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National Youth Justice Training: Amazing

Posted by T. Resnikoff // July 19th 2013 // Stories and Voices // one comment

The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries wishes to reassure its readership that Benen’s injuries were not incurred in the course of his internship. –Ed.


Benen with Carey McDonald, Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

My name is Benen ElShakhs and I am at an internship with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (YaYA) in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in Boston. I have enrolled in a program called National Youth Justice Training (NYJT) with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ), which will end a few days after I write this. This post is about how I got involved in the NYJT program and my experiences with it.

I have been a Unitarian Universalist (UU) as long as I can remember. My parents brought me to the Unitarian Universalist Society East meeting house in Manchester, Connecticut when I was about three. I was never extremely involved with my congregation. I would go to the meeting house every couple of weeks. I heard about the NYJT program through my parents who had gotten an email about it from our congregation. I had recently become very interested and involved in social justice issues like human rights, and I decided to apply for the program.

The NYJT program is a three week long program in Boston that takes you through very intensive social justice training dealing with issues like racism, sexism, classism, etc. You will experience the training along with a small group of your peers. During the time you spend in the program, you will also participate in a program called the Summer Leadership Program (SLP) which is a program for Boston youth  offered by The City School who want to gain experience in leadership and social justice. During my experience in my NYJT group, I have met some incredible people and had a great time learning with them and living with them in a dorm building outside of Boston.

Another important part of the NYJT program is the internships. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the NYJT youth go to social justice related internships around the city of Boston. My own internship happens to be with the UUA. So far, my time spent in my internship has been amazing, educational, and productive. During the last few days of my internship, I was informed about issues related to congregations’ youth coordinators and administrators, I sat in on the Youth Ministry Advisory Committee (YMAC) meeting and listened to the decisions they made and their discussion regarding the future of UU youth programs over the next five years, and I collected data on UU congregations around the US for YaYA to use. The environment in my internship is welcoming and relaxed and I feel very good about my time spent here working with the wonderful people in the office.


Bennen is 16 years-old and lives in Storrs, CT. He is a hurdler on the Edwin O. Smith High School track team and specializes in the 300-meters. There are ten hurdles in a 300-meter race.

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
One Response to “National Youth Justice Training: Amazing”
  1. Salah El-Shakhs says:

    Sounds great Benen. It sounds very good. I am glad you enjoyed it so much despite your injuries. Hope you feel well.

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