valerie buchanan

Program Director, The Julian Year

Val Buchanan joined the Episcopal Charities staff in August 2015 as the Julian Year Director.

For the last 17 years Val has been mentoring emerging adults through service learning and spiritual formation initiatives.  As the Julian Year Director, Val combines her passion for investing in young people as well as experiential learning, asset based community development, and social justice.

Before coming to ECCS, Val founded the Office of Community Engagement at Gordon College, near Boston. In this position Val cultivated mutual partnerships and designed various programs to connect the college with social service agencies, schools and non-profits in the community.

Influenced by appreciative inquiry and asset-based community development philosophies, and following the lead of practitioners through the Christian Community Development Association, Val attempts to cultivate spaces for young adults to explore their gifts and passions in the pursuit of creating a more just world.

Val loves to envision new possibilities and build friendships with those society pushes to the margins.  This passion has energized her to pursue asset-based work among homeless families and youth in Los Angeles, with undergraduate students at two faith-based colleges, in urban community development organizations and non-profits, and on many service-learning trips with college students to South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, and India.

Val believes a healthy community is one in which peace reigns; not a negative peace, merely defined by a lack of conflict, but a positive peace, characterized by love, respect, social justice, and hospitality. She hopes to help the Julians pursue the beloved community that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described, where we are truly reconciled with God and with one another.

Phone: (312) 751-3575