This past June, the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative (IYLI) completed its third year of summer programming and its second Washington D.C. Advocacy trip for high school students. We held three IYLI programs: our Los Angeles program at the University of Southern California, our Long Beach program at California State University of Long Beach, and our Orange County program at Chapman University. Over one hundred and twenty participants from over twenty different faith persuasions contributed to our IYLI and Washington D.C. summer programs.
During our three IYLI programs, youth participants:
- Built leadership skills by speaking publically and sharing their own tradition with others while respecting the traditions of their peers
- Served 500 individuals on Skid Row at the Union Rescue Mission, served the Long Beach community by taking part in a beautification project at Hamilton Middle School, and served the Orange County community by packing 480 boxes of food at the OC Food Bank
- Visited the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles Mormon Temple Visitors’ Center, Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, Jain Center of Southern California, First Congregational Church of Long Beach, Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Islamic Center of Orange County, and the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple.
- Engaged with speakers who included Rev. Jim Burklo, the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, Rev. Gary Bernard Williams of Faith United Methodist Church & Hamilton United Methodist Church, Rev. Peter Laarman, Coordinator of Justice Not Jails & former Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting, Shourouq Al-Fartoussi, Programs Coordinator at the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County & Board member on the Newport Irvine Mesa Interfaith Council, Rev. Nichelle Madrigal of the Shinnyo Buddhist Temple, Rev. Paige Eaves, Rabbi Frank Stern, Ahmed Younis, J.D. and Dr. Gail Stearns.
IYLI Los Angeles participants at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple.
Do you know a high school student who is interested in expanding their leadership skills and knowledge of other faiths so that they are better equipped to interact respectfully with people from different backgrounds? This upcoming June, New Vision Partners will be holding its third year of programming of the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative (IYLI). During the 3-day program, students will build relationships with people of other faiths, take ownership of their own faith perspective, visit different houses of worship and act out their faith through service of the larger community.
The program is free of charge. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will earn a $100 scholarship which they may apply to college of their choice. All high school students (freshman through seniors) are eligible for the program. Applications for the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative in the summer of 2014 are now available online. Save the date, submit your application, and help spread the word.
IYLI Dates and links to applications for 2014:
Mentors play an important role in IYLI. Each program has a total of 50 student leaders… which means we need 10-15 mentors to connect with the youth and help the program go smoothly. These exceptional individuals are part of a team that helps the young leaders connect with each other as well as community leaders around them.
All mentors must complete a background check and go through an orientation prior to the programming in June of 2014. Upon successful completion of the program, each mentor will earn a $100 scholarship to help her/him with their college education. Mentors are individuals who are college sophomores through graduate school.
Click here to apply!
Mentors are seen helping participants create collages that represent their faith tradition.
Dr. Steve Wiebe (top left) and the speaker panel: (top row from left to right) Ali Husein Alreza, Naomi Ackerman, Omar Ahmed Bahlaiwa, (bottom row from left to right) Dr. Selwa Al-Hazzaa, Reverend Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Dr. Maher Hathout, and Samar Fatany.
On Sunday, September 15th, over 30 interfaith leaders and supporters gathered at the Pico Union Project center in Los Angeles to discuss how interfaith work is relevant today. The event was moderated by Dr. Steve Wiebe, Executive Director of New Vision Partners, while the speaker panel included seven interfaith leaders from Los Angeles and Saudi Arabia: Dr. Maher Hathout, Reverend Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Naomi Ackerman, Omar Ahmed Bahlaiwa, Dr. Selwa Al-Hazzaa, Ali Husein Alreza, and Samar Fatany. Continue reading
IYLI Los Angeles Participants visit a Sikh Gurdwara.
New Vision Partners leads interfaith programs in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Long Beach. Over 100 students from 17 different faith backgrounds were selected for these competitive leadership programs to build conflict resolution skills, relationships and live their faith through service work.
Students participated in leadership building activities and visited numerous houses of worship including a Sikh Gurdwara, Jewish Temples, a Catholic Cathedral, a Latter Day Saints Chapel, and a Mosque. Participants also listened to a panel of service and faith leaders. In addition to interfaith and leadership activities, youth were involved in different service projects. Los Angeles participants volunteered with Union Rescue Mission to serve 700 people on Skid Row while our Long Beach participants cleaned up one square mile of public beach space.
For more information on how to get involved with the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative programming throughout the year, click here.
Click on the following for photos from our Los Angeles and Long Beach programs.
IYLI Long Beach participants look at a Torah while visiting a Jewish Temple.
Rev. Susan Russell, Episcopal priest and activist at All Saints Church in Pasadena, is shown speaking at a press conference at the Islamic Center of Southern California after the bombings in Boston. (SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini)
Faith based leaders discussed the tragedy in Boston Marathon at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles Friday, April 19, 2013. On behalf of the Islamic Center of Southern California and Muslim community at large, we extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers for the families of those who died and were injured as a result of the explosions during the Boston marathon. We pray that the perpetrators are apprehended and brought to justice ASAP. In the current climate of unknown fears and misunderstandings about Muslims interfaith leaders seek to enhance understanding and perpetuate peace among people across all faiths.
Aziza Hasan, NVP’s Director of Interfaith Programs, sharing the Abrahamic Faith Peace Making Initiative (AFPI) curriculum on peace building in the Abrahamic traditions with, Jocelyn Anne Armstrong, an educator who wrote a curriculum for high school students on world religions in New Zealand.
From April 23-25, 2013, Aziza Hasan, our Director of Interfaith Programs, was one of 300 people from 70 countries world-wide selected to take part in the Tenth Annual Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, in Doha, Qatar. She shared her expertise in effective ways to engage in interfaith dialogue with attendees from around the world. She also appeared on Qatar State television as well as Cordoba television.
One of the strangest traditions in the Christian church is that of washing people’s feet. Usually when folks outside of the Christian tradition hear about it, they arch their eyebrows and ask “what?”. My own daughter said “eeew” when she heard about what Pope Francis did. But footwashing started with Jesus, who washed his disciples’ feet during the Last Supper. It was meant to show his humility and willingness to serve his followers by taking up a dirty job (think 1st century sandals, dusty roads, and no pavement). Continue reading