Garden State MOSAIC is a multi-faith educational program focused on middle and high school youth and centered in the Monmouth County area of New Jersey. The program is cosponsored by the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) and the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission (MCHRC).
The program began in 2013, and since then, more than 100 teens from throughout Monmouth County representing a variety of belief systems and faiths have come together to learn, share, and serve. The youth that were engaged in this program not only learned about other religions and faiths but they also became more interested and knowledgeable about their own belief systems. This unintended result has been observed in other interfaith programs and is elaborated upon in Eboo Patel’s book, “Acts of Faith”. Patel’s book has also been a great source of inspiration for the creation of Garden State MOSAIC.
How Does it Work?
Garden State MOSAIC is a free program offered to teens throughout Monmouth County. Spaces are limited, and an application form must be submitted by prospective students and a selection process is used to assure adequate diversity and balance. The application process for the 2016-2017 program year closed in October. Most program sessions are held at locations in the Middletown and Freehold sections of Monmouth County. Each session is conducted on a Sunday afternoon, roughly every other week (adjusting as needed for holidays), and includes a presentation of each faith group by the participating teens, tours of the houses of worship, a cultural meal, and a leadership activity. Throughout the year, the teens develop and implement a joint service project.
The first session for the 2016-2017 program year is scheduled for Sunday, September 25, 2016, from 3:30 - 5:30. The rest of the calendar will be available soon.
Garden State MOSAIC is a unique program that empowers its young participants to work collaboratively in small group settings for invaluable interfaith education, to practice leadership and communication skills. The program also provides an opportunity for students to learn positive and constructive ways of addressing the differences in values and norms between the many different faith traditions that have become part of our ever-changing society.