Metrotown Diversity Institute for Youth to be Held June 16-19, 2014

MTLogotransparentwebOneJax, an institute of the University of North Florida, still has a few openings for teens entering 10th, 11th or 12 grades to participate in its Metrotown Institute, a four-day program that promotes respect and understanding across the differences of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status and ability. The program will be held Monday, June 16th through Thursday, June 19th at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park St in Riverside.

Metrotown Institute brings together high school students to explore living successfully in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. Participants share ideas and feelings, discover their own unique talents, experience a variety of perspectives on diversity issues, multicultural communications, religious traditions, gender roles and self esteem.

“Metrotown is truly a transformative experience for students who complete the program—it opens their eyes and changes the way they see the world,” said Nancy Broner, Executive Director of OneJax. “Dialogue and relationships develop through small group discussions and workshops, creative and artistic activities, outdoor experiences and personal reflection. The teens deal directly with prejudice and discrimination and while they’re learning about people who are different, they’re learning a lot about themselves. Perhaps most transformative, they discover that they actually have a lot in common—despite their differences, they share many similarities.”

The delegates of Metrotown include a broad cross section of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Christians, Muslims, Jews and others.

Students must be referred to the program or endorsed by a sponsor—parent, teacher, counselor, clergy or community leader.  Anyone interested in referring a student for the June session should call the OneJax office at (904) 620-1JAX (1529). Students will be required to complete a Metrotown application to be considered for the program. Applications and additional information can be obtained on the OneJax website – http://bit.ly/1lRoC5G .

“The program is designed for 50 delegates,” said Deidre Lane, OneJax Program Coordinator. “Students will be considered for the program on a first come first serve basis.”

A registration fee of $150 is charged for the program, which includes lunch and snacks daily and dinner on Thursday night. Sponsors are encouraged to help the students raise the registration fee, although no one will be prevented from participating due to an inability to pay.

Metrotown is supported by several primary sponsors, including United Way of Northeast Florida, the Jaguars Foundation and the University of North Florida,

Through education, community building and advocacy, OneJax Institute works to make Northeast Florida a better place for everyone by celebrating differences and identifying all we have in common. Its core programs include Metrotown, an intensive, week-long teen diversity program; LOUD (Leaders of United Diversity), where Metrotown graduates bring the message of respect and appreciation for religious, racial and cultural differences into their schools; Interfaith and Community Forums, periodic forums for public dialogue and civil discourse on diversity and community building; and Advocacy, working to promote issues of importance to the OneJax mission. In addition, OneJax partners with the Aspen Institute and the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida on Project Breakthrough, an initiative to change the story of race in Jacksonville. For more information go to www.onejax.org or call 904.620.1JAX.

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