The Beginning

Hey y’all!

Welcome to my blog! Here is where I will be sharing updates and stories for my upcoming year serving as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) through the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA)]. Beginning this August, I am excited to begin serving in Chicago, Illinois! This program emerges out of DOOR’s (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) partnerships with Mennonite Mission Network and the aforementioned YAV program. In this post, I hope to answer some questions you may have about my time in Chicago.

Why this program?
From a young age, I always felt called to service. When I was younger, I remember eagerly counting down the time until I was old enough to go on our annual youth mission trips. Deciding to spend a year in service once I was old enough was probably the first major life choice I made, even before choosing where to go to college or what to study, and it’s always been something I wanted to include in my future. I plan to go on into a career in social work, and I believe a year with a service program will help prepare me well for that. Participants in the YAV program are challenged by the practices of intentional community living, simple lifestyle, and devotion to prayer and service. Each site’s unique form of service provides an opportunity for learning about the mission of today’s church in the world.

Where are you living in Chicago?
I will be living in East Garfield Park with my fellow Chicago YAVs. We will be living in the Faith House, owned by First Church of the Brethren.

What will you be doing while there?
I will be working as an engagement specialist with a nonprofit called New Moms. New Moms offers help to adolescent mothers and their children experiencing poverty and homelessness, through personal and workforce development tools to help achieve economic independence and family stability. As an engagement specialist, some of my responsibilities will include volunteer orientation and scheduling and staffing the welcome center.

How can I help support you?
Along with your prayers and following my (mis)adventures here on my blog, one of the ways you can help support me is by helping me with my fundraising efforts. It costs PC(USA) an average of $15,000-$22,000 to send a YAV for a year of service. Of that total cost, the PC(USA) covers more than three quarters. Each YAV is expected to raise a small portion of this cost; national YAVs such as myself are required to raise at least $3,000 by January 1st, 2017. I have already begun that process, and will be continuing throughout upcoming months. To accomplish this goal though, I rely on my community of family and friends to help support me and invest in my future, as you all have throughout my life already.

All contributions are tax-deductible; below are various ways you can financially support me.

  • Checks
    • Make checks payable to “DOOR”
    • In the memo line, indicate “Chicago – Emily Mikhail”
    • Send checks to
      • DOOR National Office
        430 West 9th Avenue
        Denver CO 80204
      • Or I can put them in the mail for you!
  • Credit card
    • By phone: Call the DOOR National Office at 303-295-3667
    • By mail: Complete the credit card form (ask Emily) and mail to the address above
    • Online: Visit and click on the Donate button. On this page, select “Donate” and in the description, indicate “Chicago – Emily Mikhail”, as above
  • Monthly gifts
    • DOOR can set up monthly gifts to be charged to a supporter’s credit or debit card
    • By mail: Complete the same credit card form as above
    • Online: Visit and click on the Donate button. On this page, select “Recurring Donation” and in the description, indicate “Chicago – Emily Mikhail”, as above.

What comes next?
After my year of service concludes, I will be applying for grad school to pursue my master’s in social work, and hopefully getting a job in the social work field after that!

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post! If you have any questions I didn’t address here, feel free to reach out to me and ask! I promise to keep this space updated throughout my year in Chicago so you can follow along on my next big adventure!


5 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. Teresa L. says:

    Blessings on the beginning of a beautiful journey! I look forward to following your year and reading your blog throughout the year!
    Teresa Larson, 2014-15 Chicago YAV


  2. Madeleine says:

    So proud of you! I have seen firsthand your selfless dedication to service and cannot wait to see what this year has in store for you. Go Emily!


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