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Interfaith Youth Activist

IYA is excited to announce that we have received funding to provide some payment for blog posts written by youth! High-school students, between the ages of 13 – 18, who are interested in interfaith activism are encouraged to contribute on a regular basis. Click here to find out more about IYA’s purpose!

What YOU Get for Being a Youth Guest Blogger for us:

  • We’ll list you as a youth guest blogger with your bio, and links to your website, blog, or any other youth project you’d like to promote.
  • We currently have 7,000+ blog followers, so your posts will be seen!
  • We pay youth guest bloggers – $15 per blog post (that’s $60 a month more than you have now). Payment is only given if content meets IYA’s standards for publication. Four blog posts a month is the cap for each youth blogger at the moment.
  • Build your portfolio by…

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IYAG is thrilled to announce that we’re partnering up with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA to host a interfaith youth leadership workshop, LEADD. LEADD (Leadership Education Advancing Democracy and Diversity) is an innovative project of the Interfaith Alliance, which aims to promote active citizenship in a multi-faith society to high-school age youth.

Students who attend LEADD become immersed in the history of the First Amendment, particularly its Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The First Amendment is the foundation of America’s unique devotion to religious liberty and the hope in and vision for creating a truly pluralistic American society. Students learn about current policy, legislative and legal issues regarding religious freedom.

When: Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA- 4444 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22204

Time: 9am – 5pm
Who: For this workshop we’re accepting youth that fall into the 13-18 age range or are rising 8th graders to 12th grade.
REGISTER: If you would like to register for the workshop please send your name, age and contact information and your parent’s contact info to Sana Saeed, at The workshop is FREE to attend, meals & materials (books/supplies) included. Please send this LEADD Youth Info Form via e-mail or mail.


Itinerary for May 19th, 9am – 5pm

9:00-10:00 am- Welcome, introductions, ice breakers. Living in a country of 300 million people and over 300 different religions and denominations- What is Pluralism?
10-11:00 History of Religion/ Beliefs in the United States
Readings from Forest Church Book
Small group discussion on what it meant in the time it was written.
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15- noon Religion/ Beliefs today. How do we live peacefully, cooperatively in such a multicultural, religiously diverse country/world? Video of some current controversies.
Noon-12:45 Lunch break- Lunch provided (Outdoor Frisbee toss) 1:00-3 pm Reconvene- Mock Supreme Court case
1:00-1:15 hand outs, divide group in to three- Justices/ Respondents/
1:15 to 2:00 small groups decide court approach for role-playing
2:00-3:00 large group presentation. And discussion
3:00 -3:15 Break
3:15- 4:30 What do we believe, where do we get our beliefs from-how have they changed and who are our role modes within our faith and outside of our faith? Small group from 3:15 to 4:10 the reconvene for 4:10-4:30
4:30-5 pm Wrap up

Lunch and snacks provided
We welcome all faith traditions as well as those not following any faith tradition. 

2nd Annual Hunger Banquet

We invite you to join us for the Annual Hunger Banquet that we started in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington last year. hungerbanquetflyer

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Blvd, Arlington VA 22204

Date & Time:  Saturday, February 4th at 6:30pm.
Intergenerational, interactive, fun community event where we serve a meal and find out how food and poverty are related. A Hunger Banquet is a dramatization where everyone participates in experiencing what hunger looks like in the world founded by UNICEF. Games for all ages!

Sign up online here- Hunger Banquet

Contact for more information:  Sana Saeed (703-892-2565) or e-mail

Co-sponsors: UUCA Youth Ministry, Peace Youth Leaders and The Interfaith Youth Action Group

On Monday, January 16th, 2012 IYAG joined City Year for their annual MLK day of service project to rehabilitate Dunbar High-School in Washington DC. City Year Washington, DC unites young people, ages 17 to 24, from all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world.  We were joined by over a 1000 other participants! We heard speeches from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mayor Vince Gray, Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Chairman Kwame Brown, Superintendent Thomas Anderson, and City Year Washington, DC Executive Director Jeff Franco.

It turns out that Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes were alums of Dunbar High School and reminded us that Dunbar High School was the first school in the US to open it’s doors to African American youth! Below are collection of tweet bites by, Elliott Smith, a Junior at St. John’s College High School and a IYAG Youth Leader, on his reflections about the city year service project.

  • Awesome experience to be with over 1000 participants at Dunbar High School to help the school and surrounding community;
  • Learned that my grandmother and uncle had gone to Dunbar back in the day so it was extra special to give back;
  • Delighted that Education Secretary; D.C. Mayor; D.C. Council Chair; D.C. School Superintendent among other notables came to talk to us about the importance of service and kick off the event;
  • Actual service project involved running about the surrounding area of Dunbar High picking up trash.  Must of filled several big lawn bags full of trash.  Was fun as well as satisfying.  
  • At the end of the day, I can say that we made the community a better place to live — isn’t that what Dr. King was all about? 

On Sunday, December 11th, IYAG was invited to host its December meeting with the 9/11 Unity Walk’s Board. Anjali Daryanani, Communications Director of the One World Youth Project, spoke at the meeting about OWYP’s vision to link schools around the world to build mutual respect and understanding among students and provide the global life skills needed for success in the interconnected 21st century. Other speakers also included IYAG youth leader, Andre Sabet and his mother Jackie Eghrari, who spoke on the lack of Bahai access to education in Iran and the oppression of Bahai rights.

Below, Ford Avery, a Junior in the Washington-Lee IB Program and an IYAG Youth Leader, talks about his thoughts about the meeting:

In the Interfaith Youth Action Group’s last meeting, just this December, we listened to two presentations concerning global education.  First, we heard from, Anjali Daryanani, the Communications Director of the One World Youth Project, a group focused on connecting classrooms in different countries through the internet.  This connection, she said, would give the youth important exposure to cultures different from their own, and help both classes develop a globally oriented mindset. The program is hoping to expand to several new countries by the end of this year. The second presentation, from IYAG member Andre and his mother, focused on the education rights of those who practice the Baha’i faith in Iran.  The Iranian Baha’i, members of a religion long persecuted in the country, are denied the basic human right to education. Many are forced to learn in secret, being taught by volunteers in their own community, while many others go without even rudimentary education.  

Having grown up mostly overseas and having traveled extensively in Asia, I know that while good education may be a universal right, it is most certainly not universal.  In order to attain the UN’s Millenium Goal of universal primary education, there must be significant action not only on the part of governments worldwide, but also on that of the global citizens. Grassroots movements such as the OWYP will be the driving force behind global education reform, and like the OWYP, by spreading via the internet, they will be able to reach out to many more people than such movements ever have before.  It is up to the next generation, our generation, to make these changes for the world, and that is why raising awareness on these issues is so important.  Movements like the OWYP don’t just spring up out of nowhere; they require a dedicated group of individuals to come together with a common goal. That is why presentations like these are important; if we want to change the world tomorrow, we have to start today.

Stay tuned for a post about our MLK Day Service Project with City Year!

On Saturday, November 19th, IYAG participated in Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Walkathon. One of IYAG’s founding organizations, ML Resources Social Vision sponsored Miriam’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in  Washington DC (which the IYAG Poverty/Education MDG group supported last at years 9/11 Unity Walk). The Walkathon is in honor of more than 12,000 people who are homeless in Washington, D.C. and was a fitting activity given IYAG’s commitment to UN Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG1, dedicated to eradicating poverty.  Below, Elliott Smith, a Junior at St. John’s College High School and a IYAG Youth Leader, talks about his experience at the walkathon.

Elliott and Ford rocking their Walk for the Homeless t-shirts!

We were there to raise funds for Miriam’s Kitchen.  The 5K route took us along the Mall in the Nation’s Capital and past the new Martin Luther King Memorial.  After the event, I returned home past a park near McPherson Square and saw long lines of people in need waiting to receive donations.  It just made real what I had done earlier in the day – help the homeless.

Elliott with the Redskin's Chief Zee who was cheering us on!

YOUTH Volunteers needed for the FUN service project co-hosted by IYAG! 

If you would like to volunteer contact: Sana Saeed at!

Join us for the Annual 9/11 Unity Walk’s Service Project from 1:00pm – 2:15pm at Washington Hebrew Center, in Washington DC! We will be hosting a non-perishable food drive during the walk, and a live service project making bags of trail mix benefiting the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place (CCHFP).

Location: Washington Hebrew Center, 3935 Macomb Street NW Washington, DC 20016

Date: Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Time: 1-2:15pm

For more information contact: Sana Saeed,
CCHFP’s mission is to empower men and women experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives with the involvement of the community
Additionally, we will also have a service fair featuring organizations involved in community service in Washington DC. The trail mix service project will be set up in the center of the room with items lined up for you to scoop and put into a bag and then put in a donation box. Our goal is to make 800 bags of trail mix by the end of the service project!
Note: there will be boxes set up at each congregation participating in walk for donations of non-perishable food for CCHFP.
… …
Explore a variety of different faith traditions and experience various exchanges along Massachusetts Avenue including a Muslim call to prayer, Jewish Cantors singing, a turban tying demonstration at a Sikh temple, and a gospel choir singing Amazing Grace.

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples all along Massachusetts Avenue open their doors on this day every year for open houses.
The Annual 9/11 Unity Walk was started in response to the religious intolerance that resulted from the tragic events of September 11, 2001. People from different ages, backgrounds, and faiths participate in this annual walk down Embassy Row in Washington D.C. in solidarity.
This year’s walk, “From different walks, we serve as one.” will begin at the Washington Hebrew Congregation at 1:00 pm with a symbolic Muslim call to prayer and keynote speakers- and will conclude at around 4:30 pm at the Gandhi Memorial with a closing celebration.
Registration is free and you may register at

For more info about the walk see:

Follow us on Twitter: @911UnityWalk

‘Like Us’ on Facebook:

Mentor Application 2011-2012

The Interfaith Youth Action Group (IYAG) is looking for dynamic and vibrant mentors to apply to guide our next class of youth leaders!

About IYAG

In June 2010, ML Resources Social Vision, a venture philanthropy that invests and supports innovative pilot initiatives, and 9/11 Unity Walk, a not-for-profit organization that brings people of all backgrounds and faiths together to walk in unity, partnered to launch the Interfaith Youth Action Group (IYAG). IYAG is a pilot initiative in the Washington, D.C. area that builds on previous efforts by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faiths Act Fellows. It empowers high school students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in interfaith dialogue and service, guiding them to create their own year long community service initiatives with both a local and global expression, using the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals as their platform.

Apply to become an IYAG Mentor

All adults ages 23-35 are invited to apply to the program! Check out for blog posts from our previous class of youth leaders and IYAG mentors.

To apply to become an IYAG Mentor, please fill out the enclosed application and submit by email to

Benefits and Opportunities: To help leaders fulfill these commitments and to develop your capacity as interfaith leaders, IYAG will:

  1. Be appointed as a mentor of a youth MDG group to develop service projects and be trained as leaders.
  2. Be part of an organized leadership retreat at the start of the IYAG year, as well as a service trip during Spring Break.
  3. You will be provided with networking opportunities to meet important interfaith and non-profit leaders and organizations.
  4. Publish your blog posts and articles on the website and on other publishing websites/news sources.
  5. Provide orientation and relevant training materials as well as workshops to better assist you in carrying out IYAG mentor commitments.

Click this link to download the Word Doc format of the application: IYAG Mentor Application

Voices Organizing for International Change, Empowerment and Support (VOICES) is a monthly event series designed to raise funds and awareness for grassroots organizations across the globe that support empowerment, development and leadership.

This month VOICES is hosting a happy hour fundraiser benefiting IYAG. Please join us on Friday, August 26th @ the HIllyer Art Gallery in Dupont Circle from 6-9pm, for a special event featuring DJ’s spinning live hip-hop, multimedia presentation, food, wine, and networking with like-minded people interested in activism, international development and social change.

Please join us to celebrate the

graduation of the inaugural

2011 IYAG Class of Fellows

IYAG at the Sikh Gudwara during our NYC Spring Break Trip 2011

Saturday, June 18

Busboys and Poets

14th and V Streets, NW

9:00 am – 11:00 am

RSVP by June 15

Please feel free to share this invitation with others who you know have contributed to this program or might be interested in supporting its development.

The Interfaith Youth Action Group (IYAG) is a pilot initiative in the Washington, D.C. area that empowers high school students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in interfaith dialogue and service. The program has been designed and initiated by 9/11 Unity Walk, a not-for-profit organization that brings people of all backgrounds and faiths together to walk in unity, and ML Resources Social Vision, a venture philanthropy that invests in innovative initiatives, and builds on previous efforts by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faiths Act Fellows.
IYAG has four main objectives. First, the program will guide selected Youth Action members (also known as the leadership core) to design year-long community service initiatives with both a global and local expression, using the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals as their platform. Second, it will empower and build capacity of these youth members to become leaders and role models in their respective faith communities and schools. Third, IYAG will foster dialogue among participants on issues of faith, ethnicity, and race. Finally, it will create momentum and deliver impact of these efforts in the Washington, D.C. area.
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