Frequently Asked Questions


What makes YSOP Programs special?

YSOP’s innovative immersion service-learning program helps youth, college and adult volunteers to understand service and the populations we serve. During the program, participants break into small service teams and volunteer at different sites around the city. Before the program begins, YSOP holds an orientation that prepares participants for the day of service, explaining the populations we serve and paying careful attention to issues of safety and expectations. After each day of service, experienced YSOP staff lead the group in reflection where everyone can share their impressions of the day and explore the root causes of poverty, hunger and homelessness. Participants are encouraged to take what they have learned back home and become active, engaged citizens.


Where do YSOP volunteers serve and what do they do?

YSOP volunteers prepare and serve meals at soup kitchens; they provide recreational activities and companionship to children in family shelters; they distribute food and supplies at food pantries; they help distribute furniture, clothing and children’s supplies at local agencies;  they help low income seniors with cleaning and maintenance to enable them to stay in their homes; they plant and harvest a community garden. Occasionally YSOP is also asked to assist with special projects, such as painting a new shelter with residents. 

Most programs include a service dinner at YSOP headquarters. Our volunteers prepare and serve a delicious meal and provide needed companionship to our guests who are homeless.

YSOP carefully and regularly monitors all worksites where we serve. This ensures that the sites are organized and safe, that YSOP volunteers are utilized efficiently and that everyone – guests, clients, staff and volunteers - is treated with respect. 


Who are YSOP Participants?

YSOP hosts groups from middle schools, high schools, colleges, graduate schools, faith-based organizations, community organizations as well as family and unaffiliated groups. YSOP also hosts adult groups from corporations as well as from civic, religious and educational organizations.

 Middle school and high school groups must be accompanied by adultparticipants. YSOP requires a 5:1 student to adult ratio; that will determine the minimum number of adults needed for your group.

 YSOP offers “Open Programs” throughout the year where individuals can participate if they do not come with an organized group. Adultparticipants may be required to accompany youth for these programs.  


What is the impact of a YSOP service Program?

Parents, educators, and students consistently comment on the positive impact of the YSOP experience. They report that participants feel the program changed their lives, enabling them to feel good about themselves, while demonstrating their ability to care for people in need.  Some parents are amazed at how deeply moved their children are by the YSOP experience and at the amount of work they accomplished during their time with us. Parents also have said that through their children, they too have gained new perspectives of the issues of poverty, hunger and homelessness. 



While YSOP is a Quaker organization, our staff, the people we serve and our student and adult participants come from many religious backgrounds, including people who are not religious at all.  Everyone is welcome at YSOP.  We don’t preach or proselytize.  If your faith informs your service, we’re happy to hear about it during our reflective activities, and if not, we’re happy to hear what inspires you to serve.


Does YSOP offer discounted fees?

All of our fees are already discounted, because all of our participants deserve discounted fees! YSOP’s fees only cover about 50% of our costs; we fundraise to cover the other 50%, because we do our best to keep our fees as low as possible, to encourage as much participation as possible. 


Why does YSOP charge fees for programs? 

YSOP is a small nonprofit organization offering full service learning styled programs, including orientation, service and reflection for each program.  We spend a lot of time making sure that all of these pieces will be meaningful and successful for every program.  In addition to staff planning and program times, we incur costs for rent, food, transportation, supplies like T-shirts, name tags and folders, etc.