Unification News for October, 2001

RYS Bay Area team supports Operation Dignity

By Kevin Brugman

Inspired by Hyun Jin Nim's vision for creating a youth service movement, and by the personal desire to work alongside religious youth and young clergy m to find solutions to social problems, the local CARP leader (Markus Voneuw) and I wanted decided to create a local RYS program. We contacted the International Director, John Gehring, to get his input;and we were grateful and inspired by his support for having an ongoing RYS program in our local area. Markus also worked together with members of our local inter-faith committee to get advice and work with our clergy contacts to find participants. Our first project was held from August 17-19. Youth from the Muslim, Christian, and Unification community worked side-by-side to clean and refurbish rooms for low-income families who needed temporary housing for an organization called "Operation Dignity".

Regardless of religious or national background, we were all moved with compassion to help the small children who would stay in the rooms that we prepared. With equal importance, the RYS participants became friends and felt a bond of heart despite our religious differences. The leadership of "Operation Dignity" and the Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center, where we worked, were also moved and inspired. We will definitely work together in the future to help more families. Markus Voneuw is currently working with the city of Oakland to organize a project in November. Oakland city officials were inspired by our work with "Operation Dignity", which is in Oakland, and the vision of RYS; and they asked us to help them refurbish a local high school.

The upcoming RYS project with the city of Oakland will be held November 10-12. We are currently working to organize a local RYS Community Gathering for religious youth, which will be modeled after the Bay Area Family Church Prayer Breakfast, which brings religious leaders together once a month to our church facility. Through this ongoing gathering of religious youth and our service projects we will advance the cause of service for others, family education, and inter-religious dialogue in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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