Contributed by Gabriela Von Euw and Junta Naito, Photos and Video by Gabriela Von Euw
On Friday, December 7th, CARP Bay Area held an End-of-Semester Gratitude Celebration to conclude the Fall 2018 Semester with students and their families. It was a wonderful, festive evening together as a community that felt like an extended family.
The evening began with a warm welcome by the MC, Gabriela Von Euw, followed by a delicious potluck dinner, enjoying each others’ company, and students introducing their friends and families to CARP.
As part of the fun, we enjoyed musical performances by CARP students singing, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz with a ukulele accompaniment, followed by "Hosanna" by Hillsong with a guitar accompaniment. The music filled the room with a lot of joy and heartfelt spirit.
Afterwards, we did a gratitude activity where we wrote uplifting messages to put into a Christmas ornament and decorated it. At the end of the evening, we gave the ornament to someone else in the room to show our appreciation and gratitude for one another.
Following that was a presentation about CARP by Gabriela, with an overview of all the activities and accomplishments from the semester. It was a great way to see how far we've come.
We then had a message from CARP Mentor, Kazuya Morita, reminding everyone that we do not live by ourselves, and the kind of person we grow to become is very important. He encouraged all of us to become people who can be a good influence to others and that the goodness we share with others remain forever.
After that, five students shared their personal testimonies about being in CARP. They talked about what CARP means to them, their growth, and what they have been able to gain. Their testimonies shared the heart, depth, and value of what CARP does. Many expressed how CARP has become their extended family and helped them to mature more in heart and character.
To conclude the evening, we watched a video of an overview of the semester which brought back a lot of great memories, It was a great conclusion to the semester as family and friends, as well as a kick start to next semester to do even greater things!
“What I learned in CARP was that education is important, but not just the education we receive in school. It’s not just the science classes I have to take or the public speaking courses, but the education of heart. And that’s something that CARP has provided me with this whole semester.” - Monica Schlaepfer
“I think what CARP really taught me is the importance of self care but also the importance of your spiritual health and connecting with others and caring about family. The more I learned about the Principles, I felt that I was re-discovering myself because I think these are values that are so deeply rooted in all of us.” - Monica Quitorio
“Since half a year in CARP, I grew better interacting, making friends, and being my new self. What CARP means to me is to have everlasting relationships and be closer to God.” - Joshua Jamir
“This is a place where we could come back and feel hope. Through CARP, I was able to meet people who want to better the world through bettering themselves first.” - Junta Naito
“I decided to go to a CARP meeting. That day Erika gave a talk about our purpose in life, and within that moment, I was revived.” - Elissa DiLorenzo