Many on our staff team are parents and all of us have parents ourselves, so we know you have questions – as well you should. Mission Year is a big step, not only for your loved one, but also for your entire family. On this page, we’ve compiled some of our most common questions for your convenience. Can’t find yours listed? Simply contact us and we’ll get back to you!
Am I able to visit or will my child come home for breaks?
Yes! One of the benefits of serving in the US is that travel can be a little easier. We have two “Come and See” weekends during the year where we encourage Team Members to invite their family and friends to visit and experience the fullness of their year in the city. You will have hands-on opportunities to engage in many of the regular weekly rhythms held by Team Members throughout their Mission Year, including rich interactions with neighbors, the adventures of communal grocery shopping, shared laughter and conversation during a hospitality meal, worshipping with a diverse church family, and so many other meaningful connections. Team Members are given two weeks off during Christmas holiday and ten days for Spring Break, which matches the public school spring break calendar in their Mission Year city.
What support will be available for my child?
Each Mission Year house has a Team Leader, usually an alum who has demonstrated strong leadership potential, personal commitment, and spiritual maturity throughout their participation in their own Mission Year. The Team Leader is an active participant in the community, providing daily guidance and encouragement for the team while continuing to live into the Mission Year values and commitments. Teams practice daily rhythms of both individual and communal spiritual formation. Shared meals, family night, and Sabbath time all provide intentional opportunities for personal well-being and community investment.
Every city has a City Director, a seasoned Mission Year staff member, who provides leadership to the whole city, conducts biweekly worship gatherings and trainings. The City Director also meets regularly with each Team Member to provide one-on-one mentoring, prayer, and support. The City Director will be your main contact during the year as they are directly overseeing the program in each city.
We also walk each Team Member through a year-long reading and discussion-based curriculum that provides a strong framework of critical thinking and engagement as they learn about community, racial reconciliation, spiritual growth, urban issues, and more.
Each City Director has local connections to mental health professionals if team members want or need to start or continue counseling during their Mission Year.
My child is considering taking a year off of college – is this a good idea?
Each year we have many Team Members who step out of school for the year to participate in the transformational experience of Mission Year. This opportunity to join the work of God in our cities and urban neighborhoods provides them with invaluable life skills, including vocational discernment, leadership development, budgeting, community engagement, critical thinking, service learning, concern for those most often overlooked in our society, and more. Many return to school right after Mission Year, often with renewed passion and direction to continue pursuing their degrees. We do work with them throughout their Mission Year to provide time for applications or necessary interviews so that they can adequately prepare to return to school. Also, many choose to take advantage of our undergraduate credit through Eastern University.
What do people usually do after Mission Year ends?
Because everyone joins Mission Year from different paths, they leave to continue on unique journeys as well. However, there are some patterns. Since many Team Members come right after college, they may pursue graduate school. Team Members may decide to take advantage of the Eastern University graduate credit offered for Mission Year, as well as the continued discount they can receive for the remaining semesters required to finish their masters at Eastern.
High school graduate Team Members or those that took a year off often return to school as well, and some take advantage of Eastern’s undergraduate credit offering. Team Members with leadership skills may choose to serve as an Alum Leader the following year, living in the house and leading the team as they were led by a previous alum. They receive leadership development and job skills in this position, working closely with the City Director, continuing to engage in building healthy relationships in their community and serving with a local organization.
Many Team Members pursue traditional employment after the program ends. Some service sites are able to hire the job searchers when their year ends. Many obtain jobs in their field of choice, but their outlook and engagement with those most often found on the margins of our society is revolutionized by their experience. Mission Year is proud of our alum in fields like education, law, medicine, social work, ministry, business, and many others.
What denomination is Mission Year?
We are an inter-denominational Christian ministry. To read more about our philosophy of ministry and beliefs, check out What We Believe.
How do you choose the neighborhoods? Will my child be safe?
Mission Year enters communities where we have been invited. This strategy means that we have church and organizational partners who have welcomed us into their neighborhood and the work already happening there. We find that joining with these partners also means that our Team Members enter neighborhoods already connected to good things going on there, which contributes to their relationships and safety. Knowing neighbors is one of the most powerful ways to be safe in any place, and our Team Members spend a great deal of intentional time forming friendships with those living around them. Mission Year takes Team Member safety very seriously, and we include conversation and training on this topic during our two weeks of orientation upon arrival and continue to check in and maintain structures that keep everyone’s well-being as a priority throughout the year.
How do the volunteers support themselves?
Mission Year covers all the living expenses during the year including housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and monthly living stipend so team members can fully focus on loving God and loving people. In exchange, we ask everyone in Mission Year to participate in collective support raising to help offset these costs. We give everyone an individual and team goal to work toward and tons of support and guidance along the way. Bottom line, we do not want money keeping anyone from this experience. Our staff provides resources and encouragement for this process, which may be a first for many young adults. We work together as a team, city, and nation to raise enough funds to meet all needs. Team Members do not have additional financial responsibilities during the year and typically qualify for loan deferments when applicable. (Transportation to and from the city site is not covered.)
What about health insurance?
We offer a basic health insurance plan that Team Members may choose for the year. They also have the option to choose to remain on their former plan if they so desire.
Can I talk to a parent of a former team member?
YES! Please contact our admissions department to get connected with a former team member’s parent who can talk with you about their own experience.
Still have a question?
Check the prospective Team Member FAQs or contact us!