Young people have the imagination and intelligence necessary to develop creative solutions to the difficult problems of conflict and confrontation in their communities and lives. But they need to be taught to look beyond violence in their attempts to resolve their differences and be given opportunities to learn the cooperative skills essential to peaceably live in today's challenging world. Through critical thinking on the origins of conflict and the means of resolving conflict, today's young people can become tomorrow's successful problem solvers.
- To familiarize students and teachers with the definition and causes of conflict.
- To provide opportunities for students and teachers to explore methods of conflict resolution such as anger management, negotiation, and gain an appreciation of other's perspectives.
- To promote creativity and critical thinking about methods of conflict resolution through the development and sharing of "win-win games".
- To present students with roles models of university and high school students, community leaders and other real-world problem solvers who work daily to resolve conflict peaceably and creatively.
- To promote understanding among different communities within New York City by bringing together diverse groups of students in a positive and trusting environment.
- To reward students' endeavors through recognition and to encourage them to incorporate conflict resolution into their lives.
Community Impact helps sponsor the Peace by PEACE Program in New York City to encourage young people to recognize non-violent conflict resolution alternatives and give them the necessary tools to peaceably solve their conflicts. The Program sends groups of Columbia University volunteers into elementary school classrooms in Harlem. The schools are only about a 10 minute walk from Columbia campus.
All Peace by PEACE volunteers receive training in conflict resolution, curriculum instruction and general teaching strategies along with discussions on cultural and ethnic sensitivity. Throughout the program, volunteers meet regularly to share teaching experiences and strategies, as well as to evaluate the curriculum.
We have programs throughout both the Fall and Spring semesters. Volunteers teach for 1 hour a week in the classroom in which they conduct discussions on the origins and nature of conflict, role-play scenarios that focus on the students' personal conflicts. They teach through a series of interactive games, activities, skits, and art. The students take a critical look at conflict in both their communitites and their own lives and learn how to resolve problems through compromise and mediation. Moreover, students are given the opportunity to learn through "win-win" games that emphasize cooperation as opposed to competition.
Peace by PEACE students look forward to Festival starting early in the first semester, and their enthusiasm for the program is an inspiration for everyone who participates in this wonderful event. Festival not only provides the kids with a day of fun and excitement to commemorate their achievements with hundreds of their peers, but also shows each student that Peace by PEACE exists not only in their classroom or school, but also in other schools in their community. This sense of the scope of the Peace by PEACE program sends a powerful message to the kids that their conflict-resolution skills can be applied outside of the classroom. Plus, after we come to their school all year, it's a nice opportunity for them to finally see a bit of our school, Columbia.
Stephanie Nova of PS 132, student speaker at Festival 2002, sums it up:
"Some people like Peace by PEACE only for the games. But the games are not everything in a conflict. Peace by PEACE is there for you. When you have problems and you need someone to speak to, you can trust Peace by PEACE because it shows you every step of your way in your good and bad times. I am so proud that my teacher and principal were able to provide to my class the teachers of Peace by PEACE and I am so glad that they took the time to come to my class. All of us lucky students, teachers, and volunteers should be proud of ourselves for making a difference. Peace by PEACE was created for all of us. We all just need to work together. Peace by PEACE should be everywhere. Peace by PEACE tells us we are not alone."
Each semester, between 60 and 80 Columbia University students go in small groups for one hour per week to local elementary schools in Harlem to teach conflict resolution to 1st through 6th grade students. In our curriculum, we use a lot of interactive discussions, skits, activities, and games to teach about conflict, community, communication, bullying, and many other topics. We emphasize non-violence and cooperation to help empower our students to think about their conflicts more peacefully. At the end of the year, all the Peace by PEACE students come to Columbia for the annual Festival to celebrate their accomplishments.
Peace by PEACE volunteers are trained at the beginning of the semester and are placed in classrooms that fit their schedules--our scheduling is very flexible. Each classroom is made up of a mixture of returning and new volunteers, and each co-group has at least one experienced member of our Steering Committee to help guide you through the curriculum. You can be involved regardless of your experience with kids or teaching! Volunteers develop rewarding relationships with both the students they teach and their co-group.
Peace by PEACE is entirely student-run and is the largest service group in Community Impact at Columbia.
In order to contact Community Impact, or our advisor, Andrea Summers, please use:Community Impact
105 Earl Hall
Mail Code 2010
New York, NY 10027
Community Impact Youth Programs Director