OneJax Metrotown Institute hosts teen diversity leadership program June 18-21


OneJax, an institute at the University of North Florida, is now accepting applications from teens entering grades nine through 12 to participate in its Metrotown Institute, a four-day program that promotes respect and understanding across the differences of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status and ability. The program will take place Monday, June 18, through Thursday, June 21, at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park St.

“Metrotown is truly a transformative experience for students, one that opens their eyes and changes the way they see the world,” said Nancy Broner, OneJax executive director. “The teens are confronted with important social issues like prejudice and discrimination. While they’re learning about people who are different, they’re also learning a lot about themselves.”

For close to 30 years, Metrotown has brought together high school students to explore living successfully in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. Participants will share ideas and feelings, discover their own unique talents, and experience a variety of perspectives on diversity issues, multicultural communications, religious traditions, gender roles and self-esteem, while earning 35 community service hours for their involvement. There will be small group discussions and workshops, creative and artistic activities, outdoor experiences and personal reflection.

Students must be referred to the program or endorsed by a sponsor, such as a parent, teacher, counselor, clergy or community leader. Anyone interested in referring a student should contact OneJax at (904) 620-1529. Students will be required to complete an application to be considered. Applications and additional information can be obtained via the website.

The program is designed for 50 students who will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee is $150, which includes daily lunch and snacks as well as dinner on the final night. Sponsors are encouraged to help students raise money to cover the registration fee, although no one will be prevented from participating due to an inability to pay.

Metrotown is supported by the United Way of Northeast Florida and UNF. As an interfaith organization, the OneJax Institute at UNF is dedicated to achieving civility, understanding and respect for all through education, dialogue and community-building.