Peace Learning Center youth programs have been recognized by the Indianapolis Crime Prevention Task Force report as “a local ‘best practice’ that has demonstrated the effectiveness of teaching young adults and at-risk youth creative ways of resolving conflicts, personal responsibility, and character building.” As a result of this report, Mayor Greg Ballard named Peace Learning Center as one of his lead partners in crime prevention in an Indianapolis Star article.
Our programs are designed to increase protective factors among participating youth. Asset-based protective factors were researched and identified by the US Department of Education, Health and Human Service and Department of Justice as effective strategies that improve behavior, lessen youth violence, and help youth succeed.
We know what we do works and through partnership with the Indiana University Center for Urban and Multicultural Education we have documented our successes and worked diligently to improve based on feedback from youth and our communities.
At Irvington Community High School, we work with all freshmen and were the only intervention in place. We tracked behavior referrals before and after our work with this group and school reports for behavior referrals dropped 67% after our 12 week program.
At Indiana Boys’ School, our full Peace Schools model, in which we engage all staff and youth in our program to create a culture of respect and nonviolence, has been in place for three years now. When we started there were averages of 130 incidents of violence. In May 2013, only 33 incidents were reported – the lowest in the facility’s history.
At Indiana Girls’ School, a group of students receiving an intensive program increased their group average grade from a D to a B. In addition, we found the following results after working with the Indiana Girls’ School students:
- 95% of students surveyed after our multi-session programs discovered new skills to handle conflict.
- 81% of students surveyed after our multi-session programs believed that it is up to them “whether I choose to continue a conflict with someone.”
- 93% of students surveyed after our multi-session programs felt more confident in making decisions.
- 93% of students surveyed after our multi-session programs felt like they are more open-minded in their interactions with other students.
Some encouraging words from students who participated in Peace Learning Center programs:
“I have loved what you guys taught us because now I realize I don’t just have to attack.”
“Going out to the PLC made me realize that I didn’t have to always be angry and mean…On the field trip I felt like I could be happy”
“It was cool out at the Peace Learning Center. I saw that we could all get along and have fun together. Maybe being at school in a negative environment, and around negative influences we feel like we have to act that way, but being out there we saw that it can be different.”
“Our discipline referrals are down and Peace Learning Center had a lot to do with that.”
-Principal Fox Hill Elementary
“Since January of 2013 our students and staff have been meeting with the PLC to discuss ways to be more mindful and peaceful. I think having Peace Learning Center working with the freshmen class has helped students think more responsibly about conflict and better ways to resolve their problems than violence or aggression. I would highly recommend PLC to other schools especially in an urban setting where there are high occurrences of fights and aggressive speech patterns from students to students and disrespect toward teachers. Many students are also thinking more introspectively about why they are behaving in such a way. As an administrator I especially enjoy hearing the students tell me that they rethought a decision based on what the PLC discussed with them. Our school has a culture of respect built in but having a chance to meet with the PLC and ACT OUT has reinforced the mission of our staff to treat all of our students well and to really think about being in their shoes and teaching the students to be mindful. Working with the PLC is only helping to strengthen the work of teaching students the standards for the state but the standards for being a good citizen. I do believe the PLC has had an impact on students especially when it comes to fighting. We had two students who were in a conflict and worked it out. I do think that being involved with the PLC has helped the students think before they act.”
Behavior Coach/Attendance Officer
Irvington Preparatory Academy