USA: Peace Starts with Youth through Service
In the weeks before the Peace Starts With Me rally on November 12 in Long Island, NY, several youth groups in the Northeast Subregion participated in service projects in their local communities. The projects were designed to bring awareness to the rally and also to exemplify how peace can start with each of us through service.
From October 6 to 8, the youth from Worcester, MA cleaned a campground in preparation for winter. As their youth leader put it, “It really wasn’t glamorous.” Footage was taken of the group wiping down the dining tables and chairs, but even this seemingly mundane service work is still needed and can benefit the youth through challenging their hearts and motivations for doing service work.
On October 31, the Bridgeport, CT youth and young adult groups served a meal at Homes for the Brave, a non-profit organization that provides housing and services to the homeless, many of whom are veterans. The Bridgeport youth went around the room and invited several veterans to the Peace Starts With Me rally in Long Island.
The youth and young adult groups from Philadelphia, PA went to the nearby Charlestown Farm on November 3 to help with cleaning, weeding, and ended up making pizzas from scratch to share with friends and guests afterwards. One youth leader said, “We had nine young adults involved in the farm service portion and 10 guests for the pizza party. In line with the idea of ‘Peace Starts With Me,’ the main goal of the project was to engage the youth in serving a public purpose through individual action. Through weeding the farm and making our own pizzas to serve to guests and other community members, we encouraged environmental stewardship and a culture of service. Amidst the flavor of love and the beauty of nature, we could truly enjoy this experience as a family.”
On November 4, the Barrytown, NY young adult groups visited a nearby farm and greenhouse. The group leader explained, “We went to Seed Song Farm in Kingston, NY, where we helped clean the greenhouse and garage, and did a little harvesting for the town’s Thanksgiving Harvest Celebration and Dinner fundraisers. Afterwards, we surprised one of our youth with a birthday cake, then sang a song together with the farmers (since the farm is called Seed Song farm, they always sing while working or after completing their tasks).” The Barrytown youth have already scheduled their next service project and are looking forward to creating future service projects in which to participate.
Many other youth groups within our Unificationist communities are planning service projects in the upcoming months, so stay tuned for new projects and updates.