by Clare Wildhack-Nolan, Director of Social Justice Leadership Camp For the past 5 years, March has been the exciting time of year where I begin sharing with the community the opportunity for Indy teens to participate in Social Justice Leadership Camp. It feels amazing to be able to offer teens the kind of experience that I wished I had had when I was their age. As a teenager in Indianapolis, who already had strong values around human rights and the environment, I was in a constant state of learning and critically analyzing the hypocrisy I felt the adult world dished out. My identity and search for friendships and mentors was tied to my desire to address the pain in the world. Unfortunately, there was not a lot to choose from. Indianapolis was very segregated then as it is now, and I only knew the opportunity my small section offered, and only had those conversations with my classmates and a close knit group of friends. It would have been amazing to have a diverse group of teens from across the city to meet with and hear their perspectives. It would have been amazing to connect with adults who could listen and understand, and encourage me, complicating and connecting the information and experience I was grappling with. In those formative years, it would have been amazing to connect with people who I wouldn't have met any other way, and become a
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
"Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache: You won't be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace will come looking for you." - Ajahn Chah The quote above was the inspiration for the name of our annual Mustached Turtle Dash. (By the way...it's not too late to register to participate in this fun and family-friendly event!) We selected it because it is indicative of the work we strive to do everyday at Peace Learning Center. After 17 years of working to teach peace, we've learned that true peace can not be achieved in our families, schools, organizations, city or our world without people first learning how to find peace within themselves. At Peace Learning Center, we help the organizations we serve create cultures of peace by empowering people to find the peace within so they can become peacemakers in the world. This month's issue of the Peace Learning News will showcase how we are creating more peacemakers by introducing you to two new Youth Development Facilitators, sharing how Indianapolis leaders meet on a monthly basis to dialogue about critical racial and cultural issues in our community, and helping you find peace within through our weekly Mindful Path blog. Click here to read the entire newsletter.
"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson." - Tom Bodett Greetings! It's back to school time. Time to slow down while driving through school zones; time to change your schedule so you can pick up the kids and take them to practice; time to shop for school supplies, clothes and locker accessories; and time to get the kids back in the routine of homework, studying and learning who their new friends are this year. All this can be very stressful indeed! At Peace Learning Center, we work everyday to teach people how to cope with the stress in their lives to fulfill our mission to build peace for healthy communities. In this month's newsletter, we're featuring a few upcoming events designed to build peace in our communities, sharing a grant opportunity, providing ways for you to get involved through volunteering, highlighting our expansion plans, how we help groups create safer spaces, and sharing a delicious recipe for a great back-to-school snack! Click here to read more.
"Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better." - King Whitney Jr. It's that time of year when everything outside is beginning to change. Flowers are blooming, young animals are being born, and the weather (at least in Indiana) seems to go from one extreme to another on a daily basis. It is definitely a time of many transitions in our world! This issue of PLC News focuses on transitions and giving back because transitions give back to all of us by providing growth and learning opportunities - that is, if we are willing to embrace change rather than fear it. As always, thank you for your interest in supporting our mission to educate, inspire, and empower people to live peacefully! Be sure to check out our upcoming PLC events at the end of this newsletter for more ways you can get involved. Click here to read more. Peace on, Peace Learning Center
LOVE is what we were born with. FEAR is what we learned here. - Marianne Williamson - Yet another Valentine's Day has come and gone this year, but love is still in the air this month (at least it is here at PLC) which is why we decided it was worth pondering LOVE and, its evil step sister, FEAR. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower people to live peacefully which is why love and fear are so important for us to consider. After all, it is very hard to live in peace when you are living in fear.So, in this issue of the Peace Learning News, we will explore the power of both love and fear while also sharing tips and new program opportunities with you that will help bring more peace and love into your life. Click here to view our February 2014 edition of the PLC News.
"Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts." - Henri Frederic Amiel Gratitude if the active process of acknowledging goodness and recognizing its source, according to Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychologist who specializes in researching gratitude and happiness. His research has shown that a person's level of gratitude is directly related to their level of happiness. At Peace Learning Center, we believe happy people are peaceful people. That's why we're dedicating this issue of PLC News to gratitude. (Plus, it's a theme that works well for this time of year!) We hope you will join us in showing your gratitude for the many people and things in your life that bring you joy. To see a few simple new ways you and your family can give thanks together click on the link below: Gratitude in Action - 30 Ways to Give Thanks One of our favorite new ideas to give thanks is by baking "thank you" bread using a monkey bread recipe. Then, as each family member pulls off each piece, ask them share something for which they are grateful. Here at Peace Learning Center we are grateful for so many things - most of which are a direct result of people like you! Thank you for everything you do to promote peace in our community. Peace on, Peace Learning Center Click here to read more.