Hi! My name is Melanie Walsh, and I participated in IOOBY this past summer. I'm a junior at Myers Park high school and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. While I was not able to attend the first youth council meeting, I have been truly inspired by my experiences with Mecklenburg Ministries so far and I'm so excited for this year. On Saturday, a group of us went to Urban Ministries to help them prepare for an upcoming art show on September 14th. The showing will be accompanied by a local food tasting and all proceeds from both events will benefit the artists and Urban Ministry Center. It was really moving for me to see how our neighbors turned painful life experiences into amazing works of art and symbols of hope. The pieces ranged from pop art to religious-themed to funky abstract art, and were all really beautiful. We did a lot of cleaning, sanitizing, and moving objects around to make the space look nice for the Art Showing. It was wonderful to look around the gallery and outdoor space after we had finished and see how much better everything looked. I really enjoyed volunteering at Urban Ministries, and I'm looking forward to the rest of our Youth Council activities this year!
Hi my name is Patricia and I participated in In Our Own Backyard Interfaith camp this year. I am so thankful I got to be a part of the wonderful opportunities it had to offer. All during the camp my eyes were opened to the harsh realities of poverty in the Charlotte area , the different people that live "In Our Own Backyard" and how we can come together as one big family, just like tonight at the meeting.
I would like to say thank you to the Mecklenburg Ministries youth council's co-president's Elana and Olivia and Meara, the head of communications for making tonight's meeting successful and productive. We ate yummy food and played get to know you games with it seemed like 100 tennis balls, a beach ball and some socks rolled up like balls. Haha I hope the socks were clean. After getting to know all the awesome youth council members we talked about special events and dates coming up, we threw out some ideas on a name and a creative logo and fund raising ideas, we received information on the runnings for more whole group leadership opportunities and more. Everyone has such bright and inspiring ideas to share.
I hope to see some new faces at the next meeting next month on the second Tuesday at 6:15!
Mecklenburg Ministries Interfaith Youth Council is holding its first all-council meeting tonight at 6pm. The returning members are looking forward to meeting the new members who participated in In Our Own Backyard, an intense four day experience which united a diverse group of students of different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds this past summer. We hope to start off the meeting with introductions and some fun icebreakers to lighten the mood and get to know each other better.
After each meeting, one member of the council will share his or her account of the meeting, what was enjoyable, who dominated the game that month, anything he or she learned, a comment on our discussion of a Hot Topic, a favorite joke of the night, or whatever that member feels like sharing (within reason). As the lucky first poster, I have the privilege of setting up the format for all future blog posts. Yes! I will start by telling you all a little bit about myself and my work on the Mecklenburg Ministries Interfaith Youth Council. Maybe I can set this trend now because I would hope (hint hint) that all future posters will start off with a short introduction.
Here goes. Hi. I am Elana Burack. I am a Senior at Providence Day School this year, and I am a member of Temple Israel in Charlotte and Temple Kol Ami in Fort Mill, SC. I attended In Our Own Backyard during the summer of 2012, and it remains one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I loved that the experience continued at monthly Youth Council meetings with older and newer "Backyarders" throughout the year. I am very pleased with the work that we accomplished last year: the community-wide Thanksgiving Service, Cardboard Campout to simulate a chilly night of homelessness, and the Beyond Bullying Summit are just a few of the highlights.
As Co-President of the Council with Olivia Jackson-Jordan this year, I am eager to help lead the group. As I have seen, our unique council has the potential to impact the community in a huge way, and I know that with some fresh faces and willing minds, we can harness our power as a group and do work that we can be proud of.
Until next time,