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COLLEGE AND JAINISM HANDBOOK:

 

Growing up in a Jain household in North America surrounded by both Eastern and Western values can be mentally conflicting for kids. How can we help students in America deal with these various pressures and balancing of values, as being able to do so is vital to their mental clarity and spiritual progress? How can we teach them to make time for themselves while meeting and staying connected with the right people? How can they mold themselves for the better and stay open-minded while in college? How can we help them deal with the constant pressure of parties, alcohol, drugs, and dating? Although these are not really “taboo” topics, unfortunately these topics are rarely discussed in the Jain community. For these reasons, this handbook has been created to address these topics and help students maintain their Jain identity in college. And, as students leave their homes, often times, they tend to lose that connection with their values and upbringing while trying to discover who they are and explore the world around them. In times of need, they can refer to the pages of this handbook. (Expected to be published by the towards the end of 2015)

 

Mission:

 

This handbook is a guide aimed towards the transitioning population (youth ages 17-23) entering and currently in college in order to help them:

·      Preserve and maintain Jain values

·      Combat social and spiritual conflicts

·      Foster confidence and comfort with Jain beliefs

·      Develop close and genuine connections with others

·      Balance both Eastern and Western values

·      Self-improve and better themselves

·      Discover themselves and become more open-minded individuals

 

 

Accomplishments:

 

—  Jainism in College Webinar

       Conducted in September of 2013

       Many attendees

       Lots of good feedback; many students felt they could “relate”

—  YJA 2014 sessions

       Led 2 YJA sessions for high school-ers and college-go-ers

       Distributed printed handbooks to college session attendees; PDF version of handbook was also e-mailed to all college attendees after the convention

       Received lots of good feedback from attendees

—  Pilot College Workshop in Chicago (Summer of 2014)

       Led by Amam Vasanwala at the Chicago sangh

       2-hour intimate discussion

       Something which could be extrapolated to other Jain centers in the future

—  Publication pending (should be completed by end of 2015)

       Book fully written, edited, and formatted

       Approval received from JAINA Education Committee for publication

       Pravin Uncle to make final changes and send to India for publishing

 

How you can help!

 

—  Volunteer: Conduct a workshop at your local sangh discussing important college topics/pressures, share personal stories/experiences, address student concerns (can use handbook as guideline)

—  Spread word about the handbook

—  Be open with your kids about these “taboo” topics

—  Provide suggestions!

 

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