Generation Peace Serves is an international service learning project of Generation Peace Academy (GPA). GPA is a 501-c3 non profit organization that strives to help build a better world by preparing the leaders of tomorrow.
We use a three pronged approach:
- Character Development
- Service Work
- Developing Faith
Generation Peace Academy is a youth program of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC), designed to Motivate and Empower Young People:
•To Discover God
•To Cultivate Personal Identity
•To Establish a Unificationist Perspective
•To Create a Culture of Heart
•To Prepare for Future Success
Generation Peace Academy (GPA) is a comprehensive one-year program which includes outreach, contributing to local churches’ experience, international service projects, outdoor adventure training, educational workshops and fundraising, with on-going opportunities for training in public speaking and written expression. We provides a spiritually rich and healthy environment for young Unificationists to transition from high school to future endeavors.
GPA helps young adults find a principled direction, practice public mindedness, experience a taste of adventure and connect with other young Unificationists while supporting the relationship between participants and their parents.
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
The Generation Peace Academy (GPA) program, like many other volunteer programs, emphasizes the importance of creating a positive impact in the world. To do this, GPA concentrates its efforts on developing and improving the lives of participants so that they can become the change that Ghandi talked about.
One of the most effective ways to prompt internal growth in participants is through fundraising. Virtues such as perseverance, patience, and forgiveness can all be fostered through the act of fundraising. Fundraising also helps participants develop self-awareness and dignity in the face of rejection/hardship.
Character development is also fostered through discussion groups, workshops, and time set aside for individual reflection. During these times, questions such as, “Who do you want to be in the future?” or “What kind of person would you like to see within yourself?” are asked.
Through this training, our members learn leadership qualities, and learn the tools needed to develop their own potential.
On a daily basis, our participants interact with many individuals of different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and environments. In this way they can prepare themselves for the relationships they will have in our ever-more global world.
Through investing into others, GPA participants invest into themselves. They learn about their identity, the impact they can have on others, the value of teamwork in regards to a higher purpose, and the confidence to contribute to society’s needs.
When participants leave the program, they do so as a more mature individual. Through the changes they have brought upon themselves, GPA participants can become ambassadors for positive change for their families, towns, societies, and eventually the world.
Participants of the GPA program spend a portion of the year doing public service.
Before you go overseas as an GPA participant, you will be asked the question, “ Is this experience for us? Or is it for them (the people)?”. From that question you can come up with a lot of answers like: “ It is for us because the opportunity to go there and serve will most definitely grow my character!” or “Everything we do there is for the people, and for their lives to be easier.” but how many of you would say it was for God?
Many times our mentality when doing service is just “ work, work, work, give me work to do!”. We don’t see the true significance of service. Service isn’t measured by the sweat of our brow; it’s measured by your heart. Let me just give you a small testimony. One day a brother, by the name of Chris Couweleers, was simply picking coffee beans for the local farmers in the blue mountains of Jamaica. Little did he know that a local woman was picking coffee alongside him. That woman later told our project manager, Georgia, that she could never love white people before, until she met Chris picking coffee with her. Seeing Chris picking coffee with her had completely changed her heart towards white people.
Through experiences like this we come to see that our work overseas isn’t just about work it’s about healing. It’s about bringing God’s children together. I’m sure it’s difficult for God, as any parent would, to watch his children suffer from hunger, poverty and broken families. So that’s when we come in as the missing puzzle pieces for God to plug into the right spots. So when you’re asked the question “ is it for us? Or is it for them?” you can say, “ Yes it’s for them and us, but most importantly it’s for God. It is for him to finally see his children come together.”
The Leadership Module works to help our local Unification Church based in New York by striving to fulfill the goal of “Inheriting the True Love of God.” This work offers participants the opportunity to make their faith real to them and to inherit the true love of God, through outreach, in reach, and supporting the Learning Center situated in New York. Outreach offers participants to gain a deeper understanding of God and gain a sense of personal ownership towards their faith as they share it with others and learn about others views of faith. In reach allows participants to be involved with local youth of our church community through youth ministry and young adult ministry. The Learning Center is a community center for all people regardless of faith, race, ethnicity, and nationality to feel welcomed and the love of God in a community of caring people. The Learning Center offers a variety of programs from a mid-week youth service to “open mic nite” the participants support these programs to ensure the success of them, fulfilling an atmosphere for others to feel the love of God. All these experiences results in participants with inheriting the true love of God and sharing that love with others. Finally, to become proud of their faith and a love to share it.
ve of God. All these experiences results in participants with inheriting the true love of God and sharing that love with others. Finally, to become proud of their faith and a love to share it.
Information on the Modules:
Based out of NYC, the leadership module’s main focus is to help participants find their balance between college and their life of faith. With great resources in New York, participants join practicums such as: video and design, music, culinary work, ministry work, administration, martial arts, and ballroom dancing. On a daily basis, speakers come for sessions with participants on topics like public speaking, goal setting, managing organizations, and grasping a deeper understanding of who we are as Unificationists.
GPA serves in developing countries to make an impact in the world and to deepen our hearts of gratitude and love. The challenge and adventure of overseas work can be a formative life changing experience for young people, and instill a deep desire to make a difference in the world. We travel to Asia, and South and Central America about nine times for service projects a year.
One of the most effective ways to prompt internal growth in participants is through fundraising. Virtues such as perseverance, patience, and forgiveness can all be fostered through the act of fundraising. Fundraising also helps participants develop self-awareness and dignity in the face of rejection/hardship. GPA being a non profit organization, fundraising financially supports our work.
Divine Principle Workshop:
Unification beliefs are based on the Bible as well as the church’s text book, The Divine Principle, written by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. This 21 day workshop teaches young Unificationists the root of our faith and beliefs.
“I think for the first time I feel confident to say that I can explain what I believe and why. I have a rekindled desire to read the DP as well as the Bible. I am so grateful that I can finally connect to Jesus and start to develop a personal relationship with him.” Katerina Morgan
“God always gives His unconditional love to me, and always hopes that I will open my heart enough to receive it, but I have usually been too caught up in my own perspective to see Him there. This lesson in Divine Principle gave me answers to a problem that has been on my mind for over a year, and I am so grateful to have had the experience of seeing Principle work in this way.” – Jinil Fleischman
Participants engage in ocean challenge on the West Coast or adventure training in the Adirondacks of NY. Participants enjoy God’s gift while gaining valuable skills and experiences in the outdoors. From fishing and ocean kayaking, to preparing and eating meals, participants are taught that no activity is too insignificant for our spiritual lives.
“Immersing myself in nature really helped me have a much more meaningful appreciation and connection to creation. I have now come much closer to understanding how great this gift of life on earth is and how God created it for us.” – Nathan Bratcher