About

Generation Peace Academy (GPA) is a youth program of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC). The program is designed to motivate and empower young people:

  • to discover God
  • to cultivate personal identity
  • to establish a Unificationist perspective
  • to create a culture of heart
  • to prepare for future success

GPA strives to help build a better world by preparing the leaders of tomorrow. Experiential learning provides the opportunity to stimulate character development, a heart to lead through service and an emphasis on developing faith and spiritual discipline.

When participants leave the program, they do so as a more mature individual. Through the changes they have brought upon themselves, GPA participants can become ambassadors for positive change for their families, towns, societies, and eventually the world.

What do we do?

As a comprehensive one-year program (with a second year option), it includes outreach, international service projects, outdoor adventure training, educational workshops and fundraising. Participant enjoy on-going opportunities for training in public speaking and sharing one’s faith. GPA provides a spiritually rich and healthy environment for young Unificationists to strengthen their faith and character as they transition from high school to future education and career endeavors.

Those participants who wish to extend their experience for a second year have two choices:

  • they may continue specific leadership training designed to prepare second year participants to lead the first-years participants in fundraising, service and outreach activities throughout the year.
  • they may pursue training in leadership and missionary and outreach work overseas. (See our missionaries-in-training fundraising page.)

GPA strives to help build a better world by preparing the leaders of tomorrow. Experiential learning provides the opportunity to stimulate character development, a heart to lead through service and an emphasis on developing faith and spiritual discipline.

GPA emphasizes the importance of creating a positive impact in the world. To do this, GPA concentrates its efforts on developing and improving the lives of participants so that they can become the change that Ghandi talked about:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

One of the most effective ways to prompt internal growth in participants is through fundraising. Virtues such as perseverance, patience, and forgiveness can all be fostered through the act of fundraising. Fundraising also helps participants develop self-awareness and dignity in the face of rejection/hardship.

Character development is also fostered through consistent self-reflection. Through time set aside for individual reflection during workshops, and throughout the year’s activities participants are engaged in journal writing and discussion groups, to answer questions such as, “What are you learning through this current activity?” “How does Divine Principle apply to your current situation?” “Who do you want to be in the future?” or “What kind of person would you like to see within yourself?”

On a daily basis, our participants interact with many individuals of different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and environments. In this way they can prepare themselves for the relationships they will have in our ever-more global world. Through this training, our members learn leadership qualities, and learn the tools needed to develop their own potential.

Through investing into others, GPA participants invest into themselves. They learn about their identity, the impact they can have on others, the value of teamwork in regards to a higher purpose, and the confidence to contribute to society’s needs.

It’s a spiritual journey!

For young Unificationists, strengthening one’s faith begins with a fresh engagement with the teachings of the Divine Principle. From the first workshop of the year, participants are given time to reflect and evaluate their understanding of Divine Principle, and are invited to question, challenge and explore.

GPA offers 2-day and 7-day workshops on Divine Principle, as well as multiple opportunities for lecture training and a 7-day Divine Principle lecture training workshop at the end of the year.

To strengthen faith, one needs to practice and to share that faith. All activities – fundraising, service, adventure and outreach – offer participants the opportunity to practice and apply the Principle in a number of different situations and to gain a deeper understanding of God and gain a sense of personal ownership as they share it with others and learn about others’ views of faith.

Participants of the GPA program spend a portion of the year doing public service.

Before you go overseas as an GPA participant, you will be asked the question, “ Is this experience for us? Or is it for them (the people)?”. From that question you can come up with a lot of answers like: “ It is for us because the opportunity to go there and serve will most definitely grow my character!” or “Everything we do there is for the people, and for their lives to be easier.” but how many of you would say it was for God?

Many times our mentality when doing service is just “ work, work, work, give me work to do!”. We don’t see the true significance of service. Service isn’t measured by the sweat of our brow; it’s measured by your heart.

Let me just give you a small testimony.

One day a brother, by the name of Chris Couweleers, was simply picking coffee beans for the local farmers in the blue mountains of Jamaica. Little did he know that a local woman was picking coffee alongside him. That woman later told our project manager, Georgia, that she could never love white people before, until she met Chris picking coffee with her. Seeing Chris picking coffee with her had completely changed her heart towards white people.

Through experiences like this we come to see that our work overseas isn’t just about work it’s about healing. It’s about bringing God’s children together. I’m sure it’s difficult for God, as any parent would, to watch his children suffer from hunger, poverty and broken families. So that’s when we come in as the missing puzzle pieces for God to plug into the right spots. So when you’re asked the question “ is it for us? Or is it for them?” you can say, “ Yes it’s for them and us, but most importantly it’s for God. It is for him to finally see his children come together.”

GPA Activities

Fundraising:
One of the most effective ways to prompt internal growth in participants is through fundraising. Virtues such as perseverance, patience, and forgiveness can all be fostered through the act of fundraising. Fundraising also helps participants develop self-awareness and dignity in the face of rejection/hardship. GPA being a non-profit organization, fundraising financially supports our work.

“I think for the first time I feel confident to say that I can explain what I believe and why. I have a rekindled desire to read the DP as well as the Bible. I am so grateful that I can finally connect to Jesus and start to develop a personal relationship with him.”
Katerina Morgan, GPA Alumnae
Katerina Morgan

Overseas Service:
GPA serves in developing countries to make an impact in the world and to deepen our hearts of gratitude and love. The challenge and adventure of overseas work can be a formative life changing experience for young people, and instill a deep desire to make a difference in the world. We travel to Asia, and South and Central America about nine times for service projects a year.

“God always gives His unconditional love to me, and always hopes that I will open my heart enough to receive it, but I have usually been too caught up in my own perspective to see Him there. This lesson in Divine Principle gave me answers to a problem that has been on my mind for over a year, and I am so grateful to have had the experience of seeing Principle work in this way.”
Jinil Fleischman, GPA Alumnus
Jinil Fleischman

Adventure Training:
The value of Adventurous Training towards leadership, team cohesion and personal development is recognized by GPA. Adventure training adds an extra dimension to the life of participants. It provides challenge, a sense of achievement, excitement, variety, enjoyment, interest, contact with nature. Adventure training introduces new activities and provides opportunities to improve the skills and knowledge of those with previous experience.

“Immersing myself in nature really helped me have a much more meaningful appreciation and connection to creation. I have now come much closer to understanding how great this gift of life on earth is and how God created it for us.”
Nathan Bratcher, GPA Alumnus
Nathan Bratcher

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