Successful “Pre-Emptive Prayer Service for Peace”

On Sunday, October 14th the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative held their “Pre-Emptive Prayer Service for Peace” event at the Iman Cultural Center in Culver City. During the program we had a chance to listen to different prayer chants and the children’s choir from All Saints Episcopal Church. The elders from each faith shared some of their wisdom by reflecting on their interfaith relationships and the younger generation shared their testimonials about their own interfaith experiences. The program came to a close with a blessing from each faith tradition. This event shows that we can always learn something new from each other. The importance of striving for an understanding and acceptance of another person’s beliefs rather than settling for tolerance for another faith was displayed over and over again throughout the event and is something that we should all strive for.

Meet New Vision Partners’ Inaugural Advisory Board

This fall, NVP is proud to announce it’s first-ever Advisory Board!  These are leaders in the interfaith community who are supportive of NVP’s work and are advising us on our programs and direction.  Please meet them!

Varun Soni

 

Varun Soni

Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

 

Paige Eaves

 

Paige Eaves

Pastor, University United Methodist Church (Irvine, CA)

 

 

Sarah Bassin

 

 

Rabbi Sarah Bassin

Temple Emmanuel (Beverly Hills, CA)

 

 

Jim Burklo

 

 

Rev. Jim Burklo

Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

 

Beau Shapiro

 

Rabbi Beau Shapiro

Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Los Angeles)

 

Jay Keller

 

Jay Keller

Director of Outreach and Operations, Interfaith Alliance (Washington DC)

 

Neil Comess-Daniels

 

 

Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels

Temple Beth Shir Shalom (Santa Monica, CA)

 

 

Don Miller

 

 

Donald E. Miller

Firestone Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California and Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture

 

Lorna Miller

 

 

Lorna Miller

Former Director of Office of Creative Connections, All Saints Church ( Pasadena), former Executive Director, New Vision Partners

 

Aryeh Cohen

 

 

Aryeh Cohen

Professor of Rabbinic Literature at American Jewish University

 

Salam Al-Maryati

 

 

Salam Al-Maryati

Executive Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council

 

 

George Regas

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. George Regas

Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church ( Pasadena, CA)

 

Noriaki Ito

 

 

Bishop Noriaki Ito

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple (Los Angeles, CA)

Now Accepting Mentor Applications for IYLI 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.

Meet Karishma Gokhale, an “IYLI Throughout the Year” Participant

Karishma Gokhale (left) took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach activities that took place once a month from July to December of 2013. Karishma was one of the twelve IYLI participants that volunteered at the Long Beach Rescue Mission to serve lunch to the homeless the weekend before Thanksgiving. Read below what Ms. Gokhale has to say about the service event and our IYLI program.
I first heard about IYLI through my friend, Neha Jain. All I knew about it at first was that she had done some 3-day program in the beginning of the summer. She started telling me how interesting it was, and how she had met so many amazing people from different faiths and cultures, and got to experience things she would not have encountered otherwise. It sounded really exciting to me because of the events she had done and because it was more of a real world experience outside of the bubble I was used to. I decided to join.
The most inspiring activity I participated in was when IYLI went to serve food at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. We were in charge of preparing the food and serving it too. This was eye-opening but also really saddening when a few weeks later it made me think: “Where will that mom with the two little daughters be sleeping tonight?” It made me really want to go back and help out more. I think it was a great event by IYLI because this program is all about creating understanding between different faiths and one of the biggest things in all faiths is giving back to the community. I think the best part was when we sat down and actually had a meal with the homeless men and women we were serving. I had some pretty interesting and funny conversations with some of the people there.
Overall, I learned a lot from IYLI about different faiths and, also, more about my own faith and how I associate myself with it. I also was put into situations, such as volunteering at the homeless shelter, or met people that I would not have encountered because of this program. I think this was a really good experience overall and I am definitely going to recommend it to other high school students.

Meet Kayla Asemanfar and Ian Liu, 1st Place Winners of New Vision Partners’ Film Competition

During the summer of 2013, Kayla Asemanfar took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach program. Since then, she has participated in New Vision Partners’ Film Competition along with her friend, Ian Liu. The theme for the competition was “Interfaith Cooperation through Service.” Kayla and Ian received 1st Place for their short film “Service through Friendship.” Read below, a short interview we conducted with Ms. Asemanfar. Watch their video HERE!
1. How did the IYLI Summer 2013 program inspire you? 
After attending IYLI Summer 2013 program, I am much more interested in expanding my knowledge about different religions. I am inspired to truly get to know a religion and not judge it based on what society or the media say about it.
2. How did your IYLI experience influence your film submission?
IYLI showed me that all religions have central concepts of compassion, friendship, trust, diversity, acceptance, and love. Although different religions show these themes in different ways, these central themes and more can be found at the core of each religion. This influenced our submission because we came to realize that no matter what religion someone practices, they know that helping others is first priority. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, etc. Religious texts describe how if someone doesn’t have the same faith as you and even if they have no faith at all, they deserve the same respect and help that others do.
3. Why is interfaith work important to you and in society today?
I think interfaith work is especially important in this day and age. Religion seems to create barriers between people these days, and especially in the government, differences in religion and differences in opinion cause many problems for people, especially minorities, in America. I think that working towards understanding other religions is extremely important because you gain other people’s perspectives when you do that. Understanding and acknowledgement of other religions can help solve many of America ‘s and the world’s problems.

Meet Kenady Beaudoin, Founder of First IYLI School Club

During the summer of 2013, Kenady Beaudoin took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach program. Since then, she has been actively applying her experience with New Vision Partners. Read below, a short interview we conducted with Ms. Beaudoin.
1. How did the IYLI Summer 2013 program inspire you? 
 The IYLI Summer 2013 program inspired me to recognize my own judgments and preconceived ideas about people based on their faith. I didn’t even realize that stereotypes were clouding my vision until someone pointed them out. It made me want to share my experience with others.
2. How has the IYLI Summer 2013 program shaped you as a leader?
The IYLI Summer 2013 program shaped me as a leader by teaching me how to encourage interfaith friendships and organize community service. Since the program, I have started Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Club on Los Alamitos High School campus. The goals of the club are to create a broad understanding of all faiths and traditions. We hope that this will encourage what we have found to be 2 universal principles: love and service. We have done multiple activities to allow opportunity for club members to develop love for one another and understand their traditions and beliefs. Our first and current service project is a school-wide food drive competition for We Care (a Hunger/Homeless Prevention Center in our own community) stock their shelves before the holiday season. (see our mission statement on our website: iylilosal.simpl.com)
3. Why is interfaith work important to you and in society today?
 Interfaith work is important to me because, personally, my family and friends are all of diverse background and belief systems. My entire social network is interfaith. Interfaith work is important in society because of the power of love and service. When the youth of one church does a service project, they make a difference. But if 10 different churches are involved, the difference is infinitely greater. Without the help of people from ALL faiths, there is no way our food drive could have become as big as it has.