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Religious Youth Service

RYS in Trinidad & Tobago; Caring for the Environment as a Spiritual Responsibility

 Participants: 42 Religions Represented: 5  Nations Represented: 13

Trinidad & Tobago

Duration: August 1 - 14, 2003

Central Work: Environment cleaning with Bocco Reef Foundation work at Aripo Heights, Construct a room to train disabled youth and paint the Charis School, peace mural in the inner city.

Program speakers included Senator Mark Anderson, and actor/minister Dr. Ken Holliday, Dr. Rick Swarts, Rev. Jacob David. Participants created 2 special TV presentations under Dr. Holiday’s directorship had interactive environmental education, programs on women’s issues, economic development, and the IIFWP national conference.

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This was the third project in Trinidad and Tobago, which now serves as the regional RY headquarters. Each year has seen the RYS grow to a deeper and wider level of development so that this project could be largely staffed and run by local youth leaders while attracting participants from other island nations.

This projects international advisory staff brought a variety of unique skills that were helpful in allowing us to complete a wide variety of meetings, programs and projects. Leadership with specialties in: ecology, (Dr. Rick Swarts) theater/TV, (Dr. Kene Holiday), Governance, (Senator Mark Anderson) interfaith, (Rev. Jacob David and Jessie Singh), International Service (John Gehring), Creative Peace Park Designs (Carol Pobanz). Our special advisors were involved with both the participants and with various programs that attracted radio, television coverage and special meetings with the Prime Minister and members of the Parliament.

Part of our central service work was at a model school that mixed regular students and physically disabled children in a warmly spiritually healing environment. (The Charis Christian School)

As part of our interreligious study we visited and joined in services and shared meals at the mosque and a Sikh Gudwaran. One education focus of the RYS dealt with the issue of caring for the environment. The educational design of these programs included a practical service component that took us to beautiful Tobago and the Aripo Heights area of Trinidad.

A group of RYS participants created in studio, two programs for national television. As a whole group we joined the National Youth Day AIDS Prevention Program and attended a special IIFWP conference on governance. In a final program, participants and community members teamed up in a violence-prone district to design and create a peace mural.

As part of its expanding interest in building cooperation within Trinidad and Tobago, the RYS with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Rose Foundation took part in a signing ceremony at the National Sports Stadium.

 This was the second RYS project in New Zealand and the 1 st international program. This project drew much support from Australia and pulled in participants from a wide variety of nations and religious traditions. Networking with organizations was a key to the programs success as Habitat for Humanity, the local civic leaders and the Moreau Youth Movement worked to model the pattern of cooperative living so critical in building a culture of everlasting peace.

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