NIA President's Message 2018

The beginning of a new year is always a great time to reflect on what an organization has accomplished over the past year and then to project ways to make improvements and to enhance our purpose as an organization. A new beginning, a clean slate, is exciting to contemplate and to begin planning for new opportunities to be of service to the interfaith community here in Reno and Northern Nevada. I’m reminded of the phrase “good, better, best, never let it rest ‘til your good is better and your better, best,” which keeps running through my head as I look at what we accomplished last year and evaluating how we can improve on it.

We started 2018 as we have done for several years, taking a supporting role in the MLK Holiday Committee which sponsored a service and also a caravan drive for Martin Luther King’s 50th anniversary of his death. NOW, “No Opportunity Wasted” was selected for the Onie Cooper service awardwhich was presented to Barbara Bolton from NOW at the NNBCAS event held at the Atlantis Resort on on Mlk Day.

After three years of work, one of the highlights of the Spring was the official ribbon cutting of the Interfaith Spiritual Center at Renown on which NIA and Renown collaborated to bring about its existence. Renown hosted the annual Spring luncheon for community faith leaders in the Mac Auditorium. Those who had not seen the Spiritual Center were invited to tour the facility after our luncheon meeting

Our annual Nevada Interfaith Prayer Breakfast had a large attendance with over 400 attendees. The theme for the event was The Sounds of Service and featured the many non profit organizations and individuals that provide such needed service in our community. NNBCAS was presented the annual vision award. The organization was created around the kitchen table—-years ago and has tirelessly promoted the culture of the African American population in Reno and is instrumental in providing educational scholarships to disadvantaged youth in the community. Late Fall, our NIA luncheon was held at the Indian Curry Kabab restaurant where the many faith and non profit organization in attendance were able to share information to those attending that was relevant to our purpose of building and increasing mutual respect and understanding .

One of the new endeavors was a pilot project. Nevada Interfaith Youth Summit entitled Voices for Change. It was an Interfaith Youth Conference held November 17 on the UNR campus in cooperation with the cultural diversity department. 70 youth from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds met together for a full day to participate in interactive leadership exercises, and to learn about Anxiety, Depression and Suicide among teens, to learn how to communicate and connect with others and to learn about what is happening in your backyard – a look at Awaken, Eddy House, Northern Nevada Foodbank and homelessness in the community. The youth summit set a goal to find a service project in which they could participate. A Youth Skate-A Thon was held February 18 to raise pledges to support the Eddy House – a kids helping kids project. The service project raised a little over $7,000. The Thanksgiving service was moved to the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving which turned out to be a fortuitous decision, surpassing any other year with 800 in attendance. The keynote speaker was able to present both for the Youth conference and for the Thanksgiving service. The theme Sounds of Gratitude was highlighted by five different musical venues , the keynote speaker, Dr. Hank Smith, and the various interfaith prayers delivered.

Here’s to another year of dedication and service in the Nevada Interfaith Association for 2019.

Pat Meidell
Nevada Interfaith Association.