By Fr. Michael Anderson
Additional Resources: .pdf Application Form
In virtually every high school, public and private, students are required to complete a “service” project in order to graduate. Generally, these projects require 25 hours of community service, such as working in a soup kitchen, PADS shelter, nursing home, food pantry. In the case of public schools, and some private schools, such service is devoid of any connection with the Christian faith but is seen, rather, as an opportunity for “humanitarian service” or “volunteerism.”
In order to emphasize to our Orthodox youth the connection between such stewardship of time and their faith, and to underscore that as Christians, we do such things in imitation of Our Lord (rather than to fulfill school requirements or to gain a “good feeling” by helping someone else), the Orthodox Church in America’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries has initiated a “Junior Stewards” Award Program for young people in our parishes who fulfill 25 hours of “Orthodox Christian Service” to the community, to those in need.
Who qualifies for this program?
All youth and young adults of the Orthodox Church in America parishes between the ages of 12 and 21 may participate.
What are the requirements?
- An application must be completed and sent to the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791. The project selected must be undertaken and completed outside the parish and involve interaction with people in need. (Ministries such as serving in the altar, singing in the choir, teaching Church School will not be considered for an award.)
- Accompanying the application should be a letter of recommendation from the participant’s pastor indicating his support for and involvement in the project as an advisor. Should the pastor wish, he may delegate another person as advisor.
- The application must also be signed by the on-site director of the program or project in which the applicant intends to participate. Appropriate authorization will be sent to the applicant, his or her pastor, and the on-site program director.
- Accompanying the letter of authorization will be a completion form to be completed by the on-site project director after fulfilling 25 hours of service. This form, which must also be signed by the pastor and the participant, must be returned to the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, together with a narrative essay describing the project, the participant’s involvement, and his or her reflections on the project. A photo of the participant engaged in his or her project should accompany the narrative essay.
- The award will be sent to the participant’s pastor, who will present it in an appropriate manner.
Where can I obtain applications and additional information?
Write the OCA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791; 516/922-0550 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. An application form follows.
Fr. Michael Anderson is the Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.