Peace Learning Center and the Ivy Tech New Leaders Academy

Sep14

by John McShane, Community Programs Director

ivy-tech-new-leaders-academy

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.

Climate Camp, Overview

Aug04

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: http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/07/27/indiana-students-work-fight-climate-change/87382560/
· Climate Camp was also covered in the local media via WFYI’s live Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/WFYI.Indianapolis/videos/10154265427065874/
· 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.

Indy Bar Foundation

Oct22
IndyBar

INDY BAR FOUNDATION SUPPORTS RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

 
We are  very excited about the impact we’ll be able to have in schools this year, thanks to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation! PLC was recently awarded a $35,000 Impact Fund grant to implement two restorative practices as effective alternatives to suspensions and expulsions at IPS elementary schools in the city’s high crime areas. 
 
With their support, we will train peer mediators utilizing Peers Making Peace, a nationally recognized evidence-based program, and implement restorative justice circles at our One Indy elementary school partners.
 
All PLC programs teach conflict resolution, communication, and healthy relationship skills (i.e. Social-Emotional Learning skills) to students, but this approach is different because it will combine our preventative programming with two other restorative practices that will impact overall school culture. 
 
1. Peers Making Peace peer mediators help resolve conflicts between students before they become rule violations (e.g. a student is upset that another student didn’t invite him/her to play a game at recess).
 
2. Restorative justice circles involve a student who violated a rule, other parties who were impacted by this rule violation (e.g. a classroom teacher, school administrative, and parents), people who can help provide resources to ensure the student has support to not violate rules in the future (e.g. social workers, etc.), a trained circle keeper (a PLC facilitator), and, when appropriate, the student’s peers. 
 
The goal of the restorative justice circle process is to provide a safe space for the people harmed and the person responsible for the harm to promote dialogue, repair the harm done through accountability, and build a stronger sense of community. Our goal is to help schools utilize this process instead of suspensions and expulsions.  
The U.S. Department of Education reports, “…being suspended even once in 9th grade is associated with a twofold increase in the likelihood of dropping out.” Restorative practices have been proven to improve school environments and enhance learning by reducing disruptive behaviors and the need for exclusionary discipline which decreases classroom learning time for many students who need it the most. 
 
All of this is well aligned with our mission and what we’ve always done, but it takes our work to the next level to ensure we are able to have a bigger impact for the schools and communities we serve. It just makes sense.We look forward to sharing stories about the success of our restorative practices work with you in the future! 

Interested in learning how restorative practices can make your school an even better place to learn? Contact Kristina Hulvershorn, director of youth programs, at 317-327-7144 or by email at khulvershorn@peacelearningcenter.org.

One Indy Family Programs

Sep30

ONE INDY FAMILY PROGRAMS
And 7 Things You Should Always Say to Family

Today, right now – all families face challenges that can and do put terrific strains on establishing and maintaining harmony and peace.

That is why we decided to offer PLC multi-family workshops throughout the year at each of our One Indy partner schools. Through all PLC family workshops, we help families understand how to grow and nurture the love that binds them.

These interactive, non-threatening, and non-judgmental workshops start by focusing on the positive qualities in each family and highlight the unique gifts each family member adds to their small community. The goal is to help families understand they are working to make what is good even better.

Then, the workshops continue the process of creating stronger families by gently peeling back the layers of – sometimes unnoticed – reasons for the breakdown in communication. Everyone is held accountable.

Click here to download a list of Family Workshops that will be offered to families of students at each of our One Indy schools. This year’s One Indy schools are IPS #15, #39, #51, and #58.

As you can tell, we believe most families already have everything they need to make their family even stronger. Our workshops are designed to help them rediscover what it is they love about each other. If you’d like to try this in your own family, you might want to start with this…

Seven Things You Should Always Say to Family:
1. I love you.
2. Thank you.
3. I could use your help.
4. I love to watch you play. (or do whatever you love to do)
5. I was wrong
6. I’ve never told you that…(give compliment)
7. You made my day!

Click here to read the Huffington Post article to learn more.

Interested in learning more about PLC Family Programs? Email Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director at NJackson@peacelearningcenter.org or call her at 317.327.7144.

Mr. Anybody Lesson

Sep30

IPS 34

The Mr. Anybody Lesson

I have been known to ask educators and youth workers, “How do we get better at basketball or become better readers?” Without hesitation, they always tell me, “practice.” Next I ask, “how do we get better at resolving conflict?”

Almost always I am answered with silence. In some groups who are willing to be honest, I hear things like “You get sent to the principal’s office” or “you get told to be quiet.”

The skills required to coexist peacefully with each other are the same skills that help us learn together and help us create healthy communities. Believe it or not, much of our time is spent convincing those who work with children that these skills deserve time and attention.

If we know that a healthy school climate helps keep kids learning and keeps them in school, why don’t we prioritize the learning which creates that healthy school climate? Maybe it’s because teachers don’t feel adequately prepared to do so. Maybe it’s because teachers have been warned against taking a few minutes from curriculum, standards, and pacing guides to tune in to what is really needed in their classrooms. We at Peace Learning Center have found, after 18 years of working with youth,that a small investment in time and energy pays off in lasting and remarkable ways.

The lasting value of peace education hit home for me, literally, when one of our facilitators worked with my daughter’s preschool classroom. JT, the facilitator, came to me afterward and told me that my daughter didn’t say a word in the last session. I didn’t think much of it because she is a pretty reserved person in social groups. A few days later she asked for scissors and began working hard on a “project.” She came to me and introduced a paper figure called “Mr. Anybody”, explaining that when we say mean things to him, it breaks him in to pieces. She showed me the confetti-like remnants of Mr. Anybody and invited me to tell him something mean so I said to him, “You are terrible.”

She silently cut another piece off of his now tiny body and solemnly looked to me for a response. I told her that I felt really sorry for Mr. Anybody. She reassured me, explaining that by saying kind things, being a friend, and telling him that we are sorry we could try to rebuild him but that he will never be the same as he was before we said mean things to him. She spent the next half hour patiently gluing him back together and affirming him in the sweet ways that only 4 year olds know how to do. In the days that have followed she has referenced the value of kind words many times.

All of this came from a short lesson called Mr. Anybody. JT was surprised that she retained so much, having not spoken a word during the activity. We had discussed feelings, kindness, using nice words as many times as you’d expect in a family of educators, but it took an experienced facilitator, a clever activity, and a peer group to make it stick. As she carefully demonstrated her learning, I couldn’t stop thinking, “This really works. Every kid deserve..no needs, to learn this.” Mr. Anybody also paved the way for her learn a model for conflict resolution that we now use daily to communicate at home when we disagree or become upset..and yes, conflict does happen daily, even in a peacemaker’s home!

Teaching children the skills that they will need to be peacemakers must not be an afterthought or a one-time endeavor. It takes work and practice, just like anything else worth learning. It also must be a school-wide effort that includes all teachers, staff, and administrators to really take root. Children want peaceful environments for learning and living and are fully capable of learning to be peacemakers, if we just give them the tools, modeling, and space to do it.

Ask your children and their schools what they are already doing to equip students to resolve conflict peacefully. Encourage and practice peacemaking at home and help connect your child’s schools with organizations like Peace Learning Center who are able to help schools become more peaceful, inviting spaces where youth feel connected and are set up to succeed.
Written by Kristina Hulvershorn, Director of Youth Programs. Learn more about Peace Learning Center programs by visiting our website at peacelearningcenter.org/what-we-do/ or email Kristina at khulvershorn@peacelearningcenter.org.

Desmond Tutu Youth Fellows

Sep23

YF Banner

What is the Desmond Tutu Youth Fellows Program?

At the heart of the Desmond Tutu Center is a simple, bold idea: to identify, train, sustain, and connect the next generation of emerging young leaders struggling for social justice and reconciliation around the world and right here in Indiana. In 2013, the Desmond Tutu Center received a gift from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, allowing the Center to launch its Youth Fellows Initiative, an empowerment program for young emerging leaders from Central Indiana and South Africa.

The Youth Fellows initiative is designed to support youth who want to change and challenge existing norms that prevent their community from achieving equality. In collaboration with Indianapolis-based Peace Learning Center, Central Indiana youth, ages 16-21, will be selected based on their passion for social justice and desire to implement a project that will uplift their community.

Youth Fellows from Central Indiana will travel to South Africa on an educational tour led by DTC Executive Director, Allan Boesak, close colleague and friend of Desmond Tutu. The two-week trip will take place during the last two weeks of July with expenses including passport fees, airfare, accommodations, and meals covered by the Desmond Tutu Center.

On this study trip, the Youth Fellows will be paired with an organization related to their social justice focus area. They will live with a South African family, see the country and struggles of the Apartheid, and seek out key South African lessons for social justice work and community development. Upon their return, the Youth Fellows will apply what they have learned by implementing a social justice project in Central Indiana.

During the second phase of the program, the process will repeat with Youth Fellows being selected from South Africa to travel to Indianapolis for an educational tour led by Allan Boesak where they will learn key lessons for social justice work and community development. Like the first cohort, the fellows will apply what they have learned to a social justice project in South Africa.

Throughout the program, the Desmond Tutu Center and the Peace Learning Center will hold public events with the Hoosier and South African cohorts, so that a wide variety of Hoosiers—a religiously, culturally, racially, and generationally diverse group—could learn more about the remarkable young people and their vision for a more peaceful world.

Who can apply:

  • Youth ages 16-21 years of age
  • Youth with an existing project or a new idea on achieving social change
  • Youth from low-income families
  • Youth who live in Marion, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hancock, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan, or Hendricks County.
  • Youth who can commit to implementing their project in Central Indiana during the 2016-2017.

How to apply:

  • Fill out the Youth Fellow Application form.
  • Answer the essay question at the end of the application in 600 words or less.
  • If you are 18 or older, sign and date the signature form.
  • If you are under 18, have your parent or legal guardian complete and sign the signature form.
  • Submit your application online by clicking here to access the electronic portal or mail your application to the following address:

Desmond Tutu Center
c/o The Christian Theological Seminary
1000 W. 42nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact Jay Horan at Peace Learning Center by email at jhoran@peacelearningcenter.org or by phone at 317-327-7144.

Tentative Timeline:

  • Applications will be accepted from October-December 2015
  • Applications Due: January 1, 2016
  • Candidate selections & interviews conducted January-February 2016
  • Award Announcement: March 4, 2016
  • Prep-sessions begin June 2016
  • Travel to South Africa during the last two weeks of July
  • Project implementation window August-May 2017
  • Project Symposium: May 2017

Please note you will be notified via the contact information you provided in your application.

Application Deadline: January 1, 2016

 

Team-Building

Aug26

Steve Jobs

Can We Help Build Your “Team”?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “team” in its simplest form; “A group of people who work together.”  At Peace Learning Center, we think it’s a little more complicated than that.  At the very least, our notion of an effective team is any group, small or large, working towards a common goal or objective that demonstrates the ability to:
  • Manage and overcome conflict in positive ways
  • Encourage dialogue with dignity and respect
  • Appreciate and leverage the team’s diversity
  • Ensure all voices and perspectives are heard
  • Build consensus
  • Contentiously improve
The complexity and content of our Community Programs and the “teams” we serve continues to grow.  This year our workshop objectives included everything from better understanding personality styles to strategic planning (Our belief is that a gifted, talented group of professional leaders cannot create a sound strategic plan if they don’t know how to work/talk together!). 
 
Organizations we served this past year included teams from the Teaching, Non-profit, Medical, Government, Faith-based, Military, Corporate, and Youth Service Provider fields.  All workshops were different and designed to best meet the needs of each particular team.  One recent participant said of a team building workshop, “I absolutely DREADED coming to this, but I’m leaving feeling happy with a renewed commitment to my team and teammates – thank you!”  Now that’s the kind of response we like!
 
Let us know if you think we can help your team.  You can email John McShane, our Community Programs Director at JMcShane@peacelearningcenter.org or call him at 317.327.7144.  John will be happy to discuss the details and opportunities for helping you create a great team! 

7 Ways to Build Empathy

Jul28
Feelings Bingo

We utilize Feelings Bingo to teach children about their feelings and how to express them in healthy ways.

Building empathy is at the heart of “be the change” – the new exhibit and workshop series located in Peace Learning Center’s lower level.

Empathy plays a critical role in shaping how we interact with each other, animals, and the world around us. It’s of critical importance to all good relationships – personal and professional. Some people may naturally have more of it than others. But, research shows us that it can be learned and practiced.

Teachers and parents have the privilege and huge responsibility to teach empathy.

Here are seven ways to be a good empathy influence for the children in your life and set them on the path to be the change for others throughout their lives:

1. Model caring for others

2. Model good listening skills

3. Be forgiving

4. Challenge prejudices and stereotypes

5. Help them learn to recognize, express, and manage their feelings

6. Encourage responsibility

Click here to read more about how teachers can build empathy in the classroom through the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard University.

 

Family is everything – 6 Tips for Deeper Listening

Jul16

DenseForestChatrata

Family is Everything – 6 Tips for Listening Deeply

 A Family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, but when you are inside, you see that each tree has its place.  – Yoruba People 

Today, right now, all families face challenges that can and do put terrific strains on establishing and maintaining harmony and peace. These circumstances press into, and lean on, and sometimes snap that family tie.  Challenges range from food insecurity, arguments, disrespect, sibling rivalry, inappropriate associates, joblessness, homelessness, and even violence.  One of the biggest reasons for conflict in families is miscommunication.

Peace Learning Center’s Connect and Communicate family program works with families to improve what is good in their communication.  A multitude of topics are covered such as: Understanding the 12 Blocks to Listening; Effective Listening; Listening with Empathy, Openness and Awareness; Conflict Resolution; and Peaceful Living.

We all want to be heard, so here are six tips on letting someone know you are hearing them:

  1. Maintain good eye contact.
  2. Lean slightly forward.
  3. Reinforce the speaker by nodding or paraphrasing.
  4. Clarify by asking questions.
  5. Actively move away from distractions.
  6. Be committed, even if you’re angry or upset, to understanding what is being said.

Last Saturday, at one of our Family Workshops in Eagle Creek Park, participants (ranging in age from 7 to 72) were asked, “When you hear the word family, what word comes to your mind?”   Here are some of their responses: brothers-sisters, support, love, caring, family dinners, survival, strength, values, integrity, and patience.  Clearly, family means something different to everyone.

The modern American family looks nothing like the traditional families that black and white TV upheld in the 50’s and 60’s – the idealized image of mothers as homemakers tending to the needs of her flock with never a lock of hair out of place. It seemed as if everything was wonderful and perfect then. All conflicts could be settled when Dad came home and all were smiling and settled around the dinner table.

Of course there are still families who carry on these traditions – family dinners – at least three or four times a week.  And then there are families who eat dinner with trays on their laps – watching television or a movie.  Some families only sit around a shared table during the holidays – especially Thanksgiving.  And then some families do not eat together at all.  What qualifies a unit to be called family?

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held that marriage equality is the law of the land.  Another definition of family has come into play.  What about blended families? Or, families with blood ties only? Families consisting of adopted children – especially children who are not of the same ethnicity as their adopted parents – what about them?  Transgender parents are now becoming more visible in our country.  Again, what qualifies a unit to be called family?

Whether people group themselves into units labeled families based on marriage, nuclear and extended households, common ancestry, clan, affiliation, or fellowship –they have a glue that binds them together based on Love. And, helping families understand how to grow and nurture that love is what Peace Learning Center’s Family Programs do best.

For more information on how you, your family, or organization can participate in PLC’s Family Programs, contact: Naeemah Jackson by phone at 317-327-7144 or by email at  njackson@peacelearningcenter.org.

Anti-Stress Mandalas

Jun25

Flower mandala

Mandalas for Reducing Stress

 We’re always searching for new self-calming tools to help the children and youth we serve clear their minds so they can focus on learning. We’ve discovered coloring mandalas is an easy and effective way for people of all ages to reduce their stress.

We’re always searching for new self-calming tools to help the children and youth we serve clear their minds so they can focus on learning. We’ve discovered coloring mandalas is an easy and effective way for people of all ages to reduce their stress.

Numerous mandala coloring books filled with beautiful images and intricate details are now available for children and adults. Free mandala coloring pages are also available online. To try out this peaceful activity, click here to read a Huffington Post article about a mandala coloring book and print a few of the gorgeous mandalas to color with (or without) your kids this summer!

Learn more about Peace Learning Center programs by visitingpeacelearningcenter.org/what-we-do/

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