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Religious Youth Service

RYS Participants Repair Community Buildings in Waterford

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Waterford, Jamaica The program orientation, which was given by the new youth leaders (see Jamaica Leadership Seminar) and supervised by Dr. Hartman-Burr, emphasized the need for personal relationships of cooperation to solve the problems and conflicts between people, religions and cultures. Three sites were identified as being in need of the group's service: the Waterford High School, the Waterford Primary School, and the Waterford Community Center. Thirty-two young people labored enthusiastically serving these locations by cleaning, repairing and painting.

While the youth worked throughout the morning hours, afternoons were filled with continued education programs and shared recreation. Christian, Muslim, Mayan and Unification participants observed and shared in one another's worship. Participants attended a speech titled "God's Ideal Family and Peace Kingdom," given by UPF Co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, at the Pegasus Hotel. Representative participants, Diesa Seidel and Maurice Burke, were invited to speak about their valued RYS experiences.

To further enhance the programs, local speakers presented talks titled: "Religious and Altruistic Service and Its Effects on Character Development," "Rastafari" and "History of Jamaica" were woven into the project schedule. RYS also had opportunities to visit Dunn River Falls and the Bob Marley Museum.

Following a full 13 days of academic learning and service learning in the hot Jamaican sun, the group thoroughly enjoyed two final days of reflection in the beautiful, serene and cool Blue Mountains at the Holywell National Park. Each person had a chance to review their experience during a period of silence that commenced after dinner on the first night and concluded the next day after an early morning nature walk. On the final evening, the Certificate of Appreciation and Appointment, as "Youth Ambassador of Peace" was given to each of the participants, representing the successful completion of their project and, more than likely, the beginning of much richer, service-oriented lives in their respective communities at home.

 August 1-15, 2006

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