Purpose & History
HUMANITARIAN EXPERIENCE FOR YOUTH HISTORY
When Glenn and Elisabeth Bingham's oldest son was a teenager, they wanted to send him as a volunteer on a service expedition. However they were concerned that many of the established youth humanitarian programs would put him in a situation that would test rather that strengthen his LDS standards.
According to the Binghams, they explored the thought, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a group for LDS youth!" Talking with friends, they found several other parents who felt the same way and were looking for the same type of experience. So, to mark the beginning of AYS in 1999, the Bingham's began contacting friends throughout the U.S. in effort to form their own excursion – one based on values they all shared as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first Alliance for Youth Service expedition was to Brazil, with just 10 participants.
Today, AYS has become Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY) and is a thriving organization for teens ages 16-19 who are willing to abide the LDS Code of Conduct. Annual summer service expeditions have grown to include over 400 participants who choose between a variety of trips. Throughout the years, countries served by HEFY have included:
• Costa Rica
• Dominican Republic
• New Zealand
• United States – Appalachia
"Our challenge is to provide an opportunity for everyone who wants to participate,” said Glenn Bingham. “Over the years, we’ve had many participants come home and get right back in line to go again the following summer. If we can provide this type of experience, one that is really life-changing, we want to make it accessible to everyone.” With plans for eighteen expeditions in 2012, HEFY will expand its reach of service to new countries each year.
PURPOSE OF HEFY
Simply stated, the purpose and goal of HEFY is “Changing lives through service.” We believe that service draws us closer to Christ. There is a great need for service in the world, and there are many youth who want to fill that need. Our mission is to provide opportunities for teens to serve in areas of the world where they can be of assistance to our less-fortunate brothers and sisters and grow their testimonies of the Gospel in an atmosphere that is safe, fun, and conducive to the standards of followers of Jesus Christ.
With headquarters in Provo, Utah, HEFY is an LDS-oriented service group dedicated to engaging youth in global and interpersonal betterment. HEFY strives to provide a threefold experience for each youth: 1) to complete a character-building service project for those living in extreme poverty; 2) to embrace the culture and learn to love the people of the country in which we serve; and 3) to create opportunities to build lasting friendships with members of the church where HEFY groups are serving and with peer volunteers and trip leaders. Ultimately, HEFY aims to develop and nurture a perpetual and long-lasting desire for participants and alumni to engage in humanitarian service that edifies both the giver and the receiver.