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New Mexico Interfaith Immersion Trip

This week-long summer program is organized by our partner, the Teen Interfaith Leadership Council of Santa Clara County, and gives high school students a chance to engage in interfaith dialogue, community service, farming, agriculture, and cultural experiences in the Santa Fe and Taos regions of New Mexico. The Foundation’s sponsorship of this program currently supports four Shinnyo-en Youth Association teens and four other teens from diverse religious backgrounds to cultivate mutual respect and peacebuilding amongst themselves through interfaith dialogue and bonding through meaningful volunteer work and cultural experiences.

28543563863_94c4c1489e_z“Especially in the world we live in today, it is extremely important to have open conversations about religion. Within these short five days, I spoke more about religion with other teens my own age than I have done in the last sixteen years of my life. It was an amazing feeling being able to openly talk about religion without others stereotyping and questioning my faith. Many of my friends are atheist, so even bringing up my religion can cause discomfort in our conversations. My friends are skeptical over placing faith and trust in a religion. It is difficult for them to wrap their head around the concept of how big a role religion plays in many of our lives. In fact, in the academic obsessed school I attend, I have even had a friend sarcastically ask me “Will going to temple help me get a 4.0?” After this experience, I’m ready to take that step and start conversations on Shinnyo-En; if not bring friend with me to temple. With so many violent conflicts caused by a lack of respect and understanding between different religions, this trip help prepare me to be one of those people who understands and is willing to make that first step towards world peace. As big of a challenge as that is, I hope that I can personally make a difference.” – 2016 Shinnyo-en Youth participant

If you are a Shinnyo-en Youth interested in this opportunity, please contact your temple’s Youth Association leader for more information about the program and application process, and read a recent article about the 2016 Interfaith Immersion Trip.