DEARBORN, MI – The Dearborn Public Library has been selected to participate in the “Muslim Voices” pilot program for teens by the Michigan Humanities Council, and the New York Council for the Humanities.
Muslim Voices is a new reading and discussion program for children and teens that uses literature to explore the lives of Muslim youth through time and place, and promote understanding and fraternity among young Americans.
“We are honored and excited to be chosen to participate in the Muslim Voices program,” said Isabella Rowan, librarian and project director at Henry Ford Centennial Library. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the young people of our community to come together and get to know each other in a fun, meaningful way.”
Muslim Voices will meet 4 – 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 1, 15, 29, and May 13, at Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn. It is open to teens 14 to 17 years old. The program is free, but registration is required.
Registration begins Monday, March 17.
Interested teens should stop by the adult reference desk at the Library to sign-up and receive the first book. Participants are expected to attend all four sessions.
The Muslim Voices program is designed to highlight the diversity of experiences among Muslim young people and provide an opportunity for them to see themselves reflected in quality young adult literature.
It also is designed to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim young people to explore the shared humanity of teenagers everywhere.
“We often look to the young people as our hope for the future,” Rowan said. “Because there is an ongoing need for tolerance, understanding, friendship and dialogue, we hope this program will help them carry the conversation forward.”
During the Muslim Voices program, teens 14 to 17 years old will read and discuss a selection of engaging books that all feature young Muslim protagonists. The books were carefully selected by a team of educators and librarians for their relevance and literary value. Core themes are community and courage, and teens of any faith or cultural background are invited to participate.
The discussions will be co-facilitated by Rowan and Anisa Sahoubah, ACCESS youth and education director.
“As a child who loved reading, I never had the opportunity to see myself reflected in American children’s literature. This literature might have existed, but it was never brought to my attention,” Sahoubah said.
“I see this project as one that will spark healthy dialogue, and help youth gain skills that will help them reflect on their own lives, better articulate their thoughts, and work well with others,” she said.
During the course of the Muslim Voices program, participating teens have the opportunity to make new friends, win prizes, and earn community service points. The books will be provided and are theirs to keep. Additionally, participation in this program will be a noteworthy addition to resumes and college and scholarship applications.
Funding for this program is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The New York Council for the Humanities was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Implementation Grant in the amount of $195,000 to support the Council’s Muslim Voices project. The Council then contacted local humanities councils in two states to pilot the program before it is made available to the public at a later time. Michigan and Oklahoma are the two states piloting the program this year. Michigan Humanities Council in Lansing selected the Dearborn Public Library to pilot the teen program and the Cromaine District Library in Hartland to pilot the children’s program for 8-to-12-year-olds.
For more information about the Muslim Voices program, please contact Isabella Rowan at 313-943-2816.
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