As a teenager, it is common to hear of parents’ concerns regarding their child’s involvement in their community, especially when it comes to their teenagers. Often times they may fear that their children aren’t as involved in their communities as much as they’d like them to be. In the past few years, however, youth groups of various masajid have reached larger audiences, as high schoolers see familiar faces organizing their favorite activities- from halaqas to paintball.
UpLift is one of the many youth groups in Greater Atlanta and is based at the Roswell Community Masjid. The group aims to engage youth through spiritual, social, and service activities, and rather than focusing on solely the memorization of the Quran’s words, UpLift hopes to “foster the passion of Islamic values so youth may immerse their faith in their daily lives”.
So, how is UpLift currently working towards this goal? Run by a youth council, the organization aims to involve a growing number of high schoolers through three different types of activities- social, service, and spiritual. Social events range anywhere from paintballing, to ice skating at the Cooler. This past Ramadan, the organization invited high schoolers to have iftar at Bezoria, a local restaurant, to get into the feel of Ramadan following the end of the school year.
In regards to service activities, UpLift has visited the SafeHouse Shelters in downtown Atlanta in an effort to provide breakfast for the homeless in the area. This Ramadan, the youth group also held an event at RCM, in which participants wrote letters to Muslim prisoners to remind them of their value to our community.
The spiritual aspect of the activities include the weekly halaqas held at the masjid, open to all high schoolers every Sunday at 11:30 am. With the help of attendees feedback, the organization hopes to deliver halaqas that are centered on topics participants feel they can relate to on a daily basis, and also aims to increase the audience’ interest and knowledge of Islam, and how they can apply its values to their lives on a day-to-day basis. This past Ramadan, the youth group, with the help of RCM, hosted two Qiyams, engaging hundreds of youth and their families in talks and activities.
Though the halaqas will start up once the new school year commences, the organization looks forward to engaging high schoolers in the new activities to come and hopes to be a source of enrichment for youth across the community.