On the first Sunday in December, Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is inviting all parishes to participate in YES Awareness Day. A ministry of The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS), YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in cities around the United States. An upcoming YES weekend, sponsored by St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, is scheduled for Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16, in Providence.
Notes Director Katrina Bitar, “We would be so grateful if you took the time to share our ministry with your community and helped to raise funds that will enable us to meet the needs of the people we serve.” A letter which can be read in parishes during the YES Sunday observance, reads in part:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach the Nativity of our Lord, I am blessed today to have the opportunity to share with you, the YES Program—Youth Equipped to Serve—of FOCUS North America. YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service, with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the church—to love and serve our most needy neighbors. In 2012, the YES Program will have 18 trips in cities all over the country and have over 400 students participate in these trips.
Trip Leaders and Students who experience a YES service-learning weekend come to see that they are valued, capable, and now equipped to serve with joy and love. Their core purpose in life is revealed to them and they are presented with a new perspective: to live focused on the needs of others. They are freed from their worries, their desires, and come to truly know Christ, who equates Himself with “the Least of our Brethren.” It is by stepping away from their daily life that they see what it means to really live as a Christian and choose, on their own, to value themselves and others. They become aware of their role in the lives of all the people they come in contact with, and are empowered to see each person as Christ and be Christ for each person they meet.
Visit the YES website for more information, or to sign up teens to participate in a YES weekend.