YES Intern Projects

Through an intensive, collaborative experience, the YES Internship Experience empowers its participants to identify their values, strengthen their voice, and explore their vocation. Following a comprehensive inventory of their strengths and passions, interns learn how to transform their skills into action. Over 3 months, interns work to bring the YES mission to their communities through an individualized project designed to meet a local need. The interns conclude their experience with an opportunity for self-reflection and looking ahead to being servants of Christ in all aspects of their lives.

Interested in the Internship Experience?

Anastasia Papadeas

Los Angeles, CA

“The focus of my project was to foster stewardship for creation. I compiled resources to support the “Greening the Parish” initiative by distributing a sustainable purchasing guide to ministry leaders and developing an environmental education curriculum for Sunday schools. The lesson plan I developed serves to bridge the connection between Orthodoxy and Ecology and empower students to fulfill their vocation as stewards of God’s creation in all aspects of their lives.”

“As a Geography/Environmental Studies student, I hope to dedicate my life to inspiring an appreciation for and a connection to the natural world. I was given the space and support through the internship to bring the vision of my project to fruition. I identified my values and utilized my strengths to inspire change in my community.”

To check out Anastasia’s “Creation Care” Sunday School lesson,

Marina Thornhill

Norman, OK

“I have been setting up a free farmer’s market at Brooks Street Transfer Station right off of my college campus. This way, people who ride the bus will be able to access fresh, nutritional, and affordable produce.

“My project has made others aware of the need to provide bus riders with better access to fresh food. It also helped lower-income individuals receive fresh produce during its pilot run.

“The Internship Experience has been meaningful to me because, through it, I have developed my leadership and public speaking skills. More importantly, I have become more confident in my ability to empower and improve my community.”

Marina at the launch of her free farmer's market!

Eleni Lewis

Goldendale, WA

Eleni tailored a YES series to include adults and help people bridge the generational divide called BRIDGES. 

“My project has helped me feel more confident in what I can do; it has helped me to be more mindful of connecting with older people than me!

“I have been so blessed by the internship experience. It is so incredible to have weekly meetings and time to really dig deep into myself!”

Cecelia Olson

Grand Rapids, MI

“The Internship opened my own eyes to how great young people are feeling disconnected from each other and are longing to belong to community. As my event is happening in January it is hard to say how many other people have been impacted but hopefully, anyone in attendance will feel they are not alone, and there are ways to create community in their own life. 

“The internship has done wonders for helping me identify my own strengths as a person and leader. Because it is so open-ended but still heavily supported I really got to explore not only what I could do for my communities but how I best could serve them. For me this meant valuable experience in event coordination, project management, and collaboration with multiple organizations.”

Cecelia created a workshop for students and young people at her university focused on cultivating community and belonging within their own lives. 

Cecelia leading the workshop at her university!

Liam Boris

Minneapolis, MN

“Service is often thought of as very actionable and visible acts such Christ washing the disciple’s feet at the Supper, but at the same time, Christ’s conversation with St. Photini (the samaritan woman) at the well is equally an act of service in that it was compassionate listening and sharing of ideas. One will notice that Christ is in both of these examples. This project really leaned into the latter idea of service and helped offer others the opportunity to share their valuable stories and experiences to create more opportunities for fellow Minnesotans.”

“I am blessed to be bilingual in English and Spanish through an Immersion Education program, and I and many others believe that everyone should have the opportunity, no matter the language, to receive education through an immersion program. In order to advocate for the expansion of these programs, I interview, compiled, and designed profiles of people who have participated in an immersion program (either as a student, teacher, or parent of a student) and shared them with legislators who represent me at the city, county, state, and national levels of government.

To view Liam's Project,

Jeremy Kuri

Yonkers, NY

“I worked with my mentors in order to create a meaningful workshop experience. We worked on these workshops with the goal of identifying one’s purpose and career development; they will be presented to high schools and conducted with their teams. These workshops are the eventual foundation of sports camps that will also be conducted at high schools. This project has shown me how becoming mindful and aware of your community needs can help identify a way you can help. Throughout my project, I learned to be adaptable when situations went unexpectedly. I was impacted by the resilience of my mentors and how encouraging they were when we refined our ideas and switched modes.”

“The internship Experience has been beyond valuable. Not only have I had the opportunity to develop relationships that I hope will last a lifetime, but I have been blessed with a chance to learn a way that I can help others around me. A main draw that I took away from this internship is that we all, no matter where we are, can have an impact and become a healing presence.”

Maria Lotti

St. Paul, MN

“I wrote a 5 day blog series describing how to become an advocate and support system for individuals challenged by mental health needs.

“The Internship was life changing. I have received lots of positive feedback and gratitude for taking the steps to bring this conversation into Orthodox circles specifically.”

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Check out Maria's blog series!

Eva Bruer

Minneapolis, MN

“For my internship project, I created a Sensory Services template. This template is intended to outline a sensory liturgy that parishes can have at their church for individuals and families with special needs. The template explains possible accommodations that could be made for both the liturgy and fellowship.

“I hope that it allows individuals and their families with special needs to feel have their needs met during the liturgy and create a community.”

Aliki Pappas

Columbus, OH

“I worked with FamilyPromise, a 24/7 emergency housing nonprofit, in Delaware, OH to provide activities and entertainment to the children whose parents were taking part in job interviews, tax consulting, legal advice, medical care, etc.

“Originally, I was nervous to go out there because I didn’t know how it would be received. However, when I brought out the games and chalk, these kids lit up and it brought me so much joy.”

Aliki Pappas Senior Portraits

Sophia Loizos

Columbus, OH

“My project took place at a fresh market which distributes free produce, serving over 300 people in need each day. I created a testimonial page for the market’s website to share the ways in which the fresh market had positively impacted the community. I also prepared and distributed 100 meals to people passing through the market.

“My project got me involved in the community, and showed me my own ability to create change in the lives of those around me. The interviews I held gave people a space to tell their story, and helped spread awareness about the market to those in need.”


Check out some of the testimonies Sophia gathered for the All People's Fresh Market!

Ellie Fall

St. Paul, MN

“For my project, I became a weekly tutor with Reading Partners. This is a nonprofit organization that recognizes the link between social inequality and literacy rates in children, and how literacy impacts a child not only in the school setting, but in every other aspect of their life.

“This project really opened my eyes to how big of an impact literacy has in our lives; it’s linked with self-esteem, social development, job opportunities in the future — so many things. This is something we often take for granted. By becoming a tutor, I was able to support a child in the community on their journey to improved literacy, and therefore, improved confidence and overall well-being.”

A thank you letter from the student Ellie tutored!

Interested in the Internship Experience?