Maria Ruiz is our Volunteer of the Month. Maria has been interning with our Youth Programs for the past year and has had a huge impact on the youth she serves. Natalie Spriggs, Youth Programs Director, has worked closely with Maria and says, "Maria has been such a joy to work with. She is now one of our meditation experts in teaching children how to take peace breaths and meditate. She has a wonderful calming effect on children. She is out in our schools doing restorative practices each week, as well as at Peace Learning Center helping lead field trips for schools that visit us. We truly could not do the work we do without her!" Maria, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team.
Because I believe that conflict is inevitable, the meaning of peace and how to achieve it will always change with time. Peace means open and honest conversation is encouraged, and no one is silenced. Healthy mediation is in place, and nonviolent tactics are used to manage conflicts. Honest and respectful relationships exist, and individuals protect one another. I think that peace can be achieved, however, it is not an easy task by any means. Peace can be achieved through mediation, conversation, democracy, and nonviolence. My most memorable moment with PLC so far was helping with the MLK 19th Annual Community Festival on January 14th. I really enjoyed being a part of such an important event for our community. Participating in this event was an honor, and I truly have learned more about leadership. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" is a quote by Buddha I live by. I always want to live a peaceful life and constantly try to make other people feel more happy and accepted. Rose is currently taking a short break from school. She was previously at Butler University from Fall 2015-Fall 2016 in the Peace and Conflict Studies program. After this semester off from school, she will be attending IUPUI to study Philanthropy. Rose has a broad interest in all social issues, but in particular, she finds herself mainly
To me, Peace means the opportunity for genuine dialogue. As Martin Buber called it, the “I and Thou” moments. In those moments, there are no hidden agendas, no assumptions, and no judgments. There are only people coming together to talk and listen. I think peace can be achieved through the “I and Thou” moments. Everyone just needs to be willing to open themselves up to others. It is hard for me to pick a most memorable moment at Peace Learning Center, as all of my moments have been memorable. I have only been there for two weeks, but I have already learned quite a bit about what it is like behind the scenes at a nonprofit. I will also never forget how everyone was kind and welcomed me in from the very beginning. To quote my favorite lyric, from my favorite song in the musical RENT, “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” I try to live by this quote because life is too short to have regrets. Worrying over something behind you can keep you from learning the lessons of the past. Not only that, but it can keep you from enjoying yourself in the present.
Lexie Brown is our Volunteer of the Month. Lexie is a senior at Franklin College and is spending her January term volunteering at the Peace Learning Center to help with Special Events. Lexie helped us prepare and manage our 19th Annual Martin Luther King Community Festival. Jay Horan, Director of Engagement, has worked closely with Lexie and says, "Lexie is a hard worker and a joy to be around. She came into PLC and jumped right into her duties without hesitation. I wish we could have her for more than just a month!" Lexie, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Barbara Oberreich is Peace Learning Center's Volunteer of the Year and an incredible supporter of our work. She has been integral in implementing restorative practices in our schools and ensuring volunteers are used and engaged wisely. Kristina Hulvershorn, Director of Youth Programs has worked closely with Barbara and said, "Barbara is an incredible volunteer for so many reasons. Her persistence, patience, and wisdom have allowed us to build new and meaningful programs and partnerships where there were none before. She has helped bring together a group of dedicated and wonderful volunteers who are helping build peace in some really significant ways. She is always there when we need her (whether it is to help us by bring soup to feed a group in training, to help mobilize a large volunteer group, to learn about another training, or to help kids in need). Barbara is such a selfless and wonderful person. We are so lucky she is on our team!" Thank you Barbara for all you do for the Peace Learning Center! You are forever a member of the PLC family!
The Public Defender’s Office is our Volunteer Group of the Month. Public Defender members spent a full Friday working with youth from a local elementary school. After being trained in peace education lessons the volunteers mentored students as they went through rotations. The volunteers were welcoming and friendly. It was clear that they cared about the youth and were happy to be spending their time with them. Many of the volunteers said they couldn’t wait to come back! To the Public Defender’s Office, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Angie’s List is our Volunteer Organization of the Month. Angie’s List members spent a full Friday working with youth from a local elementary school. After being trained in peace education lessons the volunteers mentored students as they went through rotations. The volunteers were welcoming and friendly. It was clear that they cared about the youth and were happy to be spending their time with them. Many of the volunteers said they couldn’t wait to come back! Angie’s List, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Birthdays are the one day a year when it is socially acceptable to celebrate yourself. I think this is a good thing because some people probably need limits, however, I also think we each need to credit ourselves a little more. I think we deserve more than one day a year to say, "I am actually pretty great." It's not being self-obsessed or narcissistic, it's acknowledging the single fact: you are a wonderful human being, and you deserve so many good things. Everyone is busy in day to day life, but almost everyone, one day a year, will allow others to treat them, allow themselves a pat on the back, and really appreciate themselves. We need to do this more often. Don't let yourself become full of hot air by any means, but really appreciate yourself. Look at you! Do you realize how much you have accomplished? Do you realize there is nobody out there like you? There is nobody with your gusto, your heart, or your mind. That alone is something to celebrate. Don't compare your accomplishments to the next guy's either. His little victories are different than yours. You don't even need anyone else to think what you choose to celebrate over is big deal; if it matters to you, congratulations to you! Life is busy, someone will always be worse than you, and someone will always be better than you. Pay no mind, and celebrate yourself.
Our “Peace Mentors” are our Volunteers of the Month. Peace Mentors are committed to helping Peace Learning Center by receiving training to become facilitators for PLC field trips. Jay Horan, our Director of Engagement has worked closely with the group and said, “What a beautiful group of people! They are kind and caring. They believe in our mission and want nothing more than to have an impact on children. We are so lucky to have them.” Peace Mentors, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team! Interested in becoming a Peace Mentor? Please email Jay Horan for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ari Cruz is this month's Volunteer of the Month. Ari spent the summer as our Communications & Marketing Intern. She created our annual review, a new brochure and was incredibly helpful when it came to events. Tiffany Tibbot, Director of Operations worked closely with Ari and said, "Ari dove right into every project we gave her and went above and beyond. She was a self-starter who needed little guidance and got things done!" Volunteer Opportunities As always, PLC volunteers are busy making a difference every day! Thanks to all of you who have helped support our mission to educate, inspire and empower people to build peaceful communities this past month. To learn about other volunteer opportunities, contact Jay Horan or visit our website to complete an online volunteer application.