On November 1st and 8th, CARP Las Vegas held special ‘Campus Talks’ on their two campuses, College of Southern Nevada (CSN) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), with the theme “Peace Starts with Me.” This event was inspired by Mother Moon’s Peace Starts with Me Rally at Madison Square Garden (MSG) earlier this year.
The purpose of the Campus Talks was to create a space for professors and staff to share their knowledge and wisdom to students and to strengthen the relationship between the two. The goal was to create a cultural shift on the campuses to be more positive, interconnected, and empowering.
To help get the word out, CARP members went to over eighty classes to make an announcement and invite students to attend. Some of the professors even gave extra credit to the students who attended. CARP students also performed live music throughout campus and passed out flyers to advertise.
“One of the most exciting things about preparing for this Campus Talk was the unity and passion that we felt to make it happen. This time, it wasn’t just the usual CARP staff who made it happen, but it was a unified effort of all the students who are involved in CARP and who have been studying [Unification Principles] this semester. We had a campaign to ask permission from professors to speak in front of their class about the event.
Everybody contributed to make that happen, even people who had only meet CARP a week before. It gave everyone a sense of ownership over this event and CARP’s vision. I think it was the power of that unity that made it a great event. Also, we all contributed on the day of the event in playing music at our booth on campus and passing out flyers to students.
Through holding the event, and through all of our effort to reach out to students leading up to it, I felt that we were able to make our presence known on the UNLV campus, and we could feel that we are taking responsibility to bring a culture of love and truth to the student body.” – Jinil Fleischman, CARP UNLV President
The theme “Peace Starts with Me” was close to the hearts of the Las Vegas community because of the recent shooting at Mandalay Bay. The idea of peace was very comforting to professors and students alike.
Each of the professors who spoke were introduced at the event by a student who had a personal connection with them. The speakers all shared different stories about how they had pushed for peace in their lives.
CSN, Nov. 1st, 2017
The first event took place at CSN on Nov. 1. They had four speakers who presented in a packed classroom.
The first professor shared about how she grew up in a impoverished, immigrant family and how her community helped her find peace within herself, as a first step in supporting her dreams. She decided to share what she had learned by becoming a teacher.
The second professor shared about how to affect the environment instead of being affected. When asked, “what gets him up everyday?” he answered that every morning he thinks about all the people who believed and invested in him.
The third professor shared that peace is about genuinely giving more than what is expected. Through living for the sake of others, a ripple effect can be created.
The final professor was CARP CSN’s faculty sponsor. He introduced the term “SOS” to mean “Sacrifice Of Selfishness” as a way to create peaceful relationships. He encouraged the audience to practice selflessness in their daily life.
UNLV, Nov. 8th, 2017
UNLV also had four professors share their perspectives and wisdom on peace.
“I really enjoyed the event itself. My favorite part of it was seeing how happy the speakers were to be able to talk about the theme. Though professors have the opportunity to speak to young people a lot, they don’t often have the environment created to be able to share real wisdom like they did in the Campus Talk.
When they were given that opportunity, I could feel how much they care for all the students, and how they want to see all of us happy and successful, and becoming genuinely good people. I was grateful to hear a lot of good feedback from student who attended. In all, at the UNLV Campus Talk, we had nearly 60 guests who came. Not all of them stayed the entire time, but that’s how many people signed in.” – Jinil Fleischman
The first professor shared a personal story of loss and how he overcame his grief through choosing to digest the pain instead of being swallowed by it.
The second professor talked about his ancestors and all they went through to lay a foundation for him to be where he is and to be a positive influence on others.
The third professor shared about her undergrad project on recycling and how it helped UNLV. She shared how challenging it was to complete the project, but persevering allowed her to change her environment.
The fourth professor reminded everyone how blessed they are to live in a culturally diverse community and that by respectfully embracing and collaborating with each other, we can expand opportunities for all.
After the Event
A student that attended the event shared how he wished that there were more students who came because he had gained so much. Another student said there should be a class titled “Peace Starts with Me” to continue these insightful and real sharings.
A faculty member shared how giving this talk gave him hope for the future. He is excited about future collaborations he can do with students to further unite faculty and students. Other staff members were eager to share their own experiences at future events.
Many of the faculty members and students were grateful to CARP for creating this opportunity for dialogue and for organizing this event. CARP LV hopes to spread this initiative for peace and honest sharing throughout Las Vegas, the nation, and world.
“We want to see greater collaboration and synergy between professors and students. We want to see professors who are investing into students as leaders of the future. Not just into their academic and professional selves, but their character and heart.
We want to see professors feeling inspired and passionate to contribute to the vision of peace that CARP brings, and we want to see a student movement that stands for unity and peace. We want to make our Campus Talks an event that happens every semester that students are looking forward to!” – Jinil Fleischman
My name is Denthew Learey; I am 21 years old, and I am the Assistant Pastor of the Belvedere Family Community. I am not one that stands out in a crowd, so I have to compensate with my energetic, comical character.
I love sports. You will often find me on the Frisbee field, ready to compete at the annual Blessed Cultural Sports Festival (BCSF), an annual sports and arts competition for the youth of the Unification Movement. I also love volleyball, but I make sure I take breaks from sports to enjoy endless hours behind a computer screen as well.
Denthew with his team at BCSF.
I am currently enrolled at a community college majoring in the prestigious field of Liberal Arts. I plan to transfer to a university and to continue developing myself, most likely to pursue Psychology and Theology. I would never describe myself as someone who is extremely goal-oriented and driven, but when the passion is uncovered, my will does shine forth and I will fight till the very end.
A Journey of Faith
When I was 16 years old, I began a journey of faith during a desperate prayer, intensely asking God what my purpose, my value, was. At that moment, I met God in the stars. Although shocked and stunned, the incredible warmth and love I felt is unforgettable.
My journey of faith had begun to truly understand the principles that we stand for and live by them.
Denthew and his family.
As I became more confident in who I was, I began to spread my newfound inspiration to those around me and to share love I felt. I began guiding others on their journey of faith to overcome obstacles and to discover their values and beliefs, as had been done for me.
Denthew leading service at his local church.
Along with my faith, my passion in learning and understanding the Divine Principle grew through the countless camps and workshops I have attended and staffed. However, I experienced the most love and growth from my two years on European Special Task Force (STF), a gap year leadership training program.
For me, the Divine Principle (the spiritual text of the Unification Movement) was a real page-turner, and I was enraptured with every word. It just made so much sense. I do exaggerate a bit, but I honestly could see the value of really getting to know and understand the Principle and the truths it holds.
I am here with CARP as a English intern. I am hoping to become better in expressing myself, whether it is through talking, activities, or even through being more organized (an area in my life that is sorely lacking), but especially through words.
I will be helping to write articles and posts to inspire and inform you about CARP and all our wonderful activities.
I will also take this opportunity to grow myself, and take this time in CARP to learn some useful tips and tricks in bettering myself, in smoothing out the rough edges, and in realizing my potential. Let’s go on this journey of growth together!
Before this becomes too long, and for you, the one person still reading this, I would like to personally invite you to reach out and talk. If you need help with anything or just want someone to be your friend, I am here for you! You can reach me at CIGlearey@gmail.com.
CARP Los Angeles (LA) is one of the CARP ‘hubs,’ meaning there are several university chapters that coordinate and work together in a certain region. In Los Angeles, there are 6 registered chapters and one more chapter in development. Being in a hub allows them to share resources and best practices, as well as host workshops that may have been hard for one chapter to do on their own.
From October 21-22, CARP LA held its first two-day Divine Principle Retreat with over sixty people! George Kazakos, a CARP alumnus, was the main presenter, speaking on the principles of creation and how we were meant to live as one family under God.
Between lectures, team leaders facilitated discussions and activities that left participants inspired and motivated to continue to study the Principle as a way to develop themselves, love others, and make a positive impact. One new CARP member said that being in this environment made him realize, “this is where I’m supposed to be.”
“Through the [lecture], I feel like I am beginning to understand the depth of God’s love and also sorrow.” – Fukuyoshi A.
“I was able to visualize and connect the principles to my life.” – Madoka T.
“I really enjoyed getting to know other CARP members from different chapters and getting to discuss and share about what we’re learning together.” – Ellen K.
“The highlight of this workshop was the environment we were in. I really felt so much energy and unity where everyone was on the same page.” – Kayun H.
“My highlight was feeling the energy while everyone sang together. You could feel God was in the room.” – Pedro D.
“The highlight for me was the discussion groups, because the [sharing from others] was very genuine and we were able to have an engaging conversation.” – Takahito K.
“My highlight was how much of a great time I had with my brothers and sisters.” – Gabriel J.
Inviting Special Guest Speakers
The next weekend, CARP LA also had the pleasure of hosting Rev. Nakamura, a CARP alumnus from Japan, who presented to many of the students at the Intercultural Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea this summer.Rev. Nakamura met with CARP chapter leaders and members, sharing his testimony as a CARP member in Japan and meeting Father Moon. He also gave lectures on Unification Thought.
“Today I really liked how he said that we should have 2 mottos–to consider yourself as an important figure, and to talk to God through pray. This inspires me to give it my all, even if something feels insignificant/small.” – Akane H.
“Through his the testimony, I felt how powerful and valuable the Principle is and how it can change many people’s lives.” – Karen T.
“From the testimony, I thought that the most important part was when Nakamura-san said that we should all understand that we are historical figures. Many times I think we forget the importance of our existence and we don’t believe the kind of impact we can have in the world. But I’m glad that I got to hear this because it reminded me of the importance of my existence.” – Takayo H.
“Today’s lecture has really motivated me to become more intentional in thinking about God throughout the whole day, in every moment. This is definitely easier said than done because I am currently a college student, and it isn’t easy to stand up amongst the crowd.” – Kyosei N.
“The testimony about how Nakamura-san kept a humble attitude even in times of trouble or injustice – when he could have been indignant – really inspired me to take a breath and look at the situation and reflect on myself more.” – Mika M.
“When you are faced with intense negative emotions, you should not respond with negative emotions. For instance, when Christ was crucified, instead of responding with indignation or self-centered sorrow, he responded with care and understanding for the human race. I can apply this to my own life by trying to focus on the positive aspects of situations and be more understanding for the opposing side.” – Arnold C.
“I’ve learned so much and look forward to applying it into my daily life, guiding brothers and sisters, and into my foundation of faith in my relation with God.” – Jason H.
Share your stories and inspire others! Email email@example.com!
Woojin speaking during their first CARP meeting this semester.
Meet Woojin Suina: 20 years old from North Lake College in Dallas, Texas. He graduated high school in 2015 and spent two years on a gap year program called Generation Peace Academy (GPA) doing service work and developing his faith.
Although he recently started college this fall, he serves as Vice President of his CARP chapter and expresses great hope for the future of CARP North Lake.
Woojin with other trip participants in Busan, South Korea.
“When I saw [Mother Moon], I felt that by meeting us she was trying to tell us the importance [of CARP] and how much she has faith in us to change the culture on our campuses. That’s why I decided to join CARP.”
He was also inspired by the CARP chapters in Japan and Korea, particularly their endless dedication toward achieving their visions and goals. Woojin hopes to inherit that spirit and determination.
Inspiring a New Culture on Campus
Along with the other officers of CARP at North Lake College, Woojin envisions their CARP chapter being a community of people excited to serve others.
“I want to build a culture where we help others because we want to, and we have fun doing it.”
CARP North Lake’s kick-off BBQ event before school started!
Woojin recognizes his own growth through CARP. After attending GPA, Woojin was worried he would be disconnected from his faith when returning home and going to school. However, being involved in CARP helped keep his faith alive.
“When I entered CARP and started doing CARP activities, I became excited by the Unification Principle. By studying it, I’ve gained a lot of insight about myself. Everything I’ve learned on GPA, I can apply in my life [through CARP]. It’s been really stressful because I have work and CARP and school, but I always keep my faith first wherever I go, and I feel more aligned and productive. Recently, I discovered what I want to do in my life. It’s been a really great experience.”
Woojin (left) with CARP Chapter President at North Lake College, Hiromi Iida (right).
CARP North Lake was started in fall semester of 2016 by Chapter President Hiromi Iida. Since Hiromi will be transferring next semester, Woojin is learning as much from him as possible as well as learning to gain support from other key members.
“I’m going to be left with two other leaders. I’m nervous, but my main motivation right now is to lay a good foundation for the future and attract [future leaders].”
North Lake also has several community supporters guiding and mentoring them.
Challenges and Victories
Woojin recognizes several challenges in CARP North Lake. Because of a significant number of Japanese exchange students and the tendency of them to speak Japanese to each other, the language barrier excludes non-Japanese speaking members in the club. He wants to make more of an effort to be inclusive.
He also feels that there are some members who are involved in CARP because they feel obligated, due to their parents encouraging them to be there or because they feel it’s the right thing to do. He hopes that in the future they will feel inspired to help out.
CARP North Lake’s first general meeting!
Despite these challenges, Woojin celebrated a few victories. Currently, CARP North Lake meets on Mondays at 3:30pm with about 20 students attending each week. About half of them are new members to CARP who joined after the Club Fair at the beginning of the semester.
Club Fair at North Lake College!
Among their 20 members, one of them is the leader of the International Group Club on campus. He comes consistently and enjoys being in CARP. He wants CARP to be represented and work with the International Group in their event, the International Education Week. Woojin looks forward to and is excited about making more of an impact on campus through this collaboration.
Woojin leads a team to fundraise.
To round out their members’ experience, CARP North Lake does events off campus as well. They fundraise for CARP every other month, and members who attended the fundraising days report having a powerful and moving experience with God.
Building and Getting Bigger
In the future, Woojin wants CARP North Lake to become a hub like CARP LA or CARP LV where the surrounding community is inspired by and attracted to CARP activities and events.
“My hope is to become something where everyone’s excited to be part of CARP, not because they feel welcome. I really want to create that kind of atmosphere.”
CARP North Lake’s Club Fair.
Woojin’s parting advice to newer chapters is to create unity and harmony with your community supporters.
“When I managed to unite with my [mentors], I was able to break through in my own faith, and also, the CARP chapter was able to make a breakthrough as well. When we came together, things started to change.”
Woojin’s story shows us that by going forward with courage and faith in a larger vision and dream, things can start to happen. Also, it’s a testament to reach out for support in your greater community. Great work, CARP at North Lake College!
First one day HARP retreat in Los Angeles, May 14, 2016.
When I got to college, I was pretty sure about who I was and where I wanted to go. Of course, I expanded upon those ideas throughout my college years but I had a basic foundation.
However, I realized that that was not the case for most of my fellow classmates and peers who I grew up with in school. My peers and I had similar experiences growing up so at the time I didn’t understand why they were struggling so much with their identity.
I started working with CARP LA in the fall of 2015. Throughout my time in CARP, I watched college students, with only a vague understanding of who they were and what they stood for, become re-assured of their value and committed in faith, and I thought to myself, “Does this process have to begin in college?”
High School participants bond through sports during the retreat.
A Strong Foundation
High schools have an increasing number of teenagers reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as a rising incidence of teenage pregnancy and drug use. This is the environment that is supposed to prepare them for adulthood?…uh oh.
In high school, I mostly kept to myself and took it upon myself to study and apply the Unification Principles my parents shared with me. It helped me stay grounded and connected to my parents’ love.
Counter to what high school culture provided, these Principles are what gave me a strong foundation for college and sense of self. When reflecting on the status of my peers, I realized these Principles could have made a difference for them, too.
Jennifer Pierce sharing Unification Principles to high school participants.
So, I started staffing a series of retreats for high schoolers in May of 2016, as a project under CARP, to raise high school students to become global leaders. One theme for this age group was abstinence as a way to develop ourselves and maintain the purity of our youth. This was a way to strengthen our personal relationships with God, our parents, ourselves, and build healthy relationships.
The series was later named HARP, the High School Association for the Research of Principles, and was to become the precursor to CARP.
HARP AHS members (L to R): Euna Tengan, Maika Kotani, Kayun Hiraki, Joanne Fu, Naomi Kotani, Masato Shigeta, Yoshihito Takagi, Hiroto Shigeta.
As of Thursday, September 14, 2017, HARP has been officially established at Alhambra High School (AHS) as part of the Los Angeles regional CARP hub.
The two students who are spearheading this club, Naomi Kotani (aged 17) and Kayun Hiraki (aged 14), went through the HARP retreat series.
“Seeing CARP, they invest a lot, but I was wondering what I could offer [as a high school student].” – Kayun Hiraki
Both Naomi and Kayun are motivated to reach out to their peers about the Unification Principle. They want to prepare students to start reflecting on these important matters so they are better prepared for college and CARP.
(L to R) Kayun Hiraki and Naomi Kotani learning from CARP members at Pasadena City College (PCC).
Creating a Culture of Heart in High School
Along with collaborating with CARP, HARP AHS plans to host their own weekly meetings and become a positive influence on campus by being a part of the campus culture and events, like open house.
“HARP is about the research of principles; we want to know the reason behind it. During meetings, we are going to focus on discussion.” – Naomi Kotani
Finding an advisor and the required ten students proved to be a challenge for the club’s forerunners. Naomi and Kayun gathered seven others to become the school’s first HARP members.
The nine of them went out to look both for an advisor and the final required member. They pitched their club as a faith-based club focused on the idea of purity. However, they were rejected by many teachers before finally finding one.
(L to R) Naomi Kotani and Kayun Hiraki learn how to share Unification Principles.
Where There is a Will, There is a Way
Despite the struggle, the HARP members weren’t shaken.
“Since everyone’s a child of God, by keeping our purity and properly learning God’s principles, that’s the best way for God to claim us as His children. Keeping purity is the process. People get caught in false relationships. It’s not real. If you don’t feel value within yourself, it will affect all of your other relationships.” – Kayun Hiraki
They held their first meeting on Friday, September 15 during their lunch hour.
As pioneers in uncharted waters, they’re going to come against many challenges. With support and guidance from their big brothers and sisters in CARP, HARP members will be able to learn and grow from their experiences and get a jump start on making a difference around them.
Do you have a similar experience in creating something in high school? Let us know in the comments below.