(CBS) — Before they learn they are different, teach them how much they are the same.
That’s the goal of a unique cultural exchange program, right in our own backyard.READ MORE: 8-Year-Old Accidentally Discharges Gun, Wounds 11-Year-Old In Bronzeville
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole was there as 150 students from three separate faiths bonded.
Students who attend a Morton Grove mosque taught students from other religious backgrounds about their Muslim faith.
“Kids are curious — that’s what’s so great about having this program,” says Habeeb Quadri of Muslim Community Center Academy.
The learning continues in interactive workshops, where 150 middle-schoolers from Catholic, Muslim and Jewish schools come together to learn about their differences.
“At my school I don’t meet a lot of kids of different religions because it’s a Jewish school,” student Eliza Lampert of Bernard Zell School.READ MORE: Girl, 17, Among 2 Shot In Back Of The Yards
“Honestly, for myself, I learned about religious leaders I had no idea existed,” seventh-grader Suraiya Omar says.
And what ultimately makes them the same.
“I knew they had different customs, but I knew we are all human,” student Marty Canavan says.
The exchange is sponsored by the Olive Tree Arts Network, a not-for-profit that works to unite students of different faiths.
The Muslim Community Center Academy, Bernard Zell Jewish Day School, and St. John Fischer School participated in Thursday’s exchange.MORE NEWS: Police Investigate Loop Carjacking
They’ve been taking turns visiting the various campuses. Next month, they’ll spend a morning at Bernard Zell.