Peace From the Eyes of Rose Voigt, Intern


Because I believe that conflict is inevitable, the meaning of peace and how to achieve it will always change with time. Peace means open and honest conversation is encouraged, and no one is silenced. Healthy mediation is in place, and nonviolent tactics are used to manage conflicts. Honest and respectful relationships exist, and individuals protect one another. I think that peace can be achieved, however, it is not an easy task by any means. Peace can be achieved through mediation, conversation, democracy, and nonviolence.

My most memorable moment with PLC so far was helping with the MLK 19th Annual Community Festival on January 14th. I really enjoyed being a part of such an important event for our community. Participating in this event was an honor, and I truly have learned more about leadership.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” is a quote by Buddha I live by.  I always want to live a peaceful life and constantly try to make other people feel more happy and accepted.

Rose is currently taking a short break from school. She was previously at Butler University from Fall 2015-Fall 2016 in the Peace and Conflict Studies program. After this semester off from school, she will be attending IUPUI to study Philanthropy. Rose has a broad interest in all social issues, but in particular, she finds herself mainly focusing on gender equality, racism, and environmental issues. She finds all social issues valid and of extreme importance; however, these are ones she often finds particularly important. Aside from school, she loves music, and plays piano and violin for fun. She also loves hanging out with her cats in her free time.

Peace, From the Eyes of Lexie Brown, Intern


To me, Peace means the opportunity for genuine dialogue. As Martin Buber called it, the “I and Thou” moments. In those moments, there are no hidden agendas, no assumptions, and no judgments. There are only people coming together to talk and listen.  I think peace can be achieved through the “I and Thou” moments. Everyone just needs to be willing to open themselves up to others. 

It is hard for me to pick a most memorable moment at Peace Learning Center, as all of my moments have been memorable. I have only been there for two weeks, but I have already learned quite a bit about what it is like behind the scenes at a nonprofit. I will also never forget how everyone was kind and welcomed me in from the very beginning. 

To quote my favorite lyric, from my favorite song in the musical RENT, “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”  I try to live by this quote because life is too short to have regrets. Worrying over something behind you can keep you from learning the lessons of the past. Not only that, but it can keep you from enjoying yourself in the present.

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From the Intern


I love being at IUPUI because of the extra little somethings, exhibits, and events the campus hosts to promote the never-ending amounts of diversity we have pouring into Indianapolis. Today there was an Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit, emphasizing the inclusion for those who may be mentally or physically disabled. Though there may be challenges they are still able to do whatever they might set their mind to.

Starbucks also just released and has begun selling their holiday cups as we approach the holiday season. There have already been complaints about the cup not being red or not including Santa or Jesus on the cup. Some tweets have gone as far as to accuse Starbucks of hating Christmas. All of this because of a cup. Howard Schultz spoke up prior to the cup design being released. He expressed that the cup was covered with a vast amount of people and faces all of different origins and diverse appearances to exemplify unity and the act of standing together.

Inclusion is not hard, and we’re all here together, striving for whatever dream we have. Instead of pushing one another down or ignoring someone entirely, in my eyes, building each other up is the only productive way to live with others.


Motivational Monday


Birthdays are the one day a year when it is socially acceptable to celebrate yourself.

I think this is a good thing because some people probably need limits, however, I also think we each need to credit ourselves a little more.  I think we deserve more than one day a year to say, “I am actually pretty great.”

It’s not being self-obsessed or narcissistic, it’s acknowledging the single fact: you are a wonderful human being, and you deserve so many good things. Everyone is busy in day to day life, but almost everyone, one day  a year, will allow others to treat them, allow themselves a pat on the back, and really appreciate themselves.

We need to do this more often.  Don’t let yourself become full of hot air by any means, but really appreciate yourself.  Look at you!  Do you realize how much you have accomplished? Do you realize there is nobody out there like you? There is nobody with your gusto, your heart, or your mind.  That alone is something to celebrate.

Don’t compare your accomplishments to the next guy’s either.  His little victories are different than yours. You don’t even need anyone else to think what you choose to celebrate over is  big deal; if it matters to you, congratulations to you! Life is busy, someone will always be worse than you, and someone will always be better than you.  Pay no mind, and celebrate yourself.

From the Intern


I’m a college student.  And it’s weird.

Weird might not even be the right word.  It is sincerely overwhelming.  In 2016, everyone knows just about everything, or are aware of it.  Same gender love is alive and well, it’s considered common knowledge to address someone by the gender he/she identify with, and cultures from all over the world are being embraced.  It’s a beautiful time to be alive.

In the midst of it all, it’s almost easier to get lost. There’s hurt and pain while there’s celebration and happiness.  There’s anger and forgiveness.  There’s pressure to know who you are.   There’s pressure to be open-minded and adventurous.  There’s pressure to be on a track for your life and know what you’re going to do forever.  It’s a lot to take in, a lot to decide, and even more to discover.

Everyone says you find yourself in your twenties, yet it’s also the time people want straight answers as to what you want to do with your life.  With the pressure, I think it so important to remember the journey makes the destination worth it. Your journey is what builds your life with experiences and memories, it’s what makes you excited to return somewhere or inspired for your future.

It’s not that I don’t care about giving people answers, but I always try to remember it’s okay if I don’t have my future entirely planned. It’s okay if one month I want to a be Marketing Director, but maybe in the next week I’m interested in Event Planning.  My experiences are shaping me and exposing me to the infinite paths I have in this life.  It is so easy to stress about who I am or what my purpose is in life.  Sometimes it’s harder to remember and push through that stress, but always see yourself for the little observative, learning and experiencing sponge you are.

Continue to grow little sponge, you are ever-changing and ever-learning.

From the Intern


Recently my lovely, kind-hearted boss married the love of her life.  Even more recently, I looked at the pictures from the celebration of love.

Sitting in my lecture at 9am, I am entirely caught up in the photos of the brides.  I am in awe of their beauty and I am in awe of their love for one another.  It’s evident.  Never mind the wedding dresses, the wedding rings, the wedding bouquets, never mind all of the obvious, and look.  The way they look at each other, the chemistry between the two of them as they hug each other.  It is sincerely something of a dream.

I have been told I am very expressive.  My fifth grade teacher told my parents to help me control my facial expressions because my feelings are often on my face. I am a transparent person in all the right ways, you know?  One of my friends and I matched yesterday, and we took a bunch of pictures and she captioned it, “I need to find someone that looks at me the way Ari looks at me when we match.”

I told my boss I hope I find someone that looks at me the way she and her new wife look at each other.

I know it’s a beautiful experience to see people out and see them so shamelessly involved in one another.  My friends have captured numerous pictures of me looking at them, and it’s obvious.  I am so in love with my friends and the people in my life.  I’m not embarrassed about it.  I care insanely and deeply about the people I have in my life.  People shy away from it, and they’re bashful about being blunt about their feelings.

But why?  Why hide away from some of the most natural human feelings, the feelings that bring us more joy than any?  What if we all showed our love for one another?  What if we all let ourselves openly care for those near and dear to us?  I love loving.  I love caring.  I love the people in my life and I love letting them know.  I’ve been told I say “I love you” more than most people, and that’s someone else’s opinion.  If you’re telling me that, I’m probably telling you.  You are loved. What a good feeling that is!

What’s better than feeling you’re loved and cared for?  It’s my favorite feeling.  I will shamelessly love and I will let those who deserve it know.  I challenge you to join me to love.  Love openly and care deeply, don’t hold it back.

Motivational Monday


Think of the last time you communicated with someone.  What do you think of? A conversation with words, a phone call, or text?

Communicating can be anything from a greeting to a wave, to simply listening. The tone of your voice can say more than your words.  When solving a conflict, it’s important to keep your tone and your words kind.  Conflicts can easily be frustrating, but the way one goes about it can determine the outcome.  When discussing a problem, focus on the end goal.  What can be done to get there?  It is not about blaming one party or the other.  It is about coming to a resolution.

Listening is such a vital part of communication.  It’s often forgotten about amidst the words in conversation.  When you listen, you are receiving information.  When you listen, it gives you time to process what is being said.  When you listen, you take the time to decide the best way to respond.  It is not just about who can talk the longest or who has the most to say, but it’s about being active on either side of the conversation.

Sometimes people don’t need a response from the listener at all.  Sometimes we just need someone to listen, and sometimes we just need to talk.  One way or another, it’s important to be present when in conversation.

From the Intern


This past Labor Day, I took a trip out to the falls.  I misjudged the busyness of the falls, and when I arrived, the entire area was hosting quite the number of people.

On this trip, I went alone.  The plan was to climb to the top of the fall and sit on the rock that overlooks the drop and the bank it flows into, and to read some assignments for class. Instead, I only read maybe one act of my play, spoke to people for longer than I intended, and naturally, people watched.

People watching is such a funny concept that has become fairly socially accepted.  While I sat on my little perch, I watched as people talked and took pictures for each other.  Everyone smiling and watching out for each other as they climbed over rocks and through the baby currents.  It reminded me of the holiday season or a festival.  The atmosphere had such a connecldblog2ted, interpersonal feeling.  I sat there and thought about everyone and how they were interacting.

I realized if we were all in a mall or somewhere just as goal oriented, hardly anyone would be stopping to say a small hello to a passerby.  People would not be as open as they are on a beautifully sunny day, or at a festival.  Honestly, that made me kind of sad.  I recognize everyone has their own agenda.  I’m okay with people being busy, but for it to have to be a special event, or Labor Day in an exciting park of strangers to connect with each other bums me out.

Picture this: everyone interacting and doing small actions to connect with one another.  Anywhere and any day of the year could be special.  I’m not saying you should be late to every meeting because you stopped to say hello to every single person. I don’t think it should have to be the place or time or the year dictating the atmosphere.  As Pittacus Lore said, “A place is only as good as the people…it’s the people that make the place.”

We each are more than capable of making any place special for anyone, and that in itself is a beautiful power we all hold.ldblog

Lego Listening




My role in Lego Listening was the listener. Sitting back to back with my partner, I had to listen to her describe what her lego creation looked like. No questions were to be asked by me, so I was completely in the dark. I could only rely on her descriptions to lead the way. In my mind, putting the legos together didn’t seem like it would be a hard task, but it proved a lot more difficult than I expected. I kept thinking in my head, “This can’t be right; I know it doesn’t look like this”. By the time the facilitator took the legos from my hands to show my partner, I was so confused by what it was supposed to look like. My partner was allowed to look at the legos to see where I was wrong, and we started over from the beginning.

The second time around I was able to ask questions to get clarification. I asked detailed questions about each individual lego I was adding to my lego set. At first, I was still confused from the first round, but being able to ask questions made it so much easier.  When I was able to get clarification from my partner through our communicate together, our lego structures looked more similar than the previous try.

I noticed I was trying to guess where the pieces went before she was done describing it in the first round, which could’ve hurt my lego building. Because I was stuck on what I thought was going to be the next step, I was not focused on listening. At the end, seeing the final product compared to the original I just laughed because it was completely different from how I pictured it in my head.

We were only a few pieces off of what the final structure looked like. From the pieces we did have, there was only one piece I placed wrong, and it was a matter of how you personally saw each lego and how you described it. Lego Listening was a really interesting experience, and it required a lot of listening skills from my side of the creating.


During Lego Listening, I played the role of communicator as I gave instructions to Leah.  I had to give her direction as to how to piece her set of legos together to match my creation.  In the first round she could not ask me any questions, so I had to be as descriptive as possible.  This part challenged me because I had to think of different ways she would interpret my words.  For each step, I tried to rephrase my directions to give her the best chance at understanding what I was saying.  In hindsight, this potentially might have made my directions more confusing.  I had no idea if she was following along, which made me unsure whether or not I need to clarify what I was saying.

The facilitator handed me her structure after about ten minutes of me instructing her.  I could see where the direction had gone wrong or had been misunderstood, but I could also understand why she did what she did based on my words.  I realized how I needed to change my words the next time around.

The second time around, I made more of an effort to be descriptive of exactly which lego piece I used.  She could also ask questions, so I tried to answer them as clearly as I could. The fact we could talk back and forth really helped.  Her questions let me know where she was and I was able to better guide her.

This exercise taught me how important it is to have communication because it not only lets you hear their part but it lets you know how you’re sounding to them.  At points I thought I was very direct, but after hearing her question, I would realize my directions were unclear.  It took the listening on both ends to fully understand each other.  In my eyes, people often think of communication as one person listening and one person talking.  Through Lego Listening, I learned that both parties need to be listening and both parties need to be talking to one another.

Climate Camp, Overview


Final Notes from Climate Camp 2016

Indianapolis, Ind. (July 30, 2016) – Earth Charter Indiana and its youth program, Youth Power Indiana, along with partner Peace Learning Center and HEART, collaborated once again on their annual weeklong Climate Camp, July 25-29.

Youth are available for interviews upon request.

Highlights of the Week:
· Presentations by and on:
o #JustTrayNo youth, four 11-year-old students who convinced IPS officials to stop using polystyrene lunch trays starting this school year
o The Promise Project, Carmel-based Climate Campers working with elected officials on climate recovery
o Climate Recovery, Indy-based Climate Campers working with elected officials on climate recovery
o Youth action in the United States
· A public showing of Josh Fox’s (Gasland) new documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change
· A nature hike around Eagle Creek Park
· A visit to the Nature Conservancy, Indy’s most sustainable building, where Climate Campers also learned all about The Children of Indiana Nature Park, recently launched in Centerville, Indiana
· A tour of IndyGo’s new Downtown Transit Center
· A Mock City County Council meeting, where Campers familiarized themselves with the city county council and how the public is engaged in impacting local policy
· A trip to Freewheelin’ Community Bikes, where youth leaders helped Climate Campers tune up their bikes, learning bike safety and maintenance in preparation for their afternoon ride
· Indy’s first-ever Tour de Hives. Starting in 2015, tanks to a grant by SustainIndy, Earth Charter Indiana teamed up with beekeeper Kate Franzman (Bee Public) to engage in pollinator education project that resulted in hives placed at Indianapolis schools. Franzman met with students to talk about bee health and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s recent signing of the Monarch Pledge.
· Several campers paused their bike ride to participate in a public ALEC protest in full swing in front of the Indiana Statehouse
· A group discussion on environmental racism, led by assistant director Tabitha Barbour.
· Campers learned that a story on Climate Camp was published in the Indianapolis Star:
· Climate Camp was also covered in the local media via WFYI’s live Facebook event:
· The Climate Camp 2016 Showcase, “Speak Out for the Planet,” held from 5-8 p.m. at the Indianapolis State Museum
· Delicious vegan meals including lunches catered by 3 Carrots, Shepherd’s Pie made from produce donated by Indy Urban Acres and Pogue’s Run Grocer, and dinner from DUO’s Foodtruck
Kristina Hulvershorn, co-director of Climate Camp and Youth Program Director for the Peace Learning Center, stated this year’s camp to be “extraordinarily powerful, because we have so many campers invested in real life, change-making activities. It was an inspiring celebration of hope and opportunity.”
Many others were equally delighted with the experiences of the week. Counselor Cora Gordon, an incoming sophomore at North Central High School, is “constantly inspired by all the kids. They are so brilliant. They have such great ideas and I love them with all of my heart.” Videographer Ryan McCracken, who recorded the kids’ camp activities all week, thinks climate camp is “a great opportunity to get their mission out. It grows every year and gives kids a unique set of life skills, leadership roles, and opportunities that they couldn’t get anywhere else.” McCracken’s video of this year’s camp will be released on the Youth Power Indiana web site.

Lastly and most importantly, this summer’s climate camp was also termed successful by the campers themselves. Soon to be sixth grader Emily, a member of the #JustTrayNo group from Sidener, thought the best part of camp was “being able to be in an environment where everyone really cares about climate change and how bad it is for the earth.”
Ocean, eleven, most enjoyed experiencing “new thing you haven’t done before, like eating vegan,” while her friend Jasmine loved the “hiking. I had fun picking up trash for the community and the earth.” Fifteen-year-old Hillary declared that she will “keep coming back to climate camp because a lot of camps are just fun, but this camp also incorporates learning and environmental awareness.”
Climate Camp co-director Jim Poyser said, “I am blown away not only by brilliance and commitment of these kids, but our ongoing partnerships with organizations and entities like Indiana State Museum, Freewheelin’ Community Bikes, Indy Urban Acres, The Nature Conservancy, Bee Public and IndyGo. What I see is a community coming together in support of these kids’ futures.”
Earth Charter Indiana and Peace Learning Center held their first week long Climate Camp in 2014. Earth Charter Indiana’s support for its Youth Power Indiana program, including climate camps, comes from The McKinney Family Foundation, The Netherleigh Fund, The Herbert Simon Family Foundation and Lilly Endowment Inc.
For more on Climate Camp, go to the Youth Power Indiana website and eye this short video.