Here is a video that exhibits the time Generation Peace Serves spent in St Lucia in November 201, serving the community of Anse La Raye.
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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12/7/11 – Guyana team
Today was such a wonderful day for our team. Our question for the day was how we saw the
people around us change, and throughout this overseas condition we were able to experience
many profound things while working at the Joshua’s House and the Habitat organization. And
afterwards, we were able to meet with Keishu Greene and hold an evening program of fun. Our
evening continued to go well after that.
And so today was our last full day of work, so we invested our bodies and hearts to help clean
the area and fill up the remaining cracks within the walls. Not only that, we were able to interact
with the children a lot more personally, as we cleaned the area together. Our team felt so much
closer to the children than before. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
Once we got back, we had free time for ourselves as we relaxed and did our own things.
However, the 2nd years and 3rd years were preparing something, and we were curious as to what
they were cooking up. During the evening, Keishu Greene, who came by to visit us, held a
ballroom session for our evening program. All of us had a really wonderful time; we got to the
point that after the session, we still wanted to keep on dancing and learn new moves!
For dinner, our 2nd and 3rd year brothers and sisters had a surprise for us. A home restaurant!
They dressed up in really nice clothes and put on some mustaches. We had a whole variety of
homemade pizzas, made from the heart. And after the beautifully made dinner, we continued our
ballroom lessons and we all had a grand time. While closing our day, our brothers and sisters
shared about what they thought about the question and also the day. They were so grateful for the
surprise event the older brothers and sisters planned for them, and also about their experiences
with the children. As this last week comes to a close, we’re all starting to really see a huge
difference not only in others, but of ourselves.
Our group had a very eventful Thursday! We began the day with more painting and cleaned the front of the houses, with some assistance from local youths and young children. While there is still a lot of work remaining, the area is already looking better than before. Since the dock area is a tourist attraction, we have also been getting quite a bit of attention from curious Americans.
In the evening we attended Youth on Fire’s meeting. It’s a local youth group that arranges many fellowship activities and events, to foster a sense of community among the young people of the village. We kicked off the meeting with an icebreaker where we did some speed-dating to introduce ourselves to each other, and I think we learned a lot about how talented the youth in the village are. Many had skills in the performing arts like dance and singing, and had dreams to be professionals such as teachers, fashion designers, and dance instructors. We presented a digital camera to Magnus, the head of the group. The camera will help their group keep record of all their activities, and Magnus was very grateful for receiving it. We ended the meeting by singing One Family under God. They have been singing this song at the end of all their youth meetings ever since GPA taught them the song last year. It was very moving to hear them sing it; they even added a little twist at the end which was very fun and entertaining.
After returning home we had the privilege to meet with Jonathan, the president of the National Youth Council of St Lucia. We learned a lot about his life and what he thinks about the situation the youth of St. Lucia are in. It was very inspiring to see someone so committed to helping the young people of the island and we gained many good points to consider for our future efforts here. He also is arranging for us to join a leadership workshop’s, where we will meet with the young people aged 15-25. We’re all looking forward to it and hope we can really bring a good experience to the young leaders we’ll be meeting.
Until Next Time————John Barker and Ami Stair
This morning we rehearsed two songs (The Climb and One Family Under God) and a skit to present to the Speaker of the House of St Lucia, Dr. Rosemarie Mathurins. Dr. Rosemarie is very fond of the Unification Church. She became an Ambassador for Peace four years ago in Korea. We spent most of the day preparing for her visit by baking cookies, making posters, and preparing questions to ask her. She is a very busy woman and with the elections that happened on 11/28 she was unable to attend, but of course investment is never wasted. We will be waiting for her visit soon.
During downtime most of us went to a beautiful beach to swim and reflect, it was only a ten minute walk up the hill from the village. It was a breathtaking view and enjoyed the warm and clear waters. Until next time – Ami Stair
Today was our second day of painting houses. The homes are beginning to look really nice. The old people living in the homes really appreciate our presence in the village and love seeing us. We are all working very hard under the strong sun and are beginning to see a brighter Anse la raye.
Later in the evening Mr. Dwight came by. He came over to explain his experiences on giving purity talks to students. We were able to gain a lot of points which will help prepare us for the presentation we will be giving. Some of us shared our viewpoint on purity and what it was like growing up in high school. It’s very inspiring to meet people like Mr. Dwight, abstinence is something he strongly believes in and wants to attain it in his heart and offer his knowledge for young students for years to come. After the meeting we had dinner together and sang him a few songs.
On a side note: When it rains, the city turns off all the water pipes. We have been receiving a lot of rain the past few days, so unfortunately we have no water. At one point we were relying on rain water that is collected in a big container outside of the house which runs through the pipes. Unfortunately we’ve used all the water though. This means no dishes, finding water for the toilet to flush and purifying water.
Today we attended another Church Service, this time in our very own village. We saw many of our new friends in choir and familiar faces in the pews. For most of us it was our first time attending a Catholic Church service. First timer, Tommy Wojcik says, “It was very disciplined and structured. The people are very inspired by the music, the hymns mean a lot to them, they aren’t singing just to fill time, but singing to connect to God. I was really inspired by the people being there, they aren’t there because they have to but because they are very devoted.
We offered to sing the church with another song we learned, “One Family Under God.” This song was sung at the 2007 Global Peace Festival. Last year’s STF participants taught the song to the Youth on Fire. Since then they have been singing it at all of their youth group gatherings, so it was really nice seeing people in the crowd mouthing the words. It’s really inspiring to see how the youth here were able to carry on the song with them throughout the year and see how it impacted them.
We had our first team meeting, we came up with ways that we can make our experience in St Lucia valuable, so we discussed some issues we had been having the past few days, we also made new determinations for the week. Some of the points we discussed were to add morning service to our schedule, where every day first years will be giving a 10 minute morning service. One main point that got brought up was, wanting to make experiences of our own and not have it based on last year’s group’s experience. It’s vital that we don’t depend on that because we need to experience the most we can as possible. We all agreed on having more reflection time as well, it is very important that we are able to digest our experiences and write down our thoughts and what we have been learning living and working here with the people.
At the end of the day we invited locals over our house to play some games with us. We all enjoyed each other’s companies and made new friends. Unmi Yank shares “It’s great to have all these people over even if I don’t know them I really enjoy their company, I feel like they are my brothers and sisters; like we are one family under God.”