FPS and MCC Youth travel to New York for social justice work


FPS and MCC Youth travel to New York for social justice work
Back row: Sam Houlihan, Missy Sturtevant, Ella Houlihan, Lindsay Kurina, Rhia Henderson, Tim Sobkowicz, Edj Andres, Buren Andrews, Robbie Govine, Olivia Chizzo, Roberta Altamari, and Rob Slattery. Front row: John Doherty, Kenna Robertson, and Sonia Prince. Photo/Submitted

Sudbury – Eleven youth and four adults from First Parish of Sudbury Unitarian Universalist and Memorial Congregational Church joined together to travel to New York City Feb. 22 and 23 to learn about and work with the homeless and hungry communities. The group spent two days participating in the Youth Service Opportunities Program and were inspired by the lessons learned and experiences shared.

The program included education, sharing a dinner with people who are homeless, hearing a talk by a local man who has been volunteering in soup kitchens for 17 years, and doing service work in New York City soup kitchens. Stereotypes were broken as the youth met actual people who were homeless and hungry. Connections were made, stories were shared, and our teens” understandings of the world were changed.

“This is not at all what I expected,” said youth Tim Sobkowicz.

The morning after the group returned, Sonia Prince wrote on her Facebook wall, “I's tired. I don's like sleeping on the ground. I don's like walking around New York City. I don's like not getting to choose what I eat. I don's like it, and there are so many people out there who this is what their life is. They can's say, “Tomorrow, I am going to wake up in my own house in my own bed and have a breakfast that I like.” They can’t choose what is going to happen to them and they have to rely on other people for their basic needs. I broke the stereotype that homeless people are mean and can's do anything. I was talking to someone and they were so funny and nice and they were really working hard to get their life back on track.”

The Director of Religious Exploration and Youth Ministry at First Parish of Sudbury, Roberta Altamari, has been taking First Parish teens to New York City to participate in the Youth Service Opportunities Program for three years and the youth always return transformed and grateful. She was pleased when Missy Sturtevant, the Minister of Religious Education at Memorial Congregational Church, agreed to team up for this year's trip.

“It was especially meaningful this year to get to do this important work as part of an interfaith team from Sudbury,” Altamira said. “We hope to partner up for future service projects.”

First Parish of Sudbury is a religiously-liberal Unitarian Universalist congregation committed to religious exploration for children, youth, and adults. The Meetinghouse, located at 327 Concord Rd, across from Sudbury Town Hall, is accessible to wheelchair users and those who are hearing impaired. For more information about upcoming events, visit www.fpsudbury.org or call 978-443-2043.



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