When I look back to where we started with CARP in Grand Rapids, I see God working. Personally, I was never very interested in doing CARP, perhaps because I did not have the right understanding of what it was and I limited myself. Since childhood, I have been very attracted to the idea of becoming a pastor or a church representative, but CARP never crossed my mind.
But now, you can call me “the CARP guy.” After studying Father Moon’s words on CARP and the history of CARP, I am convinced that if we are to revive the spirit of our movement and bring it back the youthful spirit that characterized it in its early years, CARP is the way to do it. CARP is a movement of the Principle.
How did I become so hooked on CARP?
The idea came when I had to give a speech in my class on something that I am very passionate about. I struggled to find a topic that was not related to God, religion, or soccer. If you are really paying attention to what is going on on the college campuses, you’d know that topics related to God and religion are not very welcomed, and soccer didn’t seem the right fit.
I made up my mind to talk about sexual purity, but I had to find a title that would grab my audience’s attention. I titled it: “Sexual Purity: a Solution to Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” My professor, despite being a Christian, wasn’t comfortable with me talking about such a subject because of the repercussions it might cause in the class. I wouldn’t be saying the truth if I said I wasn’t scared. However, I took it very seriously because I saw it as an opportunity to convey a message from God.
“To find a solution to a problem, we need to know its cause. The reason we haven’t found a solution to the problem of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is that we focus on the effects rather than on the cause. STD’s are the effects of sex outside of marriage; to solve the problem, we have to do the opposite of what we have been doing, which is absolute abstinence before marriage and absolute fidelity in marriage,” I said in my speech in front of forty of my classmates.
Speaking Up on Campus
To my big surprise and contrary to the negative response I expected, I was applauded and even congratulated by my professor and some of my classmates. On that day I learned that although the flame of the truth is overshadowed by the false philosophy that is popular in our society, nothing can stop it from burning. I felt a call to bring back the flame of truth at my campus.
From the time that I learned that I have the support of my community and that of the CARP National team, I felt empowered to establish a chapter. I felt the support from God in every step I took to register CARP as an official club on campus. It looked like people were already prepared to support the establishment of CARP at Grand Rapids Community College. Every person I spoke to was ready to support.
Because of that, I could easily relate to Mother Moon’s words that if we unite with her, miracles can happen. Yes, if we unite with the person God is working through and move forward denying ourselves, we can achieve what seems impossible to achieve.
I declared I would start a CARP chapter at Grand Rapids Community College for my new year’s resolution for 2017 and on September 8, 2017, CARP was officially recognized. As of today, we have 15 members registered with CARP, and the number is set to increase before the end of this winter semester. We meet twice a week: on Mondays for a CARP Talk with either a guest speaker or a student presenting on a topic they are passionate about in conformity with our CARP principles. On Tuesdays, we meet for Divine Principle study.
I am very grateful for the brothers and sisters who are tirelessly working to bring guests to our weekly meetings. I have a lot of hope that through CARP, we can bring victory.
In my last semester of college, I took a course in Global Health Diplomacy where the professor for the course called himself the Ambassador for Health. Having studied Diplomacy and International Relations for the past four years, this didn’t seem right to me since I was aware that the US government did not have an official position for a Health Minister.
I quickly came to realize that this professor who studied in the medical field intending to become a doctor decided at some point to change course in his career plans. Instead of becoming a practitioner, this professor took his extensive knowledge of medicine and health and essentially created his own position as he became the first U.S. diplomat of ambassador rank appointed to a public health mission.
More than anything else I took away from that course a new perspective on what it means to have a career. This professor had a role in mind that he wanted to fill and he was able to achieve that through his own unique creativity. Had he followed a path so many others had paved before him, he might not have made a unique and valuable contribution.
CARP’s last but not least Unification Principle is that “we contribute to society through mastery of our unique creativity.” This is the message that college graduates (of any year) need to hear.
Passion Isn’t Enough
It’s become commonplace to offer certain pieces of advice to college students that are actually quite misleading and incomplete. “Follow your passion” is a very attractive message. But relying on passion alone will not make you happy in the end.
Consider this graph that shows the relationship between a sample of student’s passions and the available jobs in those industries. If you cannot make a living with your passion, how long will that passion keep you happy?
Even some of the most successful people today did not necessarily follow their passion and yet they are passionate about their work. In many of these cases, people took on opportunities that eventually led to their passion.
For example, Steve Jobs – a pretty successful guy – became passionate about technology after a myriad of jobs and experiences that had little to do with his career at Apple. Jobs also made a valuable contribution to society in providing people with a means for greater convenience.
It would seem that helping others and improving society especially in big problem areas can guide a fulfilling career.
Our contributions need to be unique because they need to be diverse. Diversity is at the heart of a healthy and thriving community. In a democracy, diversity in perspectives and ideas can contribute to more inclusive solutions. A company needs diversity in its workforce to succeed in a globalizing world. A campus club like CARP benefits from a diverse membership in contributing to exciting and relatable programs and events.
Finding Your Creativity
Instead of following your passion (which is a state of passivity), take control and master your unique creativity which will then lead to a passion-driven life. But before you can master anything, you need to be able to identify the thing you are mastering.
So, if you haven’t already, how do you find your unique creativity? You need to take the time to ask a number of key questions about your life experience so far.
Take out a pen and paper and start with these:
Name the top 3 peak experiences in your life. What do they have in common? What does this tell you about yourself?
What are 3 of your most proud accomplishments? What were the key elements that defined this experience – the task, the skill set you drew upon, and the nature of the impact you made?
What are 3 big problems in the world that interest you? What would you like to tell your children and grandchildren about what you accomplished in your career? How will you explain to them what career you chose?
Happiness in your career is the cross between what you love, what you’re good at, and where you can make the greatest contribution to society. For more questions around your unique contribution, read through this article by Oliver Segovia in the Harvard Business Review.
We all have our unique creativity fueled by our interests and skills (which embodies passion), but sometimes the voices of other people cloud what we might already know and believe about ourselves. This is why it’s important to think out these questions on your own.
Whether you are fixed on a career path or not, take the time to ask yourself the right questions, consider your answers, and write them down. Then, you can set aside the question of what and focus on the how.
To master your unique creativity and offer that to the world will do wonders for your career.
Takanari Sonoda shares a testimony about last year’s Japan trip which led to the start of a new CARP chapter.
“One of the biggest inspirations for wanting to establish CARP at El Camino College was because of the CARP Japan trip that I went to last summer. During the trip, I was able to experience how beautiful and alive a principled lifestyle could be. Also the testimony from the new CARP members about how the principle and CARP changed them and even saved them really touched me.
These experiences really made me want to spread principle at my college campus. I also saw how great it would be for students to have a place to keep learning, practicing, and spreading the principle in their college years. I was really lucky to have a big group of supportive friends, parents, and other community members, which helped create a spiritual foundation to establish CARP in El Camino.
We started out simply by reading the Divine Principle together once a week and discussing what we needed to do to establish a CARP club. There were many obstacles we had to face like getting paperwork done, searching for an adviser, and fulfilling certain qualifications to be officers in the club. I found myself many times facing personal problems and limitations. Despite all of the obstacles, one thing I learned throughout the process of trying to establish CARP is the importance of connecting vertically.
There were many times where I I tried to do things on my own without informing my central figures about the situation and almost always, things did not go to plan. I really felt that with my central figures’ awareness of the situation and praying for us, Heavenly Parent could set the condition to really mobilize spirit world to help us with what we needed to accomplish.
Another thing I learned was the importance of a trinity by working with my two friends, Song Yong and Kodai. If one of us couldn’t do something or show up somewhere, we were able to support each other to accomplish what needed to be done. I felt that Heavenly Parent really worked through that.
After CARP became official on campus, we organized a ‘CARP Introduction’ event. I was really nervous up to the very end, especially in the few days leading up to it. I struggled with logistical things like reserving a room for our meeting. I was in a lot of stress trying to figure it out when I thought to ask the Robotics Club if we could use their room for the event. Since I was a part of the robotics club, they agreed to let me use the room.
On the day of the ‘CARP Introduction’ event, there was still no response to the emails we sent to the people who were interested in CARP at Club Rush (where campus clubs can set up a table for recruits). I decided to text them and still there were no replies. I did not want to give up and I started to invite anyone via text and also inviting students while walking across campus.
Surprisingly, I met a lot of classmates I usually don’t bump into who said they would come! I also got a confirmation text from someone who only met us once at the beginning of the semester. I couldn’t remember what they looked like but I was excited they were coming!
In that instant, I felt extremely grateful and happy towards Heavenly Parent. Upon reflection, I see that my happiness was also Heavenly Parent’s happiness. I could see that when I was working hard, Heavenly Parent was working even harder.
As it got closer to the ‘CARP Introduction’ event, I headed towards the room to prepare and to my surprise, there were Robotics Club members there. I had thought no one was using the room since I got the permission to use it. In the end, it worked out for the better because they were willing to participate in our event, too.
During the event, CARP LA members from other campuses came to support us and our adviser was also able to come. So, it was a one big miracle! What I could take away from this whole experience is that Heavenly Parent is working hard every moment of the day and has many things prepared. However, it is up to us and our efforts to accomplish the things that Heavenly Parent has prepared for us. Every opportunity is precious.”
As you may know, about 120 participants are preparing for CARP’s Intercultural Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea from June 19 to July 4 (coming up soon!). These students are preparing for an incredible, global experience and one of the ways they are preparing is through fundraising.
Fundraising is a great opportunity to work towards your goal and feel ownership over your trip. We offer 10 creative ways to raise funds and support this trip, whether you are a student, parent, or working professional. Join us!
Start a Crowdfunding Campaign
You may have seen some of your friends who started campaigns on GoFundMe or YouCaring or a similar site. Crowdfunding focuses on helping you reach out on your social media platforms and share with your connections and networks. When many people give a little, it makes it a lot easier to reach your goal. Some campaigns focus on supporting the overall trip for all participants (see Takayo’s GoFundMe) while others focus on supporting one participant’s personal expenses (see Gareth’s GoFundMe).
Host an online peer-to-peer page with CARP HQ
If you are a bit intimidated about starting a crowdfunding campaign and don’t know how to start, work with us at CARP Headquarters! Our Network For Good software allows us to create multiple campaigns that are easy to use and helps you track your progress. You don’t have to worry about the details – just make a goal and share with friends! If interested, contact Teresa Rischl at email@example.com
Host a Bake Sale
Everyone loves sweet snacks (even if we resist them for the sake of dieting). Here’s a great way to meet people, share about your cause, and taste some yummy treats! It’s even better when you can work with some friends or a team to bake cookies, cupcakes, brownies, etc. and ask for permission to set up a table at your local church, school, or work. This is an easy way to get started.
Ask friends and family to support YOUR experience
Here’s the secret to fundraising: People give to people. While we all want to support different causes, we all want to feel connected to something, too. Keep it simple and talk to those closest to you – share with them what you’re doing, why it matters to you, what difference it will make (keep it personal), and voila! When loved ones see the passion and enthusiasm you have for this trip, they will trust and support you. Now get out there, share, and ask! Most people will give just because you asked!
You know all those clothes, games, and things just collecting dust in your home? As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Host a yard sale to raise some funds and even let people know that the proceeds will go towards your intercultural trip (you may get a few extra donations!). You can even pool together with other friends or neighbors and ask if they have something they could contribute. Selling things online also works.
Host a dinner party
Have you ever noticed how people are much happier after eating a delicious, home-cooked meal? Let people know you’d like to host a dinner party to support your trip and use it as a chance to share why it’s important to you. A special bonus tip is to schedule another dinner party after you return from your trip to share with them your experience and show pictures.
Pick up an odd job
Summer break is a great time to pick up odd jobs like babysitting, mowing lawns, cleaning homes, and more. Ask around to see how you can help others in support of your fundraiser.
Commission your art
Are you creative? Put it to good use by asking people to buy your artwork – it can be drawings, paintings, woodwork, jewelry, etc. Get creative and remember to share with people why you raising funds (it gives them incentive to spend just a little bit more on something, knowing it’s going to a good cause).
Host a car wash
Gather some friends and partner with a local gas station. This is a great opportunity to get some sun, share with people in the community, and have some soapy fun!
Make it themed
So you are going on an Intercultural Exchange Trip this summer – awesome! Share the culture with others so they can appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of other cultures, too. Sell Japanese or Korean-related items like origami, calligraphy, etc. This can be a great way to engage Japanese and Korean members of your community and share the best of their culture.
The bottom line – fundraising can be really FUN (it’s even in the name FUNdraising). It’s a great way to prepare for your trip and really invest into the experience. Remember, the most important thing in fundraising is to make the ask. Invite people to be part of the experience and even better, follow-up with them afterwards so they know how their donations impacted you.
Here’s an interview with one of the international student winners of a sponsorship to visit CARP Los Angeles.
In July 2016, there was a ‘Global Top Gun Youth’ workshop organized in Korea where youth from 63 nations gathered for leadership training and education. At this workshop, FFWPU Continental Director for North America, Dr. Kim, offered to sponsor two international students to visit one of the CARP centers in America in an effort to promote cultural exchange. After an application and selection process, two final candidates were chosen from Uruguay and the Philippines. Here is a little bit about the finalist from CARP Uruguay.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Carina Mendez and I am 19 years old. I’m currently studying Communications at the Uruguay National University. My father is Uruguayan and my mother is Brazilian. I have one younger brother currently enrolled in a one-year fundraising and outreach program in Argentina.
My family – my brother, father, mother and myself.
I like every kind of sport. I play guitar but I’m not so good with music. I like to read. I love watching Korean dramas and my most recent hobby is making short movies. My dream is to make professional films or series through which we can teach stories from the Divine Principle book. I also take care of the youth in my community by organizing workshops and other activities for them to engage in.
What is CARP like in Uruguay? What kind of activities have you done with CARP?
CARP in Uruguay is still a relatively small group but we are slowly growing and expanding. We meet up every week and discuss how our week was, the challenges we faced, and then we read some words from Father and Mother Moon and share our goals for the upcoming week together.
We also get together to do other activities such as clean up the church before Sunday Service and then we also take on various responsibilities such as music, lighting, emceeing, greeting, etc. for the Sunday Service.
We often help out with other events organized by the Universal Peace Federation.
We also run workshops for middle and high school students, Divine Principle workshops for guests, and we practice giving Divine Principle lectures, too.
Me (middle), my brother (right of me), and other 2nd generation at Militar High School Festival.
Why did you decide to be a part of CARP?
Once I entered college, it was natural for me to become engaged with CARP. I felt like it was the right place and time for me to make a contribution by being a part of this organization. I want to help in the realization of God’s dream and change other people’s lives with the Divine Principle. I want everyone to feel the culture of heart in CARP.
What is the most memorable activity that you did with CARP and why? What did you learn from it?
Last July, I prepared a youth seminar for middle and high school students. It was so difficult for me to take care of everything alone. I really felt that I needed to grow and develop more in order for me to become better equipped to take on this responsibility. That is why I decided to go to the ‘Global Top Gun Youth’ workshop in Korea.
Me on the Peace Road in Korea where I had the pleasure of representing my country.
At Top Gun, I thought, “Well, I came here to learn how to take care of middle and high school students but they are talking all the time about CARP. Maybe God is trying to tell me something.”
With that in mind, at the next middle and high school workshop in December, I worked together with the CARP team in Uruguay. They helped me a lot with everything. This workshop helped to bring us closer together as a team. So much so that we ended up preparing another seminar together where we did the lectures and everything. Through this experience, I learned that CARP has a lot to offer and that in order to accomplish something big, we have to work together. I learned that if you work as a team, everything is lighter and more fun.
Have you ever been on an exchange program? If yes, where and what did you do?
I went to the Global Top Gun workshop in Korea in 2016. And I also went to Kodiak, Alaska for the National Ocean Challenge Program in 2015. Then, I also did a one-year fundraising and outreach program in Argentina.
My father and I participating in the Ocean Challenge program in Kodiak, Alaska.
Do you think it is valuable for students to do an exchange program? What did you gain from the exchange?
I think to have an open mind we absolutely need exchange programs. You can always learn from other countries and their experiences in the providence. From my experience with exchange programs, I was able to learn new ideas and different ways to do the same thing. Thanks to that, I could change and try new things in my own country. That is good because when you spend a lot of time doing the same thing in the same way, you eventually end up uninspired and bored. But when you go out and see different realities, you can get new inspiration to change your own reality.
What are you most looking forward to on this trip to CARP Los Angeles?
I want to see what a CARP chapter in America is like and how it functions. It will be good to learn from our older brothers and sisters who have more experience than us. But the thing I most want is to find a spiritual child in America. I will do my best for that! And finally, I have to admit my enthusiasm in going to Los Angeles is also because that’s where every Hollywood movie begins. That is a dream to me!
What do you hope to gain and bring back to your own local CARP chapter?
I really hope to be able to gain the tools that will allow CARP Uruguay to develop more quickly. Through this experience, I hope to bring back with me some new ideas and ways to work more efficiently and effectively.