INDIALANTIC – Living in a connected world through social media and 24-hour news can often show too many negative things happening daily, yet local teens have banded together to spread a little positivity.
A group of 15- to 20-year-olds from faith communities such as Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Open Mind Zen Center, Unity of Melbourne, the Islamic Society of Brevard County and the Baha’i Community have joined to form the InterFaith Alliance of Brevard Youth Group.
Earlier this fall, the teens worked with their faith communities to collect items to send to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. They contacted Ace Hardware of Indialantic for additional assistance, and on Nov. 10 a truck loaded with five generators and 12 water purification systems was sent out to San Juan.
According to a press release, “the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance team in Puerto Rico will distribute the much needed supplies in the Mayaguez area where relief has been slow to arrive. An aerial view of Mayaguez reveals a scarred landscape, where numerous mudslides have contributed to the impassible roads and washed out bridges.”
InterFaith Alliance of Brevard Youth Adviser Julie Rogers-Martin said the local group was created as a result of a women’s retreat at Eastminster Presbyterian Church.
“We felt we were called by God to do something to offset the division and hatred so prevalent in our society,” she explained. “The youth started coming to the original meetings and they were a force to be reckoned with. They wanted to do something significant in service on a regular basis.”
The teens meet at 12:30 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month in the Eastminster Presbyterian Church Youth Room, 106 N. Riverside Dr., Indialantic.
Officials stated that the group continues to grow with recent members from Jewish and Catholic congregations, and many of the world’s major religions are represented as they meet for prayer, listening and community service.
“They see the world heading in a troublesome direction and they want to do everything in their power to change it by turning the tide back to faith, hope, love and compassion,” Mrs. Rogers-Martin said. “They believe that it is through our faith groups working together that this can happen most efficiently and effectively.”
The teens’ next project involves working with the Eau Gallie Arts District’s Anti-Gravity mural project. The teens will be painting on the garage door of the Horn Section Music Store from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.
“They will be painting their concept of ‘Turning the Tide,’” Mrs. Rogers-Martin said. “At that time they will also be asking for people to create a ‘Quilt of Hope.’ Small squares of fabric will be given with fabric paint and markers for others to creatively express where they see evidence of hope.”
These collected pieces of fabric will be sewn together and given back to the community as a gift, according to Mrs. Rogers-Martin.
The teens’ goals for the InterFaith Alliance of Brevard Youth Group include having an InterFaith Club in every high school, as well as engaging in “advocacy on local levels with regard to Earth care and food insecurity,” Mrs. Rogers-Martin added.
Next February, the group will host an art show titled “Turning the Tide” at Derek Gores Gallery in the Eau Gallie Arts District to raise funds for community projects, advocacy trips and cross-cultural leadership training.
“Youth are just beginning to see how much of an impact they have,” Mrs. Rogers-Martin said. “When they speak, our community listens. When they want to learn about other faiths and ways to combat the fear that is being rampantly spread, then we encourage and guide them in their endeavors. They have amazing ideas. It fosters hope in all of us when we see what they can do when they put their minds and hearts together for others.”
For more information, call (321) 723-8371, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or search for “InterFaith Alliance of Brevard” on Facebook.