One of the ongoing aims of the Banner Project is to foster connections both between individuals and across the many diverse cultures that call St. James Town home. However we have also been fortunate to connect to other outside agencies which, on the basis of a shared investment in the workings and well-being of community, have pledged their generous support. In acknowledgement, I would like to thank our partnering organization, the Religious Diversity Youth Leadership project (RDYL) – a joint initiative of the University of Toronto’s Multifaith Centre, Religion in the Public Sphere initiative, and Centre for Community Partnerships which has been made possible by a 3-year, $500,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
As a happy part of our exchange we have come to meet Aliya and Elif, two students from the U of T whose participation in the Banner Project will serve as credit towards the Religious Diversity Dialogue Certificate program offered through RDYL. The program’s primary purpose ” to build networks of communication, inquiry, and action around the problems and possibilities of living in a religiously diverse society” should come to be well realized within the environment of thriving pluralism – of the religious variety and many others besides – that St. James Town boasts. In addition to an hour of training through Community Matters, Aliya and Elif will be in attendance at every Monday art session (4:00-6:00!) from now until the end of April, contributing their vibrant energies to the project while gaining hands-on experience that will stimulate their emergence as community leaders. I am personally delighted to be working with these talented young minds, and look forward to the positive creative influence they stand to bring! And by all means, I encourage everyone to drop in and meet them!