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.

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

 

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/

2015 Climate Camp

Apr09

Climate Camp Roots of Violence

Climate Camp sponsored by Earth Charter Indiana, Youth Power Indiana, and HEART:

Learn about our climate predicament along with sustainability solutions and civic action opportunities. Enjoy locally grown food, nature hikes, bike rides and make some new friends!

Watch this short video to learn more about the Climate Camp experience:

Great Results at IPS #93!

Dec28

School 93 Hike 4

Thanks to a grant from the Rotary Foundation of Indianapolis, students and staff at Indianapolis Public Schools #93, and our fantastic Youth Development program team, we were able to achieve the following fantastic results during this year’s Peace School program…

278 students were served during the fall/winter program at George H. Fisher School #93

Evaluation results (Through teacher and student observations)

  1. 80% of students served are able to deal with conflict peacefully – even when someone has made them mad and 91% of students reported they learned new skills that have helped them to be more peaceful.
  2. 91% of students reported they learned new skills that have made them more empathetic.
  3. 95% of students are able to articulate both a sense of purpose about their future and tangible ways that they can get themselves to their goals.
  4. The principal told us that last year there were fights “daily” and that “this year there have only been 2.”

 

What have you learned from PLC that is important to your life? (Quotes from students)

“The peace group taught me that I’m very smart and that I will succeed in my life. I love you people.”

“I learned to stop bullying” (spelled “I lerd to sopt bolen”)

“I choose to be calm and peaceful so I can be a better person.”

“I learned to breathe when I’m mad.”

“I learned to not fight back and handle it in a better way.”

“Don’t fight. I won’t get you nowhere in life.”

“I learned that you can calm yourself when you get mad.”

“I learned meditation! When you get mad, meditate!”

“I learned at the Peace Learning Center to never ever think less of other people or yourself.”

“I learned to be helpful and kind to others.”

“Violence isn’t the answer.”

“Be careful about kind words and about ripping apart another person. Choose to be nice.”

“You can do your best to be a friend to everyone.”

 

Peers Making Peace

Dec15

Peers Making Peace Peer Mediation Training Program

Peers Making Peace is the ONLY conflict resolution program in the nation to be recognized as an evidence-based program by the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. And, Peace Learning Center is the ONLY organization certified to provide this training in Indiana!

This training was made possible through grants from the Community Crime Prevention Program at the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the AT&T Foundation.

What is the Peers Making Peace peer mediation program?

Students along with a staff coordinator receive complete training in mediation skills and program implementation that truly changes the atmosphere of the school campus. The school mediation program provides students and staff a means of nonviolent resolution for disputes that arise in the school setting. Students learn how to turn conflict into win/win situations, not through compromise, but through listening to each other and designing solutions which meet both people’s needs.

  •  Results indicated that 97.7% mediations resulted in an agreement.
  •  Discipline referrals decreased by 57.7% in Peers Making Peace schools, but increased by 8.4% in control schools.
  •  Assaults decreased by 90.2% in Peers Making Peace schools, but increased by 33% incontrol schools.
  •  Expulsions decreased by 73% in Peers Making Peace schools, but increased by 6.2% incontrol schools.
  •  Peers Making Peace is the only conflict resolution program in the nation to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Click here to learn more about the Peers Making Peace program.

Click here to contact PLC’s youth program director to learn how you can bring the Peers Making Peace program to your school.

Your Life Matters

Nov21

YOUR LIFE MATTERS

Melita

Melita Carter

This is a story shared by Melita Carter – one of our youth development facilitators – all of whom utilize their talents and passion to help youth in our community succeed. We’re very lucky to have Melita as well as all of our other youth development facilitators on our team. After reading her essay, we think you’ll agree!

Last Friday, as I was leaving a PLC elementary school program, I came to the stop light of 42nd and Post Rd and saw a young African American male with three children. He was crossing two very busy streets while holding one child in one arm, carrying a three month old in a car seat, and leading a four year who was holding onto the baby’s car seat. This young man had on no coat or gloves, was struggling with all these children, and it was freezing outside.

 

As he passed me, I rolled down my window and yelled to him, “Hey brother would you like a ride?” He stopped and looked at me shivering and replied, “Yes!! Please that would be nice!”

 

I told him to hold on while I made a u-turn at the light. We put the kids in the car, and I proceeded to drive him home and, as always, I never meet a stranger so we talked like we were old friends.  

 

I said to him, “Where are you coming from?”  

 

He said, “I just left an interview from Johnny Rockets downtown, and I had to take my kids over to my brother’s house because he said he would watch them. But it took me two hours on the bus to get them there and for me to get to my interview on time.”  

 

I asked him, “What do you like to do as far as work?”  

 

He responded, ” I would like to do alot of things, but I can’t really because I have felonies and I can’t do much with the felonies I have.”

 

So, I asked him, “What are your felonies in?”  

 

He said without hesitation, “Robbery, and drug charges. Thats why I had to make it to my interview today, because they were talking about 9.50/hr for a dishwasher, that’s better than anything I ever been offered. And I have to see about my children.”  

 

I responded cheerfully, and told him ” I am proud of you, and you are doing a fantastic job. I know it may seem hard now and it doesn’t seem like you’re going to make it. But I promise you, you will. I will see what I can do as far as job leads. But keep your head up, and raise your children right. Keep doing what you’re doing it’s going to come back. Teach your children how to be respectful, kind, caring, honest, humility, and integrity. Teach them to become more. Teach them that that they are powerful, and that they matter to society. Teach them that they are Kings and your daughter is a Queen.”  

 

We laughed and talked, and finally arrived at his house. He said thank you as I helped his children out of the car.  

 

I immediately thought about how people believe every black father is leaving their offspring, and how all these young black fathers aren’t anything…How they are no good, and worthless and don’t want to work. They are irresponsible, and running away from their responsibilities. On that day those stereotypes and myths were destroyed when I saw him struggling with his children in the cold. He did what he had to do just like parents are supposed to do. Not all men are dogs, not all men leave their children to suffer. Not all men want to be unsuccessful. Black men continue to rise up and break the cycle, and demolish the myths and stereotypes that plagues you. If you have to walk in the cold with your babies, do it. Whatever you have to do by any means necessary. Rise KINGS RISE!

For additional information PLC’s youth programs, please contact Kristina Hulvershorn at khulvershorn@peacelearningcenter.org  or visit www.peacelearningcenter.org to learn more about how PLC can help you!

 

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