Apr 24, 2012   //   by admin   //   Guyana, News, Participant Blog, Service Projects, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago  //  Comments Off

ARLINGTON, Va, November 28, 2011 – A few days before Thanksgiving, three Washington, DC area young people traveled to the Caribbean to contribute their enthusiasm and talents in public service work there.

James Abendroth, volunteer.

James Abendroth, volunteer.

Nineteen year-old James Abendroth from Bowie, Maryland, and Rachael Boothby, 18, of Annapolis, along with other volunteers and local young people, are helping to renovate the St. Barbs Community Center on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, in cooperation with the Ministry of Community Development and the Rose Foundation.

Cynthia Jones, an 18 year old aspiring physical therapist from Gambrills, Maryland, is working in the fishing village of Anse-la-Raye in St. Lucia. She and other youth will be teaching young people in the village basic computer skills as well as arts and crafts, and working to empower them through character education. She and others will also paint homes for elderly residents. This effort is being conducted in cooperation with the Anse-la-Raye Village Council and a local Catholic group, the Youth-on-Fire Ministry.

Mr. Abendroth, Ms. Boothby and Ms. Jones are part of a group of 48 young men and women doing public service projects for three weeks in the nations of Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Guyana. Another group is working in Georgetown, Guyana, where they are building a laundry facility for the Joshua Children Center, a local orphanage.

All are participants in Generation Peace Academy (GPA), a character education program of the Unification movement.

Rachel Boothby, youth volunteer

Rachel Boothby, youth volunteer

Mr. Abendroth, a graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School and an Eagle Scout, is currently a student at the University of Maryland. Concerning his effort to serve in Trinidad, he says, “I’ve spent so many years focusing on my own life and insuring my own wellbeing, so now it’s time to do my part to give back to the world.”

Ms. Boothby, who graduated a year early from South River High School in Edgewater, plans to enter the University of Maryland as a business student following her work with the GPA. She looks forward to her work in Trinidad as a practice of “citizen-to-citizen diplomacy in another country.”

In describing her motivation for serving in Trinidad, she says, “My greatest desire is to leave this world [a] legacy of love and as someone who was a compassionate person towards others. Reverend Sun Myung Moon introduced to me the motto, ‘One Family under God.’ To me, it means loving all people equally because we are all sons and daughters of God. This year I am trying to discover my true potential and help my peers discover theirs as well.”

Ms. Jones, who served as a senior patrol leader in her Girl Scout troop and as a youth leader in her local church, plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College in 2012, following two years with GPA.

She hopes to learn a great deal from her work in St. Lucia: “My mom is Japanese; my dad is American. I believe that the world is my family and this is my opportunity to inspire, encourage and to learn to love those of different cultures … The only difference I can make in this world is through my sincerity and compassion towards others.”

Yet another volunteer for the service effort in the Caribbean is Ami Stair from California. Ms. Stair, who plans to study broadcast journalism at San Francisco State University, will be one of those working in St. Lucia.

Cynthia Jones, youth volunteer

Cynthia Jones, youth volunteer

Ms. Stair commented, “Growing up, I would see the quote from Gandhi, ‘Become the change that we want to see in the world’ on a poster in one of my classes. I remember looking at the poster every day and thinking, ‘How can I be that change?’ I know that by going to St. Lucia, I am making a change. With this attitude, I hope to inspire other youths to get out there and do the same.”

Postscript: I would like to ask any interested reader to keep the 48 volunteers in your prayers. Often when prayers are requested for a young person, it is because that young man or young woman is in serious trouble.

In this much happier circumstance, I’d simply like to ask for your prayers that each and every one of the volunteers has a meaningful and unforgettable experience during their work in the Caribbean. I hope that each one will be able to make “living for the sake of others” a life-long habit and a source of happiness, strength and inspiration. Thank you!

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