I am a (fill in the blank)


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“New Colossus,” Emma Lazarus

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller

With this vertical juxtaposition of two internationally renowned compositions – my intention is to bring into sharp focus the contrasting values of someone viewing oppression of the ”other;” and doing nothing about it – and the other value of viewing oppression and welcoming those oppressed “others” to come and find a safe harbor for themselves and their families.

This school season, I had the great good fortune and privilege to work with refugee and immigrant families in our Connect & Communicate program.  The sessions, however, were initially advertised as Family Reunification workshops.  When we got right down to it – both titles were applicable.

After the first gathering with these families, I found myself looking up the Statue of Liberty poem – New Colossus.  I hadn’t read the entire poem for decades – just memorizing, as many of us do, these verses: Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

These immigrant and refugee families I am honored to work with, without knowing;  inspired and challenged me to put myself in their shoes.  The shoes were painful. From the harrowing and oft times fatal journeys from their Homelands to America; the crossings of deserts on foot; children traveling alone; being detained in camps for months at a time – and on and on and on.  And then there are the reasons people strike out for the unknown – leaving behind the home they Love; the family and friends they Love.  Reasons you and I cannot even wrap our minds around.

In short, I want to encourage us all to push back against hate.  Push back and actively participate in any event; in any activity; in any march that you can for Justice.  It is imperative, it is time.  There can be no Peace if there is no Justice.

First they came for the immigrants…..

Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director

Peace Learning Center and the Ivy Tech New Leaders Academy


by John McShane, Community Programs Director


PLC Community Programs recently started a new partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. We called the initiative, “The Ivy Tech New Leaders Academy.” This half-day learning experience combined the values of the Butler Way with the community leadership and peace building aspects of PLC. The goal of the project was to partner with Ivy Tech and other community leaders in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of a half day workshop/seminar for a select group of first or second-year students. The Ivy Tech New Leaders Academy provided learning, skill development, networking, and career planning opportunities for participants. Through help and support from PLC and Ivy Tech, the workshop was provided free of charge.

The target population for the workshop included Ivy Tech students from two particular groups. Each group has been identified as facing unique challenges in securing educational and career development opportunities. Workshop participants included:

  • Bowen Scholars: Students in a scholarship fund supporting African-Americans who attend or plan to attend Ivy Tech Community College. Participants must be a U.S. citizen, have completed at least 6 college-level credits at the time of application, and are residents of Marion County.
  • Nina Scholars Program: Students provided a scholarship award to assist with the student’s cost of attendance at Ivy Tech Community College. The Nina Scholars Program provides financial support toward the cost of attendance for up to four years at Ivy Tech including books, fees, and a small living allowance.

Formal and final program design was completed in collaboration with Ivy Tech program manager, Cheri Bush. Program objectives included:

  • Discuss and demonstrate strategies for creating your own values based leadership philosophy. Values discussed include passion, thankfulness, humility, servanthood, accountability, and unity.
  • Write and present to others you own values based personal mission statement.
  • Affirm and implement your own professional networking strategy (Who do you need to meet to help with your plan? What do you want to learn from them?)
  • Discuss and evaluate specific community challenges for new leaders (diversity, income, crime, etc.)

Learning about the students and their academic and career paths led us to reach out to a select group of Indianapolis leaders. Student interest in business, law enforcement, social justice, and philanthropy led us to:

  • Rick Hite, Executive Director, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Former Chief, IMPD
  • Martha Hoover, Owner, President of Patachou Inc., Founder and President of The Patachou Foundation
  • Marianne Glick, Chairman, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation

Speakers were asked to tell their own stories and discuss how their own value constructs had helped them along their own successful ways. Each was also encouraged to take questions from the audience.

My first exposure to the students was joyful. Several came in early while I was preparing the room and every one of them introduced themselves. Most asked if I needed a hand with anything. I had several helpers setting up the refreshment tables, passing out handouts, and happily greeting fellow students and alumni. Something about this group felt special; there was a buzz in the room, a positive vibe.

I facilitated an open conversation on the meanings of unity, passion, humility, servanthood, thankfulness, and accountability. I asked the participants to find clues of those values in what the guest speakers would be saying. After each guest presentation, students were asked to identify where the speakers had touched on or referred to the values posted around the room. In each case, students were able to see where speakers had referred to humility, passion, and all the other values. A sophisticated level of dialogue and questions followed. The students were truly engaged.

Rick Hite spoke passionately about our community and the challenges we face. “You can’t arrest your way out of a problem,” he shared. His key point was one of our shared responsibilities for social change. It’s not just the police responsible for crime. It is, he said, “mothers and fathers, pastors and neighbors, teachers and bank tellers. It’s all of us.” He asked each student what was most important to us in our lives and students gave responses like faith, family, friends, justice, etc. He then asked us all what it would feel like to have any one or more of those things taken away from us. Rick then explained that this is how some of our fellow citizens feel – like they have no control over things they love being taken away from them, a sense of social helplessness.  Empathy emerged.

Martha Hoover talked about being a young lawyer and following her passion into a new career. She discussed the struggles as a young woman in a predominantly male business environment and how her own values drove her success. She then told the story of how, after extraordinary business success, she created the Patachou Foundation, a non-profit organization providing healthy meals to hundreds of Indianapolis children each week. She talked about unity, passion, and servanthood. She demands accountability in her staffs. She answered questions afterward and offered to have lunch with interested culinary career minded students at one of her restaurants.

Marianne Glick put the students to work! In a card sort exercise, the students had to organize their top three personal values. She then walked them through a process in which they created a mission and vision statement based on those values. A mission statement, Marianne told us, “should be no longer than a single sentence, is easily understood by a 12-year-old, and can be recited by memory at any time.” Each student created and shared their own value statements with their peers.

The workshop ended with a short summary of what we had learned. I shared the story and a quote from Robert Kennedy’s April 4, 1968, Indianapolis speech. This was the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. It is one of my favorites. Rick had alluded to the speech and its importance earlier in the day. It closes:

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

The participants inspired me and continue to do so. They have overcome many challenges and are working hard to move forward in their academic work towards their future endeavors. I wanted to create something that might help them along in their journeys. I wanted to make a difference in some way. Turns out, we made a difference together!

The work continues. As a result of the success of the New Leaders Academy. PLC has contracted to continue working with the Bowen and Nina scholars. We will be facilitating hour long leadership development mini-workshops monthly throughout the 2016/2017 school year. We have already started planning for our schedule through the 2017/2018 school year! The participants are already helping to create goals and objectives for their future work. They are owning their own learning!

We all owe a huge debt of thanks to Marianne Glick, Martha Hoover, and Rich Hite. Their passion and care for our community were both inspiring and contagious. The students are talking about you still! And lastly, a big thanks to Cheri Bush. She has become a mentor, a colleague, and a friend as we have worked together. The Bowen and Nina scholars are in kind and caring hands.

PLC can create a custom leadership experience for you and your community or organization. Just give me a call at 317-327-7144 or e-mail me at jmcshane@peacelearningcenter.org. We can collaborate to create something fun and meaningful for your team. I am looking forward to it! The work continues.

Motivational Monday


Dignity is another one of the values we hold at Peace Learning Center. Again, turning to Merriam-Webster for a definition, it reads, “the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.”  Like respect, we can decide to give ourselves our own dignity.   We decide we are worthwhile, we decide we are worth honor, we decide we are worth respect.  Allowing yourself dignity leads to knowing you are worth the world.  Every person on this earth deserves to think they are the bees knees.  It’s important to always be your own cheerleader because you’re worth it all.

I think dignity goes along with self-love.  Look around, there’s a million ways to “improve” your looks. There’s a website for every which way to better yourself, but in all these ways, you are who you are.  At the end of the day, it’s you and yourself.  Regardless of what you look like, or how you act, you should be happy with yourself.  I know I’m not the funniest person in the world, but I think my jokes are great.  I’ll provide my own laughter after a punchline. Sometimes I would not mind being a few inches taller, but I also dig my shortness for group photos. At the end of the day, I find peace with myself and I love myself.

I say self-love, but I don’t mean to become a narcissist and declare yourself higher than anyone else.  When you learn to love yourself and realize your worth, it shows.  When you allow your light to shine, people see it.  People see you respecting yourself, and when you see the respect someone demands for themselves, they get it.  Hold tight to your dignity, everyone deserves it, everyone starts with it.  Do not lose it, do not rob it from someone else, and do not give it up.

Motivational Monday



One of the values we hold at the Peace Learning Center is respect.

Respect is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “understanding that someone or something is important, and should be treated in an appropriate way.” When we respect ourselves, we decide we deserve to be treated well. We decide we deserve to be treated kindly. When we respect ourselves, we also acknowledge the way we would like be treated. Not everyone will give you the respect you deserve, but there’s nothing stopping you from giving others respect.

Although perspectives differ, backgrounds vary, and not every opinion is agreeable, everyone deserves to be given respect. You do not have to agree with every opinion you hear, but you also do not have to start an argument over it. When you give someone respect, you’re giving them space to voice their opinions. Nobody should have to keep their voice down. Your voice is a part of who you are, your voice allows you to convey who you are, and nobody should ever be deprived of being true to him/herself.

When you give someone respect, you give them a platform for confidence.  It can give someone the confidence he/she did not have before; the confidence to say what is on their mind, the confidence to do what is right or even the confidence to openly give someone else respect. Here at the Peace Learning Center we encourage respect, we help to build the platform for the voice inside to be kindly  shared.  In our groups, we exercise how to listen with respect and how to respond with respect.  Respect is a two way street, and when one person gives respect, it allows for the other person to return it.

We Cannot Change Others, We Can Change Ourselves

Vision Academy

We are grateful for these students from Vision Academy who recently gave their time to volunteer at Peace Learning Center because they believe peace matters

We Cannot Change Others, We Can Change Ourselves
These are tough times for peacemakers. Locally, nationally and internationally violence and intimidation face us daily. The recent atrocities committed in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad shocked and saddened all of us.
While we cannot change others, we can change ourselves. Working for peace within ourselves helps us spread peace to family, friends, coworkers and the larger community.
We are eternally grateful for your support because everyday Peace Learning Center’s facilitators and volunteers witness personal change with preschool through high school students, parents, teachers and community members as we help each person find the peace and peacemaker within.
When they are first exposed to PLC programs, many struggling teenagers believe they will not survive beyond 25 years of age, so they live with no hope for tomorrow. Tragically it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for way too many.
“My mother worked three jobs and my dad was in prison,” a 19 year-old young man told me at a meeting. “She wouldn’t let me go outside to play so I watched TV all the time seeing all the things other people had.  When I went outside at 14, I got a gun because I knew that was how I was going to get that stuff for me.” After spending time in prison, he now is gainfully employed and attributes his faith in turning his life around.
Our data in schools shows Peace Learning Center reduces disciplinary actions by over 70% and helps students raise grades from D’s to B’s. How? We find young people and adults must first face the facts that you are the only one responsible for what you say and do.  You cannot blame others for your words and actions. 
Once you take personal responsibility for your life rather than blaming others and cashing in on the entitlements of victimhood, you start developing hope for the future. Hope for the future leads to ownership over education and career planning.
Locally, we all must work to increase the opportunities for youth to gain jobs, intern and mentorships, tutors, and friends.  Indianapolis has wonderful school choices but our out-of-school programs are shrinking and neglected.  
Please help us extend peace education into our community by volunteering, giving and spreading the word about our work.  Together we can change things for the better. 
Thank you again for all of you who believe peace is possible and who do your part to support peace education.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” 

This blog post was written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Family “Rules”


Family “Rules” We Live By

Our house has a revolving door.  Our friends, neighbors and kids friends are always stopping by and sometimes stay for a day or two or….more.  I often wonder why these individuals like to “hang out” at our house. 

My ego says “WOW! We must be great parents and friends!” So I went on a quest and asked why our home is their “landing hub” and here’s the answers I received: Your house is so calm and peaceful. There’s no judgments made here. I feel like part of your family. It keeps me out of my parent’s “messes” and makes me feel calm. I love that you always do things together and I feel included.

This made me realize that the rules we try to live by in our home are working – although, admittedly, we aren’t always successful at following them ourselves. We’re not perfect, but we try and that has to count for something, right?

So, here are some of the family rules we live by, not in any specific order, that I’d like to share with you. We don’t have all the answers, I just know these work for us in our home.

GIVE: It doesn’t have to me money or material things. Give your time and share your talents.

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: We all have tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, so no point complaining about them. Just get them done and crossed off your “to do” list so you have time for fun with friends and family.

BE THANKFUL: We don’t have things we’d love to own and we have our daily struggles, but we are still thankful for each other and the things we do have. There is a saying taped to our fridge that reads, “When you complain about the bad things that have happened to you today, think about all the bad things that DIDN’T happen to you today.” When you truly think about that, you’ll realize how good your life really is. We are blessed.

FORGIVE: Easier said than done, but do it quickly and move on. Not worth the negative energy to hold a grudge. Besides, no one likes the awkwardness of it all.

CHEER AND SUPPORT: Lift up your children, spouse and friends by offering support and cheering them on. We all need a “way to go” now and then or a positive push when there’s doubt in what we’re doing.

LOVE: Seems simple right? We don’t express or show love enough. I’m guilty of it – are you? Tell your children, spouse and friends that you love them. Show them by doing little things that cost nothing but a few minutes time; put a note in a lunch box, secretly tape a love note to your spouses steering wheel, do one of their chores, make their favorite dessert, hug them and hug them, actually say the words “I LOVE YOU” and then hug them some more!

I hope you choose to follow at least one or two of our household rules. They don’t cost anything but a moment’s time. It’s these little things that make a house a home, and the world into a more loving, peaceful place to live for us and the future of our children.

Written by Lisa Jones, PLC’s director of human resources and operations.

3 Steps to Peace


Three Steps to Peace

At the core, Restorative Practices are about building and sustaining positive relationships and community. This is why family relationships can benefit tremendously by implementing components of Restorative Practices.

Much of what I’ve learned about peace comes from my family, who’ve helped me instill a sense of love and belonging in my heart.
Family is a funny thing when you think about it. You would not know many of the people in your extended family if you were not related to them. You probably would not work with them, nor live in the same neighborhood, but there’s something that ties us all together.

It is sad when families break apart because two or more people cannot work out their differences. Practicing peace skills can help and there are great lessons for families in our peacemaking curriculum that is based on Restorative Practices.

Let’s explore three simple concepts:

  1. Attack the problem not the person. Imagine if we focused on the problem rather than blaming and shaming others when we sense a wrong has happened.
  2. Ask questions before making assumptions about other people’s intentions.How many times do we get into disagreements and walk away rather than resolving things? Many times we feel uncomfortable and make assumptions about the other person’s intentions for a perceived slight or act of disrespect.What about asking questions in the moment when we feel uncomfortable or feel as if we are being attacked. Questions like,”Is there a problem?” or “Did I do something to offend you?” Putting attention back on ourselves and talking about our emotions helps the other person have room to explain their point of view.
  3. Don’t go to bed until you’ve worked out problems with your family member(s). Do you want to go to sleep at night? It’s important to talk things outrather than letting them linger and not addressing them. It takes time and energy to make peace, but if you are honest with yourself and with your family members, and act in a timely manner rather than having doubt and fear the issue will be resolved.

Work for peace in your family and with your friends and coworkers. Peace doesn’t start until someone takes initiative.

This post was written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Tim Nation, executive director of PLC, with his immediate and extended family.

Indy Star Article

IPS 56  photo by Maureen Gilmer, Indy Star

IPS 56 photo by Maureen Gilmer, Indy Star

IPS students learn how to raise their kindness quotient

Indianapolis Star, Sept. 14 by Maureen C. Gilmer
Click here to read the article.
Peace Learning Center in Eagle Creek Park teaches lessons in conflict resolution, compassion, and anti-bullying.
It isn’t very often that a news article perfectly describes what we do at Peace Learning Center AND why we do it. That’s why we are excited to share this recent Indianapolis Star article with all of you. 
It showcases many of the critical components in our programs which we developed during the last 18 years based on research-based best practices and our own experience teaching people of all ages how to resolve conflicts without violence, maintain healthy relationships, and communicate well with others. 
This article also demonstrates the range of audiences we serve – preschool children, k-5th grade students, teenagers, families, teachers, organizations, and corporations. 
Finally, it describes how through our new One Indy initiative we are bringing the best of everything we have to offer to schools serving students who face tremendous challenges in their lives – students who deserve peaceful, supportive communities that help them achieve success in the classroom and throughout their lives.
This is our city, these are our children. We are calling this initiative One Indy because it means we care about each other and we are working together to create a better future for all children in our community.
We invite you to join us this school year by sharing the best of what you have to offer, no matter how small or unusual it may seem, to make a real, lasting difference for children and youth in our community. 
Be sure to check our One Indy web page for updates about the initiative. And be sure to give your local school a call to see what you can do to support the students they serve.
Written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Family Bonding Time


Children learn how to behave by watching their parents interact with each other and in society. Family bonding time is an excellent way to model behaviors for your children and teaches them how to communicate with family members, friends and society.

In my house, our family bonding time is Sunday dinner followed with a game.  During dinner we go “round robin” style asking questions and talking about each one. “I don’t know” is not an option when we ask questions like:

  • What was the best thing that happened this week and why?
  • What was the worst thing that happened this week and why?
  • What is something new you’ve learned this week?
  • What did you do to help another person this week?

This really opens up communication for us, allowing us to praise the good things, learn new things and actually “hear” what’s going on in the lives of our family as well as reinforcing the importance of helping others.  We try to keep it light so no one feels frustrated, angry, or closes up and doesn’t share.  As parents, we get to impart life experiences and wisdom by asking guiding questions to help our children make better choices and think about the decisions they make.  Without even realizing it, our parental frustration and worry level goes down because our children open up and communicate with us.  We are bonding, we are learning what’s happening in each others lives, and we’re displaying behaviors that can be used in children’s lives.

Once dinner is over we play a game.  It gets loud with laughter, fun and a little bit of teasing – sometimes our children have friends over to join us.  We’re still bonding, still learning, and, depending on the game, still instilling positive “rules” for today’s society – no cheating, no skipping, no bad language, no bullying, no negativity, no stealing, etc.

By 9 pm our tummies are full and we’ve had a great family bonding night full of information and fun. Then, I look forward to next Sunday night!

Email me at LJones@peacelearningcenter.org if you’d like to share what you’ve done to bring family bonding time into your household.

Written by Lisa Jones, Director of Human Resources.

5 Tips for Parents



Parents have tremendous responsibilities. Each child is born into this world with an open heart and open mind. Each moment helps shape a young person’s thoughts and feelings for a lifetime.

With four children in our household, my wife Meg and I get many chances to raise young people. Each child is different with their unique personalities. Parenting is the most rewarding and consuming part of life I’ve experienced.

Here are a few ideas about parenting I’ve picked up over the last 20 years:

  1. Tim & Family

    Tim with his extended family at last year’s Mustached Turtle Dash!

    Kids need love and acceptance – not criticism and judgment – but it is a balance. Can you be a nurturing authority that sets boundaries and tolerates action within those boundaries?

  2. It is better to have positive and open relationships with your children than an oversight and monitoring role. Our children need us when they get in trouble. If they think sharing with you will get them in deeper trouble and not be helpful, you may miss opportunities before things really get bad.
  3. Keep calm and don’t yell. I’ve had my share of mad dad moments to later regret my behavior because the louder you get, the louder the whole house will be. Not a good example.
  4. In this age of computers and electronic devices, it is best to make plans and tell your kids they will be joining you rather than giving them a choice. We used to give choices, but many youth are so connected to their computers they’d rather not leave the house.
  5. Don’t spank or hit children. Nearly all mental health professionals agree that when you hurt a child it teaches them that adults are mean, unpredictable and will hurt you. Also it teaches your child that violence is acceptable when you are frustrated.
Families come in many configurations, but at the heart of all of them is love. All of us are critical parts of a larger community. If we build peace in our homes, our children and community prospers.

This blog post is written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.