Designated as a
UNESCO project for the International Decade of the Global Movement
for a Culture of Peace
|began in 1992 with an all
volunteer staff and seven children in Sioux City, IA. Since that time, Young Peacemakers
Clubs have started all over the world by people who believe that each life makes a
difference in the world. The skills of peacemaking have been promoted by this global
grassroots effort in such diverse settings as schools, churches, homes, community centers,
and as a special focus in other existing organizations. In
2002 alone, children in 58 countries were impacted by this
Comprehensive Peace Education is taught using simple and fun activity centers
highlighting four focal areas:
Peace for me - helps children discover the wonder and
beauty within themselves, where peace begins.
Peace for us - explores daily relationships, stressing cooperation, conflict
resolution and communication.
Peace for everyone - encourages justice and the possibilities for peace within
groups of diverse people.
Peace for the planet - addresses planetary care and
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Young Peacemakers Clubs around the world:
Submit your activities for the idea exchange to: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Young Peacemakers Club in Fort Turnan, Kenya, Africa
A Young Peacemakers Club in Fort Turnan, Kenya, Africa is shown here singing songs from
several Kenyan cultures. Matthew reports, "Young Peacemakers Club is helping to increase
ethnic understanding and cross cultural appreciation among children in Fort Turnan
|Young Peacemakers in Coralville, Iowa, United States
In May of 2002, our Young Peacemakers concentrated on "Peace for Us" as
they played games, discussed the PeaceTalk posters, and created gifts
The group was divided into four teams. (about 8 - 9 children per team
with one adult leader per team.) Each team was given some carpet
remnants and one plastic tablecloth. Children were instructed that
the gym floor was deep water. It was their task to work together by
building bridges and to see that each person on the team reached the
opposite end of the gym safely. It was fun to see them working
We used the "Frozen Beanbags" idea that had been submitted by the
Woodbine, IA YPC group. Another opportunity to practice "Peace for
After songs and a story, their groups met together to discuss issues
that are illustrated on the PeaceTalk posters.
Little flowerpot recipe holders were made to take home as a gift.
The terra cotta pots had been filled in advance with floral foam, and a
clear plastic fork (handle cut off, slightly) was inserted into the
foam with the tines sticking up at a slight angle. Children decorated
their pots with acrylic paint, then dressed up the flowerpots with silk
flowers, floral grass, and ribbon. The recipe "The Garden" was put
into the tines of the fork.
The children had an opportunity to make their own beanbags. (Advance
preparation needed here - the fabric had been stitched on the machine,
leaving an opening for the beans. The children inserted beans and
then used a needle and thread to finish off the opening.) Boys and
girls all sewed!
Some children enjoyed going outside to help plant alyssum in the peace
garden which is on the side of hill facing a local park.
|Young Peacemakers in Rivonia, South Africa
Peacemakers in South Africa learned the joy of giving gifts and sharing of
themselves when they visited Cotlands National Office and Baby Sanctuary.
Speaking for Cotlands, an AIDS hospice and orphan program, Ms. Nieuwenhuizen
said, "Here at Cotlands, many children are finding out for the first time
what it is to have a home, to be loved, and to have all their needs met.
In what seemed to them a loveless, cold and painful world, we know the care
we are able to give them will impact their lives in a big way - perhaps even
change the direction some of their lives will take far in the future onto
more solid and positive paths....that's why your generosity is so highly
regarded." The accompanying article was published in the "Sandton Chronicle,"
February 23, 2001.
||Canadian Young Peacemakers - Cambridge, Ontario
Young Peacemakers in Cambridge, Ontario are intentionally challenged every
week at their meetings reports Patsy, a local leader. A "challenge" which matches the week's
theme helps the children to take what they've learned and put it into practice
in their everyday world. Examples of some of the challenges are: pick up
five pieces of garbage, smile at three people, say something nice to your
brother or sister. When the challenge has been met, a small reward is
given to each child.
Patsy comments, "It is amazing how eager the children are to learn the next challenge for the week!"
Multi-dimensional Peace Programming
The success of the peacemaking initiatives is only possible because indigenous
people believe they have the power to make a difference by their actions and
volunteer their time, talent, and abilities. I don’t believe there is anyone
who has promoted and taught the skills of the Young Peacemakers Club to the same
degree as Pat from Helsinki, Finland formerly of Davenport, Iowa. Her
visionary leadership has extended the scope and variety of application to every
aspect of her world. Throughout the course of several years, she has led
multiple clubs occurring concurrently for children in churches, schools,
community mediation centers, neighborhoods, and in a homeless shelter.
Additionally, she has incorporated the "hands on" learning approach of YPC into
multi-generational activities within two Family Peacemakers Programs.
Instead of looking at the problems of the world and feeling overwhelmed or
inadequate, Pat has subscribed to the Young Peacemakers Club philosophy of
abundance and empowerment. She describes service as a sharing of equals rather
than a time when one person has power over and deems it appropriate to assist
someone in a "lesser" state. She remarks, " I have grown in my capacity for
love, compassion, understanding, caring and commitment. Too long we (the haves)
have categorized and trivialized and justified why ‘those’ people (the have nots)
are in their situations. One of the stumbling blocks to building peace is that
the ‘haves’ are only able to tolerate the ‘have nots.’ Tolerating is a ceiling,
it has a limit. We feel sorry for them, but part of our thinking is that somehow
they deserve what they get. Instead of tolerating, I am suggesting that we need
to treasure them. In treasuring there is no ceiling, there are no limits to the
lengths we will go to help each other."
This type of behavioral integrity of actually expressing what you believe,
feel, and think through action is a prevalent theme in the lives of
volunteer YPC leaders. It is a widespread premise within these rare individuals
to express a feeling of privilege when working with people in developing peacemaking
To each and every volunteer I offer my humble gratitude and sincere thanks
for embracing with passion the vision of a peaceful world.
Young Peacemakers Club in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
A city park was the venue for the first meeting of one group which began with
a Brownie troop. While set-up was occurring, the children played bubble
tag and swang on the playground. The first topic was from the "Peace for
Everyone" area and the lesson focused on the exercise on prejudice, stereotypes, and
discrimination from Celebrating Peace, "Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger,"
pages 133, 134. Susan, a local leader, commented, "They caught on so quickly!
The kids were enthusiastic to go back to school and listen for things that were
prejudicial, stereotypical, or discriminatory and stop those remarks.
Having the meeting at the park was great, giving the kids lots of room for all
kinds of activities and room for the parents to come and sit and talk."
||Young Peacemakers Club in Tokyo, Japan
Young Peacemakers in Tokyo, Japan ranging in ages 11 to 15 learn positive
peacemaking skills during the school year and then take an annual trip by way of
the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. The peacemakers visit historical locations
and observe the exhibits and monuments displayed throughout the Memorial Peace
Park. A favorite activity of the trip is the visitation of rest homes where the
share in sing-a-longs with the residents, as well as listen as the
grandmothers and grandfathers share many stories about their experiences.
Michelle, adult advisor, states, "The tour is an invaluable experience which
enables children to reflect on the past and use the knowledge gained to pursue a
more peaceful future."
Another activity initiated by the children is the exchange of origami paper
cranes with children of other cultures in order to illustrate the story of Sadako Sasaki.
|Puppets for peace -
It began with the Huggin'
Puppets, life-sized multicultural "kids," which taught children in an
interactive way about disabilities, cooperation, and justice. Now,
young peacemakers all over the world are creating their own puppet troupes
and writing their own plays to teach and entertain others. The puppets
range from the very simple finger puppet to some which are fairly
elaborate, but all report a joy in creating and sharing.
Piecing it together for peace -
A service activity which is showing up all over the globe is the act of
making a quilt and giving it to a group or individual who is in need. In
most cases, the children each create a quilt block which illustrates in some way
their vision of piece. The blocks are then collected and made into a
quilt. Quilts have been donated to the Ronald McDonald House, homeless
shelters, first-time parents, and disaster relief agencies.
||Young Peacemakers Club camps create summer fun -
Camps in several locations around the world have helped children practice
their skills in a fun yet concentrated way. The camps have been
sponsored by many civic organizations working collaboratively for the good
of the children, each providing volunteers and resources to make the
Young Peacemakers in Saltillo, Mexico celebrate
through song and dance at one of their meetings.
|Young Peacemakers Inter-agency Collaboration
Networking provides a synergistic way in which the skills for peace are
effectively shared with an ever-increasing circle of people. "Resource
fairs" where not-for-profit groups dedicated to the children and families of
the community can interact and demonstrate the services they provide to the
public have been a huge success in a wide variety of locations. Family
Fun Nights, Children's Peace Festivals, Celebrate Siouxland's Kids, Youth
Festivals, KidzExplore, Peer Mediation Conferences, County Fairs, and more
have all been enhanced by an interactive Young Peacemakers booth.
One sky, One world & Young Peacemakers Clubs
annual, international kite fly for peace is held on the second Sunday each
October. Peacemakers from all over the world have joined in this
worldwide effort by initiating local community celebrations.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA -
Diann, Circle of Peace leader, reports that the
Young Peacemakers Club philosophy as well as some of the activities found in
Celebrating Peace have been incorporated into their peace program with
Circle of Peace, is associated with the Families
Against Violence Advocacy Network, and is a working group of the Institute for
Global Education. They have begun a training program for substitute
teachers as well as presenting their concepts to schools and congregations.
They promote a "Pledge of Nonviolence," in their quest to help families,
classrooms and other groups live more peacefully.
||Alison, a local leader comments, "Our Young Peacemakers Club meetings have been held on twelve
consecutive Mondays and we've had an average of 59 kids at our weekly meetings!
Each week as the children arrive from school they eat a snack. Following the snack
we gather in a large group and discuss the daily theme. We also do a YPC chant and sing
our theme song. The kids have enjoyed learning sign language to go with the chorus -
'We're peacemakers you and I - We're peacemakers under one sky.' During our
first six week block, we covered two areas of peace: Peace for Me and Peace for Us. In our
second six week block we have focused on: Peace for the Planet and Peace for Everyone.
We illustrated the Peace for Us concept by playing a game called
Bags' which involved lots of cooperation. The kids had to walk around the room with a
bean bag on their heads. If the bean bag fell off, they were frozen until someone else
came along and picked up their bean bag for them and replaced it on their head. If the
helper's bean bag fell off in the process they were frozen too. It was nice to see kids
helping each other even though it meant taking the risk of losing their own bean bag."
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -
Peace is so beneficial that the word itself is pleasant to hear. - Cicero
True peace is not merely the absence of tension but is the presence of justice and
brotherhood. - Martin Luther King, Jr.