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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

July 2020
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Religious Youth Service

RYS Held International Alumni Project in United States

Participants: 35 Nations Represented: 14

California, United States—Following right on the heels of the Poland RYS, this project was designed to link into the International Religious Federation (IRF) sponsored Assembly of the World's Religions (AWR) meeting being held in San Francisco. This conference for 500 religious leaders and scholars had a theme that related to passing on the inheritance to the next generation. Most of the participants and staff were worldwide RYS alumni who were invited to attend the AWR. The project enabled alumni to clearly understand that they need not spend 40 days at a project in order to have an RYS experience. The spirit generated at this much shorter project was different than the longer projects but had its own depth and integrity.

Work: From August 1st to the 12th, the RYS worked at two separate work sites 45 minutes apart which were both located in the City of Oakland. One project was at the site of the Native American's Association for Alcoholics (NAAP) Oakland center where participants worked with Native Americans in building a spiritual sweat lodge. Other renovation and painting also took place on the grounds.

A second project involved working with the well-respected charity known as Habitat for Humanity. The RYS worked with the Oakland Habitat for Humanity office, which located an appropriate work site -- a home that was being heavily repaired for a newly settled family from Honduras.

Summary: The project was largely carried out by RYS alumni who had taken part in the summer-long programs. Many of these alumni did not expect to have a deep experience because the project was so much shorter in comparison. Their experience helped demonstrate to the alumni that they didn't need to spend 40 days at a project to have a rich RYS experience. The spirit generated at this much shorter project was different from the longer projects but it was still very fulfilling.

The participants could follow the project up by being part of the international assembly and gain from the 'elders'. In turn, the young RYS graduates served to stimulate the older generation through their substantial service and example of interfaith cooperation.

All in all, there was good cooperation with Habitat for Humanity since we could support their program while keeping the integrity of our own. Many participants shared that the experience working with the Native American community provided a depth of sharing and healing that was profound. During the closing ceremony, prayer by an elder brought tears to every person's eyes.

Advisors: Dr. Adena Hellig, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Mrs. Patricia Cole De St. Lange

Staff:

Project Director: John W. Gehring 
Program Director: Nancy Yamamoto 
Project Co-ordinator: Steven Sechrist 
Site Leader's Rev. Alan and Georgia Celestine

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