and builds friendships. It also challenges us to live in solidarity with those we serve. We step out of places of comfort to places where Jesus served...with the marginalized and the poor.
Describe What Is Unique to YNIA
- When you bring a team of young people to Young Neighbors, you work alongside them at the worksites each day. Your youth are never in the care of adults from other cities or parishes. We comply with and respect safe environment expectations from your diocese.
- Staying with your own youth at the worksites is important. You know your young people and can challenge them, listen to them, encourage them, and see the transformation process happen. These young people are part of your community back home and an integral part of your parish family.
- YNIA encourages solidarity. We discourage the use of cell phones, etc., and we strive for simple living. We try to tread lightly with our carbon footprint while keeping in mind how those we serve live each day.
- Emphasis on Catholic social teaching, Scripture, and service learning is a hallmark of YNIA. It is good to do acts of charity and mercy, but they must be connected to our roots in Scripture, our faith in Catholic social teaching, and our lives through experience. Connecting service to the sacraments and faith symbols makes faith come alive and be more relevant!
- Celebration of Liturgy happens twice during each week of Young Neighbors. The community gathers for the celebration of Mass on Wednesday to be renewed by the Word and Eucharist, and on Saturday when we celebrate thanksgiving for all God has done. Care is taken to connect the liturgy to real life and to see it as our source and summit of faith. We are reminded that the challenge to go in peace to love and serve one another is an everyday challenge. Adoration and prayer services are integrated into the YNIA week as well.
Template for Bulletin / Website / Social Media
High School Youth...are you interested in making a difference and changing the world? Stop by an informational meeting about our summer service trip! Get all the details to make your summer a summer to remember!
Young Neighbors in Action Meeting
Parents and High School Teens...
You are invited to an informational and exceptionally persuasive meeting to find out all you need to know about our summer service trip with Young Neighbors in Action! Don't miss the chance to make a difference in the world and make your summer vacation one you will never forget!
Who should come:
Template Text to Your Teens....
MEETING. Summer service trip. U. Friends. Food.
(Add time, place, and date)