Alumni Leadership Council


2015/2016 YAVA Alumni Leadership Council

Left to Right: Joe Tobiason, David Wigger (YAV Intern), Stephen Speakman, Luke Rembold, Emily Miller, Jason Woods, Sarah Leer, Richard Williams


Luke Rembold

Hi friends! My name is Luke Rembold, and I was a YAV 2010-2011 in Tucson, AZ. I served a nonprofit that did emergency home repair for low-income residents of the area, and it was fantastic! Every day of work I had something to look at, tangible proof that I’d changed someone’s life that day. I credit the YAV program for transforming my idea of community–encouraging me to think differently, organically, broadly. Now, I work to try to bring that broad community to the youth of Oregon. I am a youth director at a small church in Eastern Oregon, which gives me ample opportunities to do many of the things I love, including music, backpacking, playing tennis, and being barefoot. Twitter

Emily Brewer 

I am grateful to be a part of the YAVA Leadership Council as a way to stay connected to and give back to a program that changed my life and continues to give me life.  I served as a YAV in Guatemala 2009-2010 and in Nashville 2010-2011 where I learned that community and family comes in many forms and takes a lot of work and communication.  I also found out along the way that advocacy and political activism is often a spiritual experience for me.  My experiences as a YAV helped lead me to Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York where I am a student and seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  I love writing, running, and cooking with other people and am excited to get to connect with even more YAVA through the Leadership Council. Twitter

Stephen Speakman

My name is Stephen Speakman.  I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, and currently I live in Atlanta, Georgia, where I’m a student at Candler School of Theology (Emory University).  I served as a YAV in 2006/07 in Nairobi, Kenya, where I worked as the communications staff for Church World Service East Africa.  During my year as a YAV, I felt especially supported by other volunteers, those in Kenya and across the globe.  As a member of the alumni council, I’m excited to find ways that YAV alumni can continue to support one another after their year of service.

Aaron Stauffer

Aaron Stauffer is a second year MDiv student at Union Theological Seminary in NYC with a focus in Ethics. Passionate about developing communities and building power in civic society, Aaron worked as an IAF organizer through the Young Adult Volunteer of the PC(USA) program in 2010-2011, is currently doing his Field Education with the Poverty Initiative at Union and works for Religions for Peace USA, while remaining active with the Student Christian Movement NYC. He finds himself continually drawn to local, organized responses to deep economic, political disenfranchisement and oppression. He blogs regularly at Twitter

Jason Woods

Jason Woods is originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked at Heifer International as a senior editor in Global Communications. Jason served as YAV in Lima, Peru, in 2006-2007, where he worked with the human rights nonprofit Paz y Esperanza, a member of the Joining Hands Against Hunger Network. Twitter

Jackie Wonsey

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Wonsey served as a YAV in 2011-12 in Guatemala. While there she had the most amazing time possible, hanging out with her host family, traveling, and eating as much local food as possible, among other things. Her placements included a local health clinic and a shelter assisting young women and girls who suffered from domestic/sexual abuse. Jackie also had the pleasure of translating for local medical mission groups that worked in her small town. Today, Jackie still manages to not pay rent and works as a Residence Life Educator at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, maintaining supervision of a residential area of 5 buildings and nearly 1000 self-identified female residents. While doing so Jackie weaves her passions for social justice into the various programming and initiatives that she participates in within her residential community and across campus. And now, after participating in many events with the YAV Office as a YAVA, Jackie is more than excited to be serving as a member of the YAVA LC and spreading the good word about the amazing possibilities that lie in serving with the YAV program.

Joe Tobiason

Joe Tobiason was a YAV in Lima, Peru in 2009-2010.  He split time between organizations focusing on ecological sanitation (seeking alternatives to water based systems) and environmental education in the mining town of La Oroya.  During the year, I took one roll of film photography per week.  Following the year, I moved back to Seattle and after finding a job continued making images.  Since returning to the PNW, I’ve become a vegetarian, got married, bought a house and eventually left my day job to become a full time photographer (  Now, I’m really excited to seek relationships between people and finding commonality and community. Twitter, Instagram

Lead Staff Member: Emily Miller, Director of Recruitment and Relationships

Emily Miller is the As a YAV in Miami, Emily fell in love with the people of the YAV program through the message that it sought: justice, love, and peace for all people, no matter who you are or where you live. With the ability (or gumption) to talk to anyone she meets, Emily is thrilled to be a vice co-moderator this year after being Team Lead for Recruitment last year, hoping to continue to reach out to lots of people about the brilliance of God’s work through Young Adults.


3 thoughts on “Alumni Leadership Council”

  1. Tamara Leoanrd Lara said:

    I sent in my info. a very long time ago and did not find myself on the map for yav alumni. Could you PLEASE add me? I even attended a yav alumni event!!!!!!

    Tamara Leonard Lara
    Germantown, MD (metro. dc)


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