The OneJax Institute at the University of North Florida is now accepting applications from teens entering grades 9 through 12 to participate in its Sandy Miller 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.
This year, OneJax is holding two Metrotown sessions for participants to choose from. Session A is Monday, June 17, through Thursday, June 20, and Session B is Monday, July 22, through Thursday, July 25, both at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park St., Jacksonville, FL, 32204.
“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.”
For close to 30 years, Metrotown has brought together high school students to explore living successfully in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. Participants will earn 35 community service hours for their involvement while sharing ideas and feelings, discovering their own unique talents and experiencing a variety of perspectives on diversity issues, multicultural communications, religious traditions, gender roles and self-esteem. 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 and parents or guardians must complete an application to be considered. Applications and additional information can be obtained via the webpage.
The program can accommodate up to 50 students per session, 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 United Way of Northeast Florida, Florida Blue Foundation, Delores Barr Weaver Fund, David and Monique Miller and UNF. As an interfaith organization, the OneJax Institute at UNF is dedicated to achieving civility, understanding and respect for all through education, dialogue and community-building.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.