Religious Youth Service

RYS-Guatemala Hosts 19th Friendship Americas

Participants: 15 Religions Represented: 4 Nations Represented: 10

Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala— 19th Friendship Americas Project 

Duration: August 13 - 25, 2004

Central Work: Building a basketball court and the restoration of a local hospital

Religious Youth Service Guatemala 2004, took place in the beautiful lakeside town of Santiago Atitlan. This was the 19th Friendship Americas Project and its main focus and theme was “The Role of Youth in the Creation of Global Peace.”

Under the direction of Rev. John Gehring, Daniel Bessell, and Ana M. Cobiella-Olson, participants from Guatemala, Honduras, an the United States contributed to 3 distinct service projects within the city Santiago Atitlan.

One of these service projects was the continued restoration and improvement of a school in this predominantly Mayan community. As a result of the ongoing nature of this specific project has been the development of a true collaborative spirit between the volunteers from RYS and the community.

Secondly, participants saw to the completion of a basketball court begun in 2002 that is located within grounds of the school.
The third project was helping to rehabilitate a hospital facility within the town, which helped the process of addressing the extensive and critical medical needs not currently being met within the community.

As part of the effort to create a working service model that bridges cultural and religious boundaries, each day was begun in spiritual devotion, universal in its text and in its offering. Afternoons and evenings were opportunities to develop an understanding and appreciation of the diverse thoughts, traditions, and beliefs of other cultures.

Accompaniment and guidance in this effort was provided through the presence of numerous leaders and representatives from Guatemala, who offered their expertise, encouragement and support of the interfaith experience.

Co-operating Agencies: Amigos del Lago

Key Sponsors: IIFWP, Amigos del Lago, HospitalProject

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