Did you know that July 17th is National Emoji Day? To celebrate, we're sharing a social-emotional check-in strategy that works for groups of any size and folks of all ages! Check out the video above to hear the directions and learn about ways this activity can be extended. These free slides make this a zero prep strategy for the classroom.
by Kyarie Shelton Hello, my name is Kyarie Shelton. I just recently graduated from Pike High School and will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall. For the past two or three years, I have participated in Social Justice Leadership Camp. In the Summer of 2019, I was a participant in the camp. This camp opened my eyes to issues that I was unaware of. As an African American female, I knew from my own experiences of racial and gender inequalities; however, through this camp, I learned about mental health disparities, the wealth gap, sexuality inequalities, and the injustices that other people of color face. This camp not only explores the inequality of marginalized groups of people on a surface/street level, but it dives into the institutions and ideologies that keep the marginalized groups oppressed. The structure of the camp is as unique as the wonderful woman running it. Although our days are scheduled, Clare allows the participants to speak freely, even if it deviates a bit from the topic at hand. Clare creates a safe haven for opinions to be heard, and more importantly, respected. Clare treats us all as family and makes sure to incorporate light-hearted days throughout the program to even out the intense discussions. During the Summer of 2020, I was invited back to be a facilitator, and I facilitated throughout the 2020-2021 school year. It was an amazing experience, touching the lives of
Quick! How many names for mother can you name off the top of your head? Here are a few: Iya, Yoruba language Madre, Italian Mama, Spanish Amai, Shona Mae, Portuguese Tina, Samoan Mathair, Irish No matter what culture – Mothers are traditionally loved, honored, revered, respected, cherished, cared for, and protected. Mothers are life-givers who do not hesitate to do what is necessary for the betterment, and upliftment of their children, grandchildren, as well as great-grandchildren. No task is too hard and no mountain is too high for her to climb when it comes to her, as my Grandmother called us, her “get.” The Yoruba People of Nigeria say no prayers are more potent and powerful than the prayers of a Mother for her child. Here is a story on how the tears of Mothers can bring forth hope and strength when there seems to only be despair: The Legend of the Cherokee Rose In the latter half of 1838, Cherokee People who had not voluntarily moved west earlier were forced to leave their homes in the East. The trail to the West was long and treacherous and many were dying along the way. The People's hearts were heavy with sadness and their tears mingled with the dust of the trail. The Elders knew that the survival of the children depended upon the strength of the women. One evening around the campfire, the Elders called upon Heaven Dweller, ga
by Naeemah Jackson, Director of Family Programs There are myriad definitions for the word Peace. For some it simply means an absence of violence or anger or conflict. However, the concept of Peace covers an incredibly wide range of thoughts and feelings. In the Family Peace Workshops that I facilitate, when I ask, “What does Peace mean to you?;” participants – both youth and adults come up with definitions such as: happiness, joy, freedom, security, respect, clean environment, family, friends, laughter, feeling of belonging, no fear – and one that stands out for this moment – not being hungry all the time. Since July 2020, Peace Learning Center with a generous grant from the United Way of Central Indiana’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, and through its Family Programs initiative; have fed over 150 families and 463 individuals. 90% of these families reside in the 46218 zip code. We have been able to provide fresh and healthy meals on site; as well as hundreds of pounds of dry groceries, masks, hand sanitizers, household cleaning items, books, and magazines on how to eat healthy on a food stamp budget. In addition, families receive gift cards which will allow them to purchase fresh healthy food and other household items they need. Many families save half of the gift cards to be used for the Thanksgiving holiday. Also, these gift cards can be utilized for Uber and Lyft rides to the grocery. Sadly, the
by Clare Wildhack-Nolan Whenever I am fortunate enough to be facilitating a group of young people, I first connect to them by acknowledging and lifting up their power as leaders, not in the future, but now. They are and can be leaders for peace. I ask them to raise their hands if they believe that adults have created a problem-free world for them. I have had one younger child raise their hand, out of hundreds. I then ask them if they think adults have created problems that now they have to solve. Hands fly up. Then I let them know that I am sorry, and many of us are trying our best to solve them, but that we really need them. As my coworker Naeemah Jackson always points out, youth are the tip of the spear. They carry insights into the current times I often miss, and the energy, passion, and power to challenge the adults and innovate. Each generation has. Getting to facilitate Social Justice based conversations with youth always gives me hope. The narrative that teens are off on their screens, wrapped up just in themselves, is a false one. Their deep care for their families, communities, and faith is always at the center of their conversation and work. And they have a keen awareness of where injustice may be taking place. My/Our approach to supporting youth leaders is in offering critical thinking practice, an opportunity to
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
Dear PLC Community, My name is Jay Horan and I am the Director of Community Engagement at Peace Learning Center. As a part of my role I am charged with managing our public and program partnerships. The last few months have been interesting, to say the least. Our partners are reaching out at high rates requesting support for their staff and communities in regard to social-emotional learning, wellness, regulation and stress management. Our amazing team took the challenges of our new virtual world and have been able to produce powerful, thoughtful, and engaging workshops so that we are still able to show up for the community in the way that we always have but also in new and exciting ways too. These past few months we have forwarded our vision and mission to a new level. A few weeks ago we did a statewide e-training with the Indiana Library Federation where Megan Zanto, Member Engagement Manager said, “Thank you so much for being experts at peace.” Days after we hosted our first restorative practices training online with over 50 participants from the community and were told, “The presenter was knowledgeable and inclusive. The presentation was informative and interactive!” What we feared was that our trainings would lose their impact, what we are finding out is quite the opposite! The virtual format allows for new ways of connecting and our facilitators to gauge in real-time the effect of group learning.
by Kate Owens July is a special time at Peace Learning Center because it is when we host our two specialty camps! Climate camp is put on in collaboration with Earth Charter–Indiana and brings together Indianapolis youth ages 5-17 to learn about climate and sustainability. Every day of climate camp is different, full of different activities such as creek stomping, yoga, and field trips. One of the most special parts of Climate Camp is participating in a ceremony called The Council of All Beings, which asks the students to choose an animal whose perspective they will look at the world through. By doing this, they learn to look at the earth more empathetically and understand how all beings are interconnected. They make masks to help them embody and understand their creatures. This exercise guides the youth climate warriors to think about how climate change is impacting the lives of other species. This powerful and inspiring week leads all those involved to renew a passion to live sustainable. One camper described his personal impact of Climate camp saying: “When I go home, what I want to do is to defend the earth from climate change. I’m going to try to lower my carbon footprint. I want to try using less power, composting more, recycling more and trying to pick up more trash when I see it.” The other specialty camp we host in July is Social Justice Leadership Camp! SJLC
by Clare Wildhack-Nolan Social Justice Leadership Camp for 2019 is now taking applications! We cannot wait to meet the new leaders who will arrive at camp. Each summer it has been amazing to facilitate and get to know the bright, powerful youth who come to camp. Each day is an adventure watching the group get to know each other, gaining trust as a group and in themselves. In this text and computer-based world it takes extra bravery to share your authentic selves with people, offering your hopes and struggles, being challenged in a face to face format; however, each summer teenagers crush stereotypes and do it, better than most adults can! Social Justice Leadership Camp is a two-week day camp, July 8th to the 20th (9:00 am to 4:30 pm), with optional overnights on Fridays. Each day involves activities designed to build leadership skills, analyze power through critical thinking skills, develop community, provide time for self-reflection, and have fun! The themes of each day include: Who I Am, Social Justice Leadership 101, Economic Justice, Racial Justice, Gender and Sexuality Justice, Using Our Voice for Justice-Taking Action, Community Tours, and a SJ Leader Lunch. The camp will be held in the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood at the UUI Church. The cost is whatever families can afford, between $10-$200. We want to make sure money is not an obstacle for any participant. Please let us know if you need transportation assistance. Here is
by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director Stereotypes are misleading. Stereotypes are harmful. Stereotypes are incredibly counter-productive, and they can be anathema to the truth of a person, and/or a group of people. Even city zip codes can reinforce negative stereotyping of the people who live within these boundaries. High property taxpayers vs. renters. Let us together demolish a pernicious stereotype. As an example, I am referencing Blackburn Terrace Apartment Complex which is located within the 46218 zip code in Indianapolis, IN; a zip code which is considered to be a "hot spot." Blackburn has its share of crime - which of course never fails to make it to the local evening news. After all, "if it bleeds, it leads." However, the level of scrutiny many neighborhoods and their residents receive - and the level of outrage and condemnation which the community at large can heap upon them is too often out of proportion; and, too often ignored are the constructive and positive activities and initiatives that are a daily occurrence. There is more good than bad. An example of a meritorious effort being carried out at the Blackburn Terrace Complex, among other proactive work being done by the staff, is the introduction of Peace Learning Center's Connect and Communicate (CC) Program. These multi-generational workshops have proven to be efficacious in the past at working with families to make what is good and righteous in the family, even better. We