After a successful three-year pilot, Act Five is set to become a permanent, independent Christian organization, operating its gap year program beginning in May 2023.
The program, which launched in 2018 and hosted its first class in 2019-20, began as a pilot program of Redeemer University in partnership with five Christian high schools. All partners were deeply committed to Christian education and sought to serve students who were uncertain about their post secondary school pathway. Together, Redeemer and its partner high schools believed a gap year program could help the growing number of young adults who are looking for an extra year with new experiences to help them in the process of growth and discernment during the time between high school and their next steps.
Over the past three years, 39 students have graduated from the Act Five program. Living on Blake Street in downtown Hamilton these students have had a variety of new experiences both within Canada and abroad. Through eight months of living in Christian community they learned, worshipped and grew together. They also travelled, completed field placements, and took courses for university credit. Altogether, Act Five has provided young adults with opportunities to encounter Christ, preparing them for the next steps on their journey, deepening their faith and sense of place and purpose.
We believe the program is ready to become an independent entity that will serve students even better.
“We’re excited about what Act Five has achieved – even during the upheaval created by the pandemic – and we believe the program is ready to become an independent entity that will serve students even better,” says president Dr. David Zietsma. “Under the strategic, passionate and thoughtful leadership of director Jon Berends, Act Five is well established and has excellent momentum to move into its next chapter. We look forward to being a strong partner to an independent Act Five moving forward.”
The gap year program will continue to operate under Redeemer’s oversight until the end of the 2022-23 academic year. During the coming year, Act Five will be incorporated as an independent organization and a governing board will be established, allowing Act Five to commence operations independently beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year. The Act Five name and brand, as well as the current website and marketing materials will remain with the program as it moves forward.
“Act Five looks forward to continuing a productive partnership with Redeemer as it launches independently,” says Act Five director Jon Berends. “We’re excited to continue inviting young adults into communities that will invest in their faith and character, helping them imagine the beauty and possibilities of the Kingdom of God, the world around them and their place in both.”