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Religious Youth Service

Religious Youth Service Alumni Help Host Friendship Americas Concert in Suriname

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Paramaribo, Suriname - Alumni of Religious Youth Service projects, under the distinguished patronage of the Director of Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, together with volunteers from Generation Peace in the US, gathered at the Cultural Centrum Suriname to host a “Friendship Americas” concert on May 14, 2011.

The concert was a media event to welcome Generation Peace to Suriname and to display our best talents. With the second song, the concert began to generate a wonderful spirit. Brazilian singer Maria powerfully offered up her version of “We are family,” a song that reached the hearts of the audience dissolving barriers. Maria immediately had everyone on their feet rocking and singing along.

Mr. John Sandriman, Director of Youth Affairs, delivered a very touching testimony, thanking Religious Youth Service for the work it has been doing in Suriname. He expressed gratitude for their zealous service and our living for the sake of others. He commended the young volunteers for creating the mural at the center on the theme of “One Family under God.”

Mr. Sandriman declared that RYS alumni are truly Ambassadors for God and that we should continue our work of touching hearts and healing wounds caused by racial and religious discrimination among human beings. He charged us to continue working in Suriname to foment peace and friendship. Lastly, he expressed that only through altruistic service will the Americas – North and South – develop true and lasting friendship and brotherhood.

The second half of the concert was most entertaining, featuring dances by Native Americans, Africans, and Latinos, as well as break-dancing, ballroom dancing, and even dancing to jazz. In addition, other offerings included R&B and pop music, poetry reading, dialogues and monologues, plus many other talented presentations.

In particular, the Generation Peace volunteers performed a memorable skit where a young woman ignores her purpose in life and links up with a group of delinquent girls involved in drugs, alcohol, and free sex. Because it is so hard for her to regain her true purpose, and because she has fallen to her lowest point of depression, she asks for help from the Creator, who sends her an angel. The angel provides loving guidance and, in return, she goes on to help her friends. The skit was featured in the Suriname media for a few days because it spoke to teenagers in Suriname.

The show-stopper was the dance by the kids at the Rankin school, an elementary school where the volunteers served. These kids had the entire auditorium on its feet trying to participate in the latest dance moves.

This Friendship Americas concert was the first of its kind and, hopefully, the first of many to come in the future!

Read about Religious Youth Service projects in Suriname in 2008 and 2007.

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