The grand opening of the Yogi Youth Center at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Jackson, Mississippi took place on Saturday, March 19, 2011.
To create a festive environment, the youth of BAPS performed traditional cultural dances and a drama depicting the importance of family values. Showing their support for the community, Honorable Mayor Harvey Johnson of Jackson City as well as Councilman of the local district, Frank Bluntson, were on hand to kick off the inauguration ceremonies. Also in attendance were Councilman Charles Tillman and former Chief of Police, Tyrone Lewis.
The youth regularly participate in weekly classes and assemblies held at the Mandir including religious studies, Gujarati language classes, and musical instrument classes. Housing 8 classrooms and a 7000 square foot gymnasium, the center will extend the arm of the existing Mandir to help facilitate the growing number of boys and girls. In addition, the center will also help meet the needs of the community by providing a facility for local events like walkathons, health fairs, and conferences to name a few.
In October of 2010, Pujya Swayamprakash Swami (Doctor Swami) had attended the Mandir in Jackson as part of his tour of North America. During his visit, he performed a traditional “mahapuja” ceremony to inaugurate the initial phase of the facility. With the grand opening, the facility is now fully ready to serve the local community.