26 06, 2020

Summer at PLC

2021-05-20T17:41:23-04:00June 26th, 2020|

by Tim Nation, Executive Director While the school year is over, it is not time for a break at Peace Learning Center. Our team facilitates training and workshops for youth and adults throughout the summer. We are getting many requests for help with equity education including implicit bias and responsive circles. Based in restorative practices, responsive circles are an open forum for sharing, reflecting, and moving to action in response to a problem, opportunity, and/or event. Many groups need time and attention to process how they will move toward racial inclusion, and how life is changing because of Covid-19. Our Family Learning workshops attract youth and adults together who want to build peace in their homes. Also, schools are working with us to train their administrators and staff on restorative practices to replace their exclusionary systems of suspensions and expulsions. We continue to provide social and emotional learning to youth through summer camps by providing virtual learning to build conflict resolution skills throughout Indianapolis, as well as hosting Social Justice Camp for teens and Climate Camp through a partnership with Indiana Earth Charter and HEART.  ACT Out Theatre Ensemble performs live at Indy Parks summer camps and other sites around town. Our new Tribes Learning Communities is also keeping us busy as we schedule trainings and sell materials through our online store at http://tribes.com. You can participate in our virtual workshops that include implicit bias, family learning, understanding and

19 09, 2019

Our Equity Journey

2021-05-20T17:41:25-04:00September 19th, 2019|Tags: , , |

by Natalie Spriggs, Director of Programs Here at Peace Learning Center, the staff spend a lot of time discussing and analyzing equity.  If folks are talking about peace, equity must be part of the conversation AND the conversation has to be more than a check box of “we talked about it, now we are good.” What does equity look like here at Peace Learning Center? This is the question staff at PLC continually ask.  One of the places PLC has landed is how to work from a place of consensus, where power is shared, especially in decision-making.  One example of how PLC moved to a place of consensus in decision-making is moving from administration team meetings to full staff meetings.  Before, large decisions were being made by those in power, administration, with no other staff “at the table”.  PLC now has full staff meetings in place of administration meetings where information and decision-making is shared between all staff. Equity also looks like analyzing all that PLC does through an anti-racist lens.  For example, when looking at policies we analyze: Who wrote the policy? Who does this policy benefit? Is this policy fair? Why does this policy exist? etc.  PLC opened the policy discussion by starting out with the full staff reviewing the policy handbook. This was a long process, and is not done yet, but it ensures that everyone’s voice has a chance to be heard. Peace Learning Center

28 08, 2018

Impact Story: You and I vs. Us and We

2021-05-20T17:41:33-04:00August 28th, 2018|Tags: |

by Naeemah Jackson, Director of Family Programs These days, the word “tribalism” is front and center in our social discourse.  You and I can easily choose a tribe that defines our collective identity when we move from “I” and “Me” to “Us” and “We.”   So, who are we?  And where do we belong?  Do we change our value set once we gain entry into the tribe?  Or, do we maintain the “I” am within the tribe? Recently I had the great good fortune to facilitate an Implicit Bias session in a northern Indiana rural community.  The fifty participants were members of that community; majority White men in their 50’s, 60’s and a few in their 70’s; blue-collar workers; hunters; campers; and fishermen; with shotguns in their trucks outside.  I was the only Black person in the room.  Now, I could have easily slid into a presumptive attitude that it would be difficult to establish a sense of common beliefs with this audience around family values; politics; socio-economic status; class; work ethic; and assume what their ideas on race, gender, and other social justice concerns were.  It would have been very easy – and very wrong. There I was, standing before them, locks and all – proudly wearing West African inspired jewelry – looking at them – looking at me.  Most not really wanting to be there – but they had to be.  So……here we go. Their tribal identity was

22 02, 2018

Safe Spaces in Community Programs

2021-05-20T17:41:38-04:00February 22nd, 2018|Tags: , |

by John McShane, Community Programs Director I worked recently with the senior staff at an Indianapolis hospital on a team building and renewal workshop series. There were about 50 participants. This was our second meeting. In our first, we discussed assumptions and how they might feed into misunderstandings and even conflict. Session one also reviewed conflict styles and communication strategies. Something about session two was very different. We began the session with a concentric circle exercise. People are assigned dialogue partners and are tasked, alternately, with only speaking or listening roles.  The three questions for the short conversations (about 90 second each) were: Tell me about a time you felt left out, unwelcome, or even discriminated against. Tell me about a time you saw someone left out, unwelcome, or even discriminated against. Tell me about a time you saw someone left out, unwelcome, or even discriminated against and it worked out well or was a success story. The questions follow a pattern we typically use in our professional development workshops. We begin with reflection and an examination of self, our stance. We then follow with work and dialogue considering our impact on and with others. Finally, after discussing self and others, we move to community. Specifically, we discuss what impact participants can have on their own communities. In this context a community can be a workplace, a family, a neighborhood, a professional association, a place of worship, etc. The

17 11, 2017

Inside Implicit Bias Workshops

2021-05-20T17:41:40-04:00November 17th, 2017|Tags: , , |

by Natalie Spriggs, Youth Programs Director Lately, “implicit bias” is a buzz term that has popped up in articles and social media. Most folks know what bias is, but implicit biases are those biases that are hidden; one may not necessarily be aware of. Peace Learning Center has taken on tackling the issues around implicit bias. We have created a 4-Hour long workshop that helps people look inside themselves, figuring out what implicit biases one may have as well as analyzing gatekeepers and how this affects the daily work folks do. Peace Learning Center has led many of these implicit bias workshops with all sorts of people. Of course when something is hidden finding it can always be a challenge. Homework is given before these workshops: the Harvard implicit bias surveys. There are several different ways to uncover implicit bias. This is just one of the ways used to help folks see where some of their implicit bias may lie. It is interesting to me the different reactions people have with the implicit bias test. Most all of the reactions people may experience are perfectly normal; reactions range from disbelief, refusal of taking the test, questioning of the validity of the test, and many other reactions. Others have a great understanding before they take this test, have done some work themselves around implicit bias, and understand everyone has implicit bias. Again all of these reactions are perfectly normal; just stages

14 02, 2017

Community Peace Building Academy for Senior Care Facilities

2017-05-25T15:28:42-04:00February 14th, 2017|Tags: |

By John McShane, Community Programs Director One of my favorite participants in a peacebuilding workshop at a resident retired community told the following story: “Looking back, many of us can remember a time when we were picked on, bullied, or, in some way, made to feel unwelcome or alone. Sadly, this sometimes continues as we move to apartment or resident retired communities. It’s like high school all over again.” She continued, “The difference is that in high school, you had a friend to talk to or could even go home at the end of the day. Worst case was that you knew you were getting out of school one day, that there was an end in sight. The difference here, though, is that for new residents, we don’t have friends yet, we aren’t going home at the end of the day, and for many of us this is the last place we are going to live. We deserve better than that.” Peace Learning Center began hosting community peace building workshops for retired communities in 2015. The training was provided to residents, staff, and management. Results were impressive. One Service Coordinator reports that: Many residents’ shared they have decided to stay housed in the community. Residents report an increased sense of belonging. Residents are protecting, caring, and contributing to their community. Some Residents are volunteering to host events for the community and residents are also beginning to seek volunteer opportunities in

14 09, 2016

Peace Learning Center and the Ivy Tech New Leaders Academy

2021-05-20T17:41:50-04:00September 14th, 2016|Tags: , |

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

22 09, 2015

The Mindful Path – Mindfulness Connects Police and Community

2021-05-20T17:42:07-04:00September 22nd, 2015|Tags: , , |

Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! In this last post of the quarter on Mindfulness and the Community, we’ll introduce how mindfulness practiced by police officers connects them to the community in a unique and meaningful way that improves outcomes. Let’s start with a video from mindful.org, the online home of “Mindful,” the print magazine, and lots of additional content. Watch Richard Goerling talk about how mindful policing can make a difference: Mindful Policing Video Below is a link in mindful.org to a related article that Goerling wrote for “The Police Chief,” where he discusses the reactive approach police generally use, and how applying mindfulness on the job can enhance officer performance in the most challenging situations, improving police-citizen encounters. Mindfulness Impacts Police Article Finally, in this article from the management consulting firm, Hay Group, see what happens to the brain under stress, and how mindfulness can make a difference: Brain Stress Article The Hay Group article demonstrates how awareness of what’s happening and taking mindful action can dramatically impact a stressful police situation. Every time I read the opening example, it gives me chills because it’s clear that mindfulness can mean the difference between life and death on any given day, depending on how a police officer decides to handle a situation. Mindfulness can be a powerful resource for our communities. Where do you see its application in the area where you live? Are there ways that you can

8 09, 2015

The Mindful Path – Impacting the Community Through the Arts

2021-05-20T17:42:08-04:00September 8th, 2015|Tags: , , , |

Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! I have a wonderful mindfulness story to share with you in this post. It’s about Bill Strickland, an incredible man with an amazing vision. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to see Bill make a presentation as part of a “Fast Company” magazine event, and the power of his story, passion for making a difference, and personal presence are forever in my thoughts. In high school, Bill found himself drifting without purpose. One day, he went by the classroom of Frank Ross, an art teacher who was making clay pots. Bill wandered in and asked Ross to show him how to do that, and the experience was the start of changing his life. Ultimately, with mentoring from Ross, Bill went to college. He found an audacious way to give back to his community, transforming the lives of young students and adults. Bill saw the impact the arts had on his life, and he had to find a way to share it with others. Bill is a community leader, author, and the President and CEO of the non-profit Manchester Bidwell Corporation based in Pittsburgh. The company's subsidiaries, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Bidwell Training Center, work with disadvantaged and at-risk youth through involvement with the arts and provides job training for adults, respectively. Strickland is a winner of a MacArthur “Genuis” Award and the 2011 Goi Peace Award. The best way to really understand

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