The OneJax Institute at the University of North Florida is now accepting applications from teens entering grades 10 through 12 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 Institute will take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, June 12, to Wednesday, June 14, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park St.
“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, OneJax executive director. “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.”
The Metrotown Institute brings together high school students to explore living successfully in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. Participants will share ideas and feelings, discover their own unique talents, and experience a variety of perspectives on diversity issues, multicultural communications, religious traditions, gender roles and self-esteem, while earning 35 community service hours for their involvement. There will be small group discussions and workshops, creative and artistic activities, outdoor experiences and personal reflection.
Students must be referred to the program or endorsed by a sponsor, such as a parent, teacher, counselor, clergy or community leader. Anyone interested in referring a student should contact OneJax at (904) 620-1529. Students will be required to complete an application to be considered. Applications and additional information can be obtained at www.OneJax.org.
The program is designed for 50 students, who will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee is $150, which includes daily lunch and snacks as well as dinner on the final night. Sponsors are encouraged to help students raise money to cover the registration fee, although no one will be prevented from participating due to an inability to pay.
Metrotown is supported by the United Way of Northeast Florida and UNF. As an interfaith organization, the OneJax Institute at UNF educates, advocates and builds community to promote respect and understanding that will overcome bias, bigotry and oppression.